If You REALLY Want To Be Happy Embrace Your Dark Side
When I was a kid, I was afraid of the dark, and I hated bedtime. Monsters under the bed and other things that lurk in the darkness contributed to many sleepless nights. I overcame those things long ago. But, what I didn't realize until much later in life was that my fear of the dark would persist well into my adult years. It just took a different form. Although distressing, the monsters I imagined as a child weren’t nearly as problematic as the real ones; the negative thoughts and emotions I tried to suppress, the bad moods, inconveniences, annoyances, and my relentless pursuit of perfection. These were a threat to my utopian vision of living within a 24/7 happiness bubble. And when I missed the mark, which happened often, I'd get pissed. None of this was helping to get me closer to my vision of personal happiness, and so I changed my approach. Here are the five things that helped me, and might be just what you need too:
1. Embrace Yourself Fully
It wasn't until I embraced the "ugly" aspects of who I am that life became enjoyable and more balanced. I intend to be the best person I can at all times; my thoughts and actions in alignment, and to interact with others in loving, kind, and helpful ways. But, I had to accept that it wasn’t always going to happen that way, and instead of ignoring that truth I embrace it.
2. Stop Making Excuses
Face your dark, cruel, and indifferent self. I couldn't make any significant progress in my life until I stopped making excuses - PMS, morning traffic, lack of sleep or someone else; only then could I work on the aspects that needed my attention. Learning how to reframe what I had classified as “bad” or “wrong” about myself and other people. The benefits of doing so were identifying and shedding a lot of judgment and anger.
3. Apologize and Forgive
I was quick to see the flaws of others, not necessarily my own or how I projected them into situations. Taking responsibility for how I impact people and circumstances in my life was critical. Once I began to identify my contributions I was quick to apologize for my shortcomings. Forgiving others was also much easier. Unrealistic expectations and grudges or resentment toward others is counterproductive to growth. It’s better to extend grace to others learning how to walk their path, and hope that I receive the same kindness at some point in the future (because I’m going to need it too). Apologizing and forgiving others who are here to learn these same lessons, whether they are conscious of it or not, helps to release the negative feelings we attach to situations and people we interact with along this journey; freeing up your energy (mental and emotional) to live and enjoy your life more.
4. Good Things Happen In The Dark
Although stars shine in both the day and night sky it's only at night that we get to see and appreciate them. You sow seed, but it's only in the cover of darkness that it germinates and begins to grow. Good stuff happens in the dark too. Learn to understand your darkness and light in equal measure and let the experiences in both become your teacher. There are new levels of freedom, self-awareness, and intimacy when you truly embrace the darkness.
5. Learning is a Lifelong Endeavor
The opportunity to learn about yourself won’t stop until you're pushing up daisies, so you/me/we might as well have fun in the process. The longer you’re at it, the easier it becomes to identify the archetypes in operation – the needy girl, the victim, the narcissist, arrogant one, etc., and learn to transform them. It's more a source of amusement when an old mindset tries to rear its head again; my reaction to it lets me know I've made progress. I'm enjoying the journey a lot more and having a much more authentic experience without the excuses, condemnations, judgment, and shame. I hope these truths help you to get out there and be your most complete (and inspirational) self!