I remember when I first got into Jung’s psychology and his ideas of archetypes and shadow work. I think that was about 16 years ago.
I am currently reading a book called the “Dark Side of the Light Chasers.” And while I know the concepts all too well, I never really did the work of integrating my “shadow.”
For as long as we remember, we are told what makes us good and what makes us bad. We draw conclusions about that and worst of all, we actually believe what others are telling us. We do a fine job in projecting our own, worst fears, discomforts and inadequacies onto others.
But, I do not want to talk about what others do, because after all, this is the problem I face to begin with. My endless comparisons to others, in which I never really measure up, are exhausting and leave me confused. To be honest, it has gotten so bad that I sometimes can’t even tell you anymore who the “real” me is. I have developed a great persona that fits, what I think society and people wanted me to be, which leaves me angry, confused and quite bitter at times. Hell, it’s probably the reason I avoid society as a whole.
When I was still in my 20s I once wrote a poem about my dark side. The truth was, I really admired her. She was all the things that I was not; most importantly not a helpless ping pong ball, bouncing back between emotions without any apparent control. My darker side was calculating, didn’t have a whole lot of compassion, was quite selfish and had no reservations to do whatever pleased her; at any given time. She was the opposite of my “lighter” side and so I spent the next 15+ years repressing her and pushing her back. The only piece of freedom I kept was looking like her on the outside. The dark hair, the dark clothes, eyeliner, nail polishand tattoos make a fine image of my darker side.
I never figured out how to marry the two. Even though I believe that my dark side is a much better survivor at times. She has strength and courage, where the light side in me falls apart and retrieves into a world of hurt and self-loathing. She is not afraid of anyone, while the lighter side gets intimidated. Reading this book made me aware of how much I actually benefit from including my darker side. As a matter of fact, the dark one is much more fun than the frigid, always controlling, reasoning, super analytical head case my light side is.
The older I get, the more I get tired of controlling every aspect of my being to the point of complete and utter repression. I miss being playful (I don’t even remember ever being that way) and yes, I sometimes want to be reckless. I want to experience life to its fullest. I have exhausted myself being probably one of the most boring people I know.
I have always watched life through other’s eyes. I have experienced by watching or vicariously living through those who were the opposite of me and who simply didn’t give a shit about what other people thought. But I believe that was the other extreme that also couldn’t bring me happiness. So I feel it is time to actively marry the two and find that happy medium, which is what that book is kinda talking about. True solace comes from being all of one’s being; the good and the bad.
Technically speaking I have started the second half of my life. I think I want to strive to truly be me, in all of her glory, imperfection, ugliness and beauty. And as always, I still stand by one of my guiding principles: Surround yourself with those who can take ALL of you and not just certain parts!