The Dark Side
We all have a dark side and we are masters at hiding it.
We all have traits within us that we don’t like. Usually we choose not to look too closely or we practice complete denial. It’s not at all easy to get real with ourselves.
I found there are two types of people in the world, those who want to know and those who want to believe. People don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.
Interesting, isn’t it? You can see it if you look at the people in your life.
Do you know into which category you fall?
I know that I want to know. I want the truth.
One of my greatest challenges is to look at life with curiosity, rather than my same old accusing attitude. It’s a habit that’s been well taught and has become deeply ingrained in my psyche. As I started to observe myself doing that, it became the proverbial onion: I found many layers.
Looking deeply at my dark side was painful. I didn’t like admitting that I’m not all wonderful all the time and recognizing the various petty grievances I have.
I’m pretty spontaneous in general, but when I make plans and they don’t work out according to my schedule, I get pretty annoyed…..not only with the situation, but especially with the people involved. That annoyance can last a while.
I first noticed my attitude with bigger things, like planning a trip and someone throws a wrench in it, which causes us to leave late or worse, not at all.
You may think, oh that’s not a big deal. But then I saw that I do this not only with big plans but little ones as well. Like planning to have a cup of coffee and we have no creamer, because the last person to use it didn’t replace it. Grrr!
At the same time I began to notice people who don’t have my outlook for whatever reason.
I saw that they struggle too, they try to make sense of what is happening, but then some sunlight shines in and they begin to smile. They take on a positive mindset and move forward.
I quickly realized that it’s pretty pervasive, this attitude of mine. It shows up in areas I never even considered.
I want to change that. The fact is, stuff happens. If things don’t go my way, the alternative could be better, more exciting, interesting, whatever. If I can be open, who knows what great things can come out of that situation?
One thing I know for sure, nothing good comes out of my bad attitude. Definitely not peace. Only frustration for me and emotional distance from the person I care about.
So….. change! How can I change it? It requires daily practice to become present to this and create a different neural pathway.
A good way to visualize this is by imagining a well worn narrow path created by a heavy vehicle. You can literally see the tire tracks from the frequent use. It becomes difficult to navigate that path without slipping into that rut. It’s just easier to stay on that track.
Changing that path requires presence of mind and a deep commitment.
Deep within us there is resistance to something different, unless we create a ritual and some type of support for a new way of thinking.
At first, as we try to create a new path, we continue to slip back into that well worn groove, but with perseverance it happens less and less. We create a new neural pathway, which becomes stronger the more it is used.
It’s simple, but not easy.
Once you decide that you want to commit, here are some steps to support your efforts:
- It’s important to create some kind of ritual.
You have flexibility here, because we are all different. Find some moments of stillness each day. One of my favorites is mindfulness meditation and some Kundalini yoga. If you have no idea what that is, don’t worry, simply take a moment each day to sit quietly, breathe and focus on your goal. Observe yourself, notice what you are doing, thinking. The object is to become present to yourself.
- You have to get support
Find someone with whom you can discuss your thoughts and insights. No man is an island. Being isolated in this pursuit is a surefire way to slip back into the same old groove. Like an alcoholic, or any kind of addict, needs a support group and a different environment, we need someone who holds us accountable. Otherwise the old patterns just push their way back into our lives.
If there’s no one in your life right now, find a group online. Find a MeetUp. Email me.
- Do not judge yourself harshly!
When we are tired we fall back into old patterns. When we are overwhelmed, we typically lose our ability to be positive and strong. Recognize when you need to just be. Degrading yourself for your humanness isn’t going to change your old patterns faster. The best way to see change in our lives is to be kind and loving to ourselves.