Home | Three Benefits that Come from Exploring your Dark Side
Three Benefits that Come from Exploring your Dark Side
I guess we’re all two people. One daylight, and the one we keep in shadow.
— Bruce Wayne/Batman
Disclaimer:This article is my opinion about exploring the dark side of your personality. No scientific claim is being made. If you’re a stable, well-intended person, you may find some helpful ideas related to the dark side of your personality, if you believe such a thing exists.
If you’re up for it, you’ll discover at the end of this post why the dark side of the human psyche should be at the heart of all life coaching efforts!
Here we go. You should explore the dark side (known to fans of Carl Jung as the ‘shadow’) of your personality to receive three personal benefits.
1. The Relief of Self-Acceptance
Think about it – no more frustration with yourself. You’re not perfect, but you do not expect yourself to be. You’re not always happy, but again, you’re OK with this.
When you explore your dark side, you experience the parts of your personality that you’ve been wishing would just vanish. They won’t vanish, so this has always left you frustrated and at odds with yourself.
Dark side explorers learn how to ‘assimilate the things that no person wishes to be’ as Jung might have stated. Exploring your dark side, you learn to be OK with parts of you that you’ve always hated.
2. No More Fear, Distrust or Approval Seeking
Most of us fear ourselves. We fear our weakness. We fear our power. We don’t trust ourselves. Why not? Because we’ve let ourselves down too often. We’ve hidden our weaknesses from others and refused (deep down) to stop self-criticizing.
When you explore your dark side, you boldly venture into the most feared areas of your psyche. When you get to the other side (which can take a while) you no longer fear yourself.
Think about this one for a moment. When it comes to you…
You’ve been there, done that.
You have little need to deny, resist or fear anything about you.
3. You Relax More – A Lot More
Why would you be more relaxed in general after exploring the dark side of your personality?
Because you’re no longer trying to prove anything.
Imagine reluctantly preparing for a big competition, like a beauty contest. You don’t want to participate, really. Yet, you’re somehow obligated.
You’ve got to primp and preen and make everyone agree that you’re beautiful – and more so than anyone else. You spend quite a long time stressfully preparing, chronically glancing in the mirror to make sure you’re looking good – and fretting when you find a blemish.
Then, the beauty contest gets canceled. Ahhhhh….
You no longer have to prove how beautiful, wonderful and unblemished you are.
After exploring the dark side of your personality, you learn that you’re not going to make it through life as an unblemished being of light. You’re merely a person, imperfect and maybe even a bit twisted. You can find a way to let go of whatever you once had to prove about yourself.
And this is very, very comforting.
A New Coaching Model That Changes Everything? Maybe.
I’ve coached so many people (and have been coached for years) through the the mental minefields of the dark side that I’ve come to the following shocking conclusion:
Most life coaches focus on the easy stuff.
Yes, they’ll coach you as long as you’re EZ-Peezy! As soon as you venture into your most troublesome issues, they’re not sure what to do for you.
What’s the EZ-Peezy stuff?
You know, most of the stuff that average coaches do. It’s true!
If you want to tackle the tough issues, then start helping people:
Who can’t figure out why they set goals and then quit.
Who somehow refuse to apply the multitude of skills they already have.
Who are smart, capable and creative, but cannot get out of their own way.
Of course, this is MOST PEOPLE (perhaps even you).
So here’s my idea:
Forget about the EZ-Peezy stuff for a while and do the following:
Explore your dark side. That’s it.
No big goals. No focus on being ‘accountable’. Forget skill building.
When you let that stuff go for the time being and dig into your psyche (with help, most likely) then you’ll potentially become free of life’s toughest issue. You know, dealing with the parts of you that don’t appear to care about your goals, success or even your very happiness.
Mike Bundrant is a retired psychotherapist, Master NLP trainer, and practicing life coach. He and his wife, Hope, founded iNLP Center in 2011. For information on coaching with Mike, please visit his coaching website AHA System.