Labeling Your Inner Darkness
Pet Names for the Darker Self
“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” ~ Carl Jung
You've heard them, likely you've even named yours some sort of self-deprecating pet name; my inner demon, my dark side, perhaps even a myriad of others, some too colorful to speak in mixed company, or you’ve simply referred to this element of your character as the "darkness" within.
However you refer to your darker self, the negative monikers we use to refer to our shadier nature ARE ultimately self-defeating; as well, they limit the strength, positivity, and balance we can gain from embracing those darker aspects of ourselves w/in the positive context they can represent.
Labeling our darker self as something negative, something to hide or attempting to purge our darkness serves only to keep us from our whole self, a balance between light... AND dark.
We all have our hidden (from everyone else) dark corners within our consciousness; we're usually well aware of these darker aspects of our character, most of us are even aware enough to at least make a concerted effort to not let our "pets" off the chain (ever heard someone say "curb your dog"?); simply put, we don't want to cause harm.
As for those pet names we give these character traits, they're usually mean spirited labels others have attempted to bestow upon us when we've let our assertiveness (and all too often, our naturally occurring aggressiveness) out; and oftentimes, when we stand our ground unexpectedly.
But, what about the harm we inadvertently cause ourselves by basically ignoring a legitimate part of our human nature?
As negative as these inner darker traits can often be presented, we tend to give them a special place (usually boiling just below the surface) with an inappropriately affectionate label/pet name; claiming the very personal self-loathing of “I am a…” dark/negative/bad person as something of merit or worth keeping.
Certainly, these labels do on occasion; while sincerely detrimental to self-worth/well-being, provide us w/ a bit of personal protection. We tend to brandish them like a proverbial firearm w/ the words of the Hulk ringing in our ears, "Don't make me get angry, you wouldn't like me when I'm angry."
Each of us harbors our own personal green monsters; parts of our psyche we're fearful of letting out, yet an authentic part nonetheless. We're fearful of our authentic darker selves because we've seen the destructive force it can be in our lives and the lives of those around us.
Yet, all of our character traits and emotions (even if we think of them as bad/negative) ARE parts of the whole of who we are; we lessen ourselves and diminish the possibility for balance when we ignore our darkness over the bright light of who we prefer to BE. Being mindful and conscious of our darker nature is essential to our wholeness and well-being w/in the framework of our greater/better spirit.
Fact is, the only thing that causes uncomfortable emotions, or our darker character traits to be negative, is the actions we display in regard to them; negative actions create negative outcomes. It's important to take our darkness by the hand; make friends with it, and walk it into the positive light.
Personal (and oftentimes private) acceptance/authenticity of our darker nature is all too essential for a balanced, ethical, and moral reputation in our lives.
The question we must ask ourselves; when challenging our darker selves to become integrated into the light of our better nature, is:
How can we be honest, authentic, and real w/ anyone else, if we are unable to face (and ultimately embrace), our "demons" along w/ our angels?
“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” ~ Madeline L’Engle