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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
"Embrace your Dark Side"

This should be a fascinating topic, and I look forward to the replies, because this is one of those delicicious sorts of questions that can be addressed a vast number of different ways, all validly, and of course within each of those you get each person's individual take. So here are some of mine.

First, one thing it doesn't mean is to decide that you should embrace being mean, cruel, insensitive, etc, etc. Embracing your dark side or honoring your shadow is, at bottom, a positive experience.

I think there are very different aspects to "embracing your dark side" as opposed to honoring or exploring your shadow, which implies being willing to look at things you weren't as conscious of, though the two are very closely related and overlap a lot.

When I think of the "embracing the dark side" concept, what seems important to me is that for most of us, there are things we have (often with reason) decided are "bad" or "rude" or "oh, I couldn't" or "nice people don't" or various other versions of the basic idea: this is something that I cannot look clearly at, because good people don't do that."

Take your example of attack. I think we can get a lot of agreement that attacking people (I assume judgmentally rather than physically, but it works either way) is a bad thing, and not something we would like to see as a regular behavior in ourselves or others. But if it turns into an absolute: "Good people never attack others" it can very easily turn into being unwilling or unable to stand up for ourselves or others in the face of injustice, or to make it clear when we are offended and will not put up with a certain behavior in our presence. In extreme situations you have people who are too "nice" to defend themselves from rape or assault.

So the idea of "embracing the dark side" of attack is to recognize that instead of "good people never attack others," the truth is that good people sometimes have attack feelings and that when we do, they are telling us something. Sometimes good people have to take a firm stand on things, but only with good reason. When you can look yourself square in the eye and say, "Yup, I'm a good person. And when [whoever} does {whatever}, it brings up attack feelings, so what am I, as a good person going to do with that?" Then you have progress.

So embracing the dark side could allow someone who thinks their dark side is shameless sexuality and thinks "I could never dress provocatively and act in a sexy way" to decide that it would be perfectly okay to do that with her husband in their own home if they both want.

It could allow someone who feels their dark side is anger to channel it into social or political activism for change.

It could allow someone who feels their dark side is gossip to realize that it has at its core a desire for connection to the group, and use that desire to spread only good stories about others, and to share happy news and be connnected to others rather than use it destructively.

If your dark side is judgement, really looking at it could allow you to make judgements about your own standards, about the choices and circumstances you settle for, and about your own self-image and feelings of self-value. (a fascinating question is "If you met yourself, based on your own standards, would you spend any time with you?"

Your Thoughts...
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