Embracing Your Dark Side

This week's trek is inspired by Debbie Ford's work on exploring your weaknesses in order to better understand yourself.

Are there things about yourself that you'd prefer to keep in the dark?

Rooted in Jung's concept of the Shadow, Ford would argue that running away from the worst parts of yourself only allows them to manifest further. Instead, she says it's important to own your dark qualities and understand how they contribute to your behaviors and viewpoints of the world.

Introducing Your Dark Side Exercise*

What It Is
An opportunity to explore the things about yourself that aren't so pleasant in order to increase your self-awareness.

Why We Love It 
Knowing ourselves isn't solely about creating a laundry list of all the things that make you so great (re: your dating profile one-liners). It's also about understanding the things about yourself that you might be afraid to openly acknowledge (at least until the third or fourth date).

How It Works

1. Set aside 10-20 minutes and grab your favorite journal. 

2. Imagine that an article was written about you in your favorite magazine or newspaper. Write down the five things you would not want this article to say about you. These are things that are true about you, but you'd really prefer to not share with the entire world. Then, write down the five things the article could say about you that you'd be fine with. 

3. Revisit your first list (the "I don't want the world to know this" list). Ask yourself why these five things are something you'd prefer to keep hidden. Is it because your family, friends and social circles would tell you they're unfavorable qualities? Or is it because you fundamentally believe they aren't good qualities? Take a look at your second list. Are these qualities things you believe others would perceive as good? Do you fundamentally agree?

4. Let's go back to that first list. Ask yourself when each of these five qualities have been helpful to you. Write down specific examples for each one. Try to examine the situations where each quality can be beneficial to you and compare it to situations where it truly has not been helpful to you or others. What are the differences in these scenarios? How can you embrace more of this dark side of yourself in scenarios where there's benefit? How can you have more of an open mind about this same dark quality when you see it in others?

*Source: The Dark Side of the Light Chasers

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