Theatre Masks

Accepting Your Dark Side

It’s only by spotting your shadow when you see the direction of light.

(anonymous internet quote)

We’re humans, folks, and our structure is made from both light and dark materials. That is one of the most important things you have to know about your nature when you start a personal development strategy. Each part plays a role in your life. Ignoring one of them could lead to unpredictable results, so to speak. The truth is that we’re all here to evolve, we’re in a continuous process, and a process does involve some sort of cycling through different stages and milestones that we need to achieve.

What Is Your Dark Side?

We all know what is light in your life. Even if it takes different names or is described in different concepts, we all actually know when something is making us shine. Those are the things we thrive for our entire life. But what is the dark side in you? It’s the opposite of the stuff you like? Not really. In fact, the dark side of your persona is often a rejected and ignored pile of emotions, situations and phobias that you try to forget with all your power.

Your dark side is what you hate most in yourself. It’s your fear of failure, it’s your extreme shyness or your sexual compulsion. Or maybe a drug or alcohol addiction or an aggressive way of dealing with your closest family and friends.

The dark side is also what you hate most in others. Every time a person is making you nuts, it’s because that person touched a very delicate part of your dark side. If somebody suddenly puts you in a depressed state by talking about his parents, it’s because you have a very bad situation with your own parents. If you spot a beggar walking in front of you with an image of poverty and suddenly you start to feel the chill about your bank account it’s because that person revealed in you the fear from scarcity.

At some level, your dark side is also the general conception about ugliness. If you’re bald, for instance, and you feel somehow guilty and rejected because of this, it’s because the general opinion is that baldness is something really ugly. The same goes for overweighted people or for extremely tall or short persons.

Why Accepting Your Dark Side?

The general approach toward the darkside is to “fight it”. From older religion to modern counseling techniques, you are supposed to “kill the anxiety”, to “destroy the enemy within” or to “have a victory upon yourself”. This is strange. This is a destructive approach. It makes you split your persona in two: the right and the wrong. You can’t really be mentally or spiritually split, unless you suffer from severe schizophrenia.

The acceptance, on the other hand, has some really interesting advantages.

First of all, when you accept that you do have a dark side and that is part of you, all the energy that you spent in fighting it, will suddenly be available for other purposes. You can start to build on your shiny part if you want, because you have an extra energy boost. You don’t need to fight anymore, just by accepting that you are who you are, you will have access to a new source of personal power. You just took some raw power from your regular “I am not this person, I can’t be that bad” sentences that you say to yourself, and used it in another part of your life. Like taking a walk, for example.

Second, when you totally accept yourself, you make a big step toward inner completion, or integrity. I don’t use the term integrity in its moral sense, but in the sense of “whole”-iness. Acting with integrity means acting with all your being, not following some moral code. Following a moral code should be a personal decision, but you can make that decision with integrity, with all your being. Keeping yourself mentally separated in images like: “I am a good person for doing this, but I am a bad person because I have this shopping compulsion” will lead you to a state of constant fatigue, if not illness. We’re not designed to act in a fragmented way, we’re supposed to act as a whole unique person, with good and bad parts.

And third, if you do accept you have a dark side, you establish a starting point. Now I know: “I’m not only this respectable person, but I am also this shy and sad person who fears social contacts. So? This is me, and I know from where I start and where I end. I established my whole territory now. You can accept me or not, but I know that I accepted myself, and that’s ok.”

How Can You Accept Your Dark Side?

Of course, in real life, is not that easy. You can’t just wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and say to yourself: “ok, I do have a dark side, I will just have a nice day now”. It never happens like this. To accept your dark side, well, it takes courage and energy. It takes time also. And it takes more than one try, that’s for sure.

How can you start it? A good insertion point would be to start identifying your reactions to the stuff you don’t like. Let’s say you watch a movie and suddenly you feel depressed. Identify the context: was because the main character in the movie was left by his girlfriend? Ok, so it was fear from abandon. Try to observe each situation in which your emotions are running crazy and give a name to that situation. It’s difficult in the beginning because emotions are so power-hungry that you will have so little energy left for observation. But it can be done, it only takes some discipline.

Soon you’ll realize that you have a limited number of really bad situations. Using those names you will start to actually depict each and every situation in its own words: “now I have a shopping compulsion, now I have an aggressive impulse”. Following that impulse or stopping it is not the question at this stage. But naming it and observing it, is. As a matter of fact, following or not the impulse is strictly a personal choice.

After this stage, try to prepend the word “accept” to those situations. You are probably now in the position to accurately identify all your “dark” contexts and use appropriate names for them, so all you have to do is to put “accept” before the names. So, the situation: “shopping compulsion” becomes “accept shopping compulsion”. I am sure that everybody got the idea now.

This is not an all-in-one technique for accepting your dark side, not even the most efficient one. I’m sure everybody may come with variations or even better techniques for starting to accept the inner dark side. I only try to describe what worked for me.

When Do I Know I Succeeded?

Basically, there isn’t such a moment. Like I already said, you can’t wake up in the morning and say: “aye, this is my dark side and I accept it”. Maybe the results will come in a different form. You may feel some sort of relaxation and some increase in the energy level. Or maybe you will start to feel relaxed in contexts were you used to be tensed.

One other symptom that you really started to accept yourself will be the “linearity” in your manifestations. Being it anger or joy, if you could sustain that feeling for longer periods than before, that is a sign that your person is starting to re-conciliate with itself.

And that is your real victory, and it was obtained only by consciously accepting yourself.

Feel free to share your opinions on this.



Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner


The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”

And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.

Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.

If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.

Running For My Life -from zero to ultramarathoner

Dragos Roua

The guy who started all this. Entrepreneur, ultra-marathoner, tanguero, father and risk taker. I’m blogging here, but I also spend a lot of time in this marvelous space.. You’re invited, by the way.

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. This is true, with a bit of exercise, reconcilliation with your dark side can be achieved. What I find to be more difficult is learning to live with other people’s dark sides. People that are my closest friends, people I would do anything for, they all have a “dark side” (perceived as such by me, and not by them, thus making the change impossible) which I had to accommodate if I wanted them to be part of my life. Every victory lasts until the dark side shows up again, but I don’t know how to do better.

    1. I am not expert – just experienced at living an abused life for 37 years and learning from within my heart. All I can say is that others are a mirror of yourself. That does not mean if someone is verbally abusing you – you are abusive too (it maybe, but may not be – you know best). What it means is that verbal abuse is what scares you. And hence you react. Like dragos mentioned – if you can spot it and name it you’ll find within you something that is scared of it, which makes you react in unwanted ways. Fear, greed, lust etc are dark sides. which one is yours? When does it show? In front of whom? You can then decide who to be with and who not to, and how you can or cannot change yourself. Pray – its the strongest form of power in this world – you’ll get your guidance.

  2. I’m no psychologist but what do you call a person whom everyone thinks is just what the doctor ordered, someone who if you told anyone in the community that they were anything bad that you would be shamefully doubted. This person shows you everything, does to you things that bordered on lunacy but they knew very well what they’re faculties were. Deliberately out right favoritism to someone elses wrong doing and all the time making you look guilty when you are breathlessly taken aback with there actions. Someone who claims to be crazy about you, you’ve been with for 13 years, but seems to deliberately hold you back from achieving success, and making your innocent actions seem deceitful. like not letting you take the car (they have 2) to go to school, or to run errands because your car, a car that served them well when they didn’t have one, is now broken, but yet lets their son use it whom doesn’t even have a drivers license. I need to fill out a questionaire, he just says I’ll be back and takes the keys. But their friends would have never yhought that they were like that. And tons of other stuff to the likeness of that. Oh! and they are devout and devoted christian.
    What is this if it isn’t a darkside?
    Don

    1. My Dear,
      You are being abused by a person with narcissistic personality disorder. He is controlling you (maybe you were brought up in a controlling home and feel that being controlled is being loved – let me tell you its not!) If you can support yourself, give some excuse and leave. Create distance – as much as you safely and possibly can. Do not look for someone else. it will not solve the problem. Falling in love itself creates problems. Its a co-dependant syndrome. Stay away from it.
      If you can’t leave emotionally disconnect. (distance) (i.e. stop loving him in anyway you think love is. Just be cordial like you would to your neighbor)
      The most powerful way to find the best solution would be to pray – from your heart – to whatever you perceive as Source Energy. It will guide you from within.
      I was born and brought up in an abusive household. What I learnt was detaching emotionally will give you perspective and I repeat – Pray – its the strongest and most powerful thing in the world. Your own prayer or whatever you feel comfortable with. You need that reference from within yourself – not from outside and Prayer will make it happen. Then listen to the guidance. Take care. God be with you.(Do some google on narcisssitc personality – it might help)

    2. My Dear,
      You are being abused by a person with narcissistic personality disorder. He is controlling you (maybe you were brought up in a controlling home and feel that being controlled is being loved – let me tell you its not!) If you can support yourself, give some excuse and leave. Create distance – as much as you safely and possibly can. Do not look for someone else. it will not solve the problem. Falling in love itself creates problems. Its a co-dependant syndrome. Stay away from it.
      If you can’t leave emotionally disconnect. (distance) (i.e. stop loving him in anyway you think love is. Just be cordial like you would to your neighbor)
      The most powerful way to find the best solution would be to pray – from your heart – to whatever you perceive as Source Energy. It will guide you from within.
      I was born and brought up in an abusive household. What I learnt was detaching emotionally will give you perspective and I repeat – Pray – its the strongest and most powerful thing in the world. Your own prayer or whatever you feel comfortable with. You need that reference from within yourself – not from outside and Prayer will make it happen. Then listen to the guidance. Take care. God be with you.(Do some google on narcissistic personality – it might help)

  3. I’m sorry to hear that you share your life with a person who lacks connection with you. One thing that I learn in the last years, and that was a very painful thing to learn, is that complaining amplifies the bad situation that you’re complaining about. If anything goes wrong in your life is because of you. Yes, that’s painful learning because it’s so easy to blame somebody else for our own hesitations.

  4. I’ve found that sometimes what we perceive as our dark side is actually a source of strength.

    Thank you for this article. It confirms my choice of living life a whole & complete person.

  5. @Crafters100 first of all, thanks for stopping by. Second: congrats on living your life the way you want. The choice of a personal path is the most difficult choice we face. In the end, is the only choice we face.

  6. Dear Sir,
    I thank you for bringing this up. In a world where imperfections are not tolerated, this is a very good initiative. We have over burdened ourselves in striving perfection and forgotten that only God is perfect and only God can heal.Few points from me :
    1. I have bad parts.
    a)Some i know some i may not know.
    b) Some I like some i dont like.
    c) Some of them need to be recognised.They are mine and i have to accept that i am like that. Running away does not help. The eyes of GOD reach even in Hell so we should to accept and then ask forgiveness because GOD forgives,GOD loves,GOD restores.
    However why should we accept our darker side. Because the Bible tells us GOD came and he sat down with sinners and ate. So in happiness lets turn towards GOD and welcome Him and we will not be the same.Mother Mary could sing the magnificant because she realized that she was nothing, instead sang of GOD and lived with Him.Isnt it easy.? I would love if some you help us in walking with GOD and sing of GOD’s praises.

  7. I have recently been made aware of my dark side and am having a hard time being compassionate with myself. I feel embarrassed because my perception of myself is that I’m so nice all the time and want the best for everyone. I’ve been made aware that I don’t want the best for everyone and my competitiveness and drive sqaushes others and they don’t feel supported.
    What others have pointed out to me (we all work in the personal growth field) that this dark side that comes out can be good because it is an indicator of personal work and wholeness that can be available through the acceptance of the dark side. But more than acceptance, I’m seeing where this particular piece of my dark side came from in my upbringing. I can see how I became wired in this way and how I can go back and tell some truths to my family so that I don’t have to keep projecting them on others.

  8. OOoooh You are the man for this one. You have helped me to get one step closer to loving my darkside and being whole again. Thank you Dragos The Dragon

  9. I completely know what you mean in regards to dealing with anxiety and stress. It is such a relief when you finally make a breakthrough and can no longer worry about stressing constantly. The reality is 90% of the time the stress is completely un-needed and things are never as bad as they may appear to be.

  10. I do hav a dark side and this article gave me a strength to accept myself.. what else can an article do better. I’m not feeling guilty now, i hope this will help, thanks for this inspiration… keep it up man.! .. 🙂

  11. I do believe in my own Dark Side and its the thing that strengthens and encourages me to the things I hated. I had female cousins, from my father’s side cousins. I met them when the time that I browsed Facebook for the people with my last name. Suddenly, I found 3 beautiful cousins of mine. We were all so close to each other even though not in personal. Then they just got my heart and I was so caring/loving for them. I was very concern everytime they pop ONLINE, we talk a lot. But when the time keeps on moving forward, they were forgetting me already. Feels like Im being ignored. Then I felt very depressed. Painfully hard that I decided to ignore them too. Its because I felt in love with my other cousin. After 2 Months of ignorance, I realized that having this kind of LOVE is nonsense, fake and bulldust! So I go on to my dreams and let her ROT. I even realized that it was the rising of my Dark Side. Guessing that it gave me Rage, Hatred and Vengeance. These 3 were my strengths in my life. The Dark Side was in me, it guided me. But when classes have begun, I met a cute, awesome, unique classmate girl. First, I kinda don’t care for her, more like my attentions doesn’t draw on her. But when I felt something of having a “loving daughter”, it feels so perfect and refreshing in my HEART. I asked her to be treated like a daughter, she didn’t replied. The next day, she’s already in front of me. I was so shocked when she called me “DADDY”. Then I feel like my Dark Side is disappearing. More like I found the inspiration of my life, and forgetting the things that happen which was the reason that my Dark Side had risen. Tell me. Does the Dark Side of you, can be gone when you have forgotten the bad things that happened to you? Please reply BACK………….

    1. your finding some one that akes you happy and that’s in te light the darkside is satanthat’s why your darkside was disappearing

  12. What you are talking about are reactions to situations that are triggered by outside influence, however that does not labolize a person to have a dark side. These flaws can be be put at peace if the person has the will to do it and wants to live a better and fulfilling life. They are not necessarily sociopathic. Dark people are calculating and perform their way through out their life. Only if they start to care, they might see the light. Not to be able to have empathy is dark. A lot of people are desensitized to compassion because their brain has been trained at a very young age not to feel. Movies, violence, abuse, vedeo games, just to mention some, has changed how we view the other person. Most families are disfunctional but with a little love we can survive. The dark side to a person will probably reject the light and could not be able to ever see with his heart true pain. He will act like he does but it is all an act.

  13. I have been called dr jeklly and mr hyde numerous times in my life by numerous people. So I guess, I figure, I must have a dark side that I have a hard time controlling. I sort of let people get on my nerves and let it slide. It builds, and then I explode verbally and tell them what I really think. That is the hyde. I explode verbally, some others like blade runner in a different matter.
    For me and sanity it was getting a dog. I rescued one and it help me immensely. The dog is happy and I am happier.

  14. Dragos
    Thank you for putting this article together. I was struggling all day and just when I came upon a personal realization I found your article – confirming it. 🙂

  15. What you are preaching is called moral relativity. Thankfully I am wise enough to see where this leads but think about the youth for a minute. What are you communicating to them?

    Say, for example, a heroin addict is reading this. You are essentially giving them permission to keep taking heroin. You are giving the alcoholic permission to keep drinking because its just “part of who they are.”

    Instead of inspiring people to transcend that which gets in the way of us becoming the greatest versions of ourselves you are giving people permission to accept it all as it is rather than to transcend it and manifest something better. You are essentially saying its just who they are and they have to accept it rather than strive for something better.

    You are basically communicating a message of giving in to the current situation rather than facing it head on and working through it to get to the light.

    You are basically saying that rather than go through that tunnel of darkness we all have to go through to reach the light you are saying it is better to stay in the tunnel because, essentially, it is what it is and there’s nothing better to work for.

    I for one am not buying it. It is only by breaking through the dark side that we can get to the light. You are communicating a message of giving up, of accepting failure rather than manifesting the greatest version of ourselves and it is a slippery slope to stagnation in that tunnel of darkness, permission to stagnate rather than transcend the dark side we all have and I think it is a dangerous message because we all have challenges and if we are not going to work our way through them we will be swallowed up by them.

    This is exactly what the powers that be want us to do. (And this is coming from a so called “liberal” if we had to put it in political terms.)

    The powers that be, whether they be governmental or corporations want us to be content with what we have, never reaching beyond our hurdles and thus becoming powerless to those in positions of power.

    This is the dream of any dictator or tyrant, to have us give ourselves permission to accept where we are at and thus give away all our personal power to those at the top.

    In my humble opinion you should make some serious revisions to this article before putting it out there for all to read.

    It is the dark within each and every one of us that we must transcend to become stronger, to become the greatest versions of ourselves. This is a defeatist philosophy.

    We are here to claim our personal power and manifest the best possible outcome not to accept things for what they are.

    Sure there are many things we cannot change and thus must learn to accept and surrender to but you fail to mention the things that are within our power to change and I think it is a very dangerous philosophy to live life by.

    1. You cannot change anything unless you accept it, that’s the core message. I’m not encouraging nor preaching anything to anyone, just sharing my experiences and opinions. You may or you may not agree with them and that’s part of living in a wonderful world, otherwise we would have to force our opinions on each other. Being raised in a communist country, I know how it feels and it doesn’t feel good. Thanks for reading.

      1. Hello
        Yes of course you are free to express your feelings and opinions because we are blessed to live in a place that allows freedom of speech. Speaking of communism, thank goodness you made it out of that culture but if one reads history these regimes are changed by people who don’t accept it (if they are changed at all.)

        Your article is actually very thought provoking but how does one change something by accepting it? I feel like there’s a step missing.

        Please do clarify but the compulsive gambler who accepts “I am a compulsive gambler” still has the same destructive habit and if you want to change doesn’t that negate pure acceptance (the wanting to change?)

        So the compulsive gambler keeps gambling but now accepts the addiction as part of who they are. What comes next? If this person accepts it entirely where is the motivation to change?

        Thank you,
        Jeff

        1. Accepting something doesn’t necessarily mean engaging in it. There are many levels of experience in life, and at the observation level, you are just witnessing what’s happening around. At this level, if you do not accept what’s happening around, you’re actually denying reality. If you accept what it’s happening to you, then you can change it, if you want.

          The compulsive gambler is not compulsive anymore when he observes his addiction. That’s what acceptance does. The moment you accept you decided you want to gamble, it’s not compulsion anymore, you’re not forced by something outside of you to gamble, it’s your decision. From that moment on, you can realize it’s in your power to change. If you want.

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