The Shadow Effect...Acknowledging My Dark Side

I saw a movie last night that I am going to add to my movie recommendation list. It is called The Shadow Effect. I actually saw this same movie quite a few years back but I guess I wasn't ready for the lesson because I really can't even remember watching it. Let me start by saying this is definitely one of those dramatic new age movies which may make those who aren't a fan (I am!) a little uneasy and/or cynical but watch it anyway, find the message, it's totally worth it!

The overall message, if you just wanna save yourself an hour, is that we all have a "dark side". This would consist of all the things about ourselves for which we are ashamed, have been shamed over, resent within ourselves and overall just try to hide from the rest of the world (and very possibly from ourselves as well).

One of my favorite metaphors they gave about these "dark" things within ourselves is what they referred to as "the beach ball effect". Basically, we try to push these things down under the surface of our being and, just like a beach ball that we try to push under water, eventually it is going to pop back up on us.

However, by acknowledging these aspects of ourselves, and incorporating them into who we are, we become a more whole person. We can not have light without darkness. Likewise, we can not fully embrace what is GREAT about us without fully embracing what is NOT great about us. Furthermore, if we can analyze and determine how these perceived negative things actually help us in life, we begin to get a better understanding of who we are and what we are meant to be.

All of this may seem a little abstract so I am going to give my own examples of things that I have always perceived as negative about myself but, after analyzing them, realize they are essential to who I am.

I, at times, have a very hard time staying focused and planning for the future. Sometimes I give up on things. I often don't take deadlines seriously. I've been known to "switch gears" very often and head in a completely different direction than where I seemed to be intensely focused just a moment before. However, this same quality is why I can adapt to change very easily. Whenever something crappy happens in my life, I have an unbelievable knack of switching gears and finding a new and positive direction to head in that matches my new set of circumstances. So, by not taking life as serious as I probably should, I don't freak out and melt down when bad things happen. I have my initial upset, just like anyone, but then I calm down, find the positive in it and move on.

Another perceived flaw is that I'm a bit stingy with my time, energy and resources when it comes to people outside my immediate circle (basically I'm only willing to give this to my family and a very VERY few other people in my life). I especially don't give it to people that I feel are trying to "take" it or those who wouldn't give it in return. I've been called selfish by some and I've felt selfish at times and guilty that I don't give more freely of myself. However, this same "flaw" is what has ensured that a good portion of my time, energy and resources have been focused on ME which means, not only have I avoided being taken advantage of by some, it also has allowed me to make huge improvements upon myself and this has inspired a lot of people that I've come in contact with. And this is one area in which I do give freely. I ALWAYS want to help people improve through sharing my knowledge, experiences and advice with anyone who will listen. So, by being selfish, I have helped others, but only after I helped myself.

They also talk about the classic "we hate in others that which we hate in ourselves". I find this to be so true and have realized this about myself for quite a while now. In fact, the people I can't stand the most, are usually so much like me that it makes me wonder if I hate myself sometimes! When I conciously acknowledge this, I find my resentment toward them fading immediately. So it's not a magic formula, it only takes realizing it for the shift to occur.

When we fully embrace EVERYTHING about ourselves and stop acting perfect, allowing ourselves to just be human, we then allow ourselves to be great. And, in turn, we allow those around us to be great too.

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