I want to share a poem I originally wrote for Rebelle Society about the struggle we sometimes face in acknowledging our dark side.
“It is somewhat less dangerous to feel that malevolence is located outside oneself, in an object from which no one can escape, than inside oneself, from which there is no escape.” ~ Stephen A. Mitchell & Margaret J. Black
It is true you have suffered.
It is true you have been subject to unfair treatment.
It is true you have come out of despair to make yourself new again.
You have found your path of healing
after years of fear and torment.
You can breathe a little deeper.
You can now reflect in the past.
With some questions still unanswered
and some fear still about the future.
It is true that you are lovely.
It is true that you are amazing.
It is true that you are a reflection
of the great capacity of survival
humans are born with.
It is true that there have been moments of rejection,
of others intentionally abandoning you,
therefore becoming masterful at abandoning yourself.
And here lies the difficult part to own,
to own how you have become part of your own suffering
because there is a dark side residing within you
that needs to be named.
It is a side that is deeply painful and agonizing to acknowledge.
How to acknowledge that part of you that treats yourself with disdain?
How to acknowledge that part of you that hurts those you love?
You have already singled out those responsible for your misery
but you know there are some little steps to take
to acknowledge the ways your suffering has taught you well
On how to abandon yourself
On how to criticize yourself
On how to make yourself suffer
On how to become your worst enemy
On how to sabotage your healing journey
On how to use others to indulge your wounded ego
Making you blind to your own dark side,
your own shadow that resides within you.
And in your attempt to deny your dark side,
you unravel it and show it to the world with fury,
with aggression, with revenge,
without even being aware of its monstrosity
until it is too late,
because you do not want to acknowledge
a part of you that you and others find shameful.
Lack of acknowledgement
does not make it less real,
does not make it less powerful,
Your dark side, unrecognized, becomes a monster.
Your dark side, ignored, controls your actions.
Your dark side, a byproduct of years of suffering
perpetrated by others has become your blind spot,
teaching you about doing the things you are against
becoming your biggest enemy unrecognized
molding your psyche into becoming
who you do not want to be.
It is time for you to acknowledge your inner dark side.
It is time to acknowledge it has lived within you
uninvited, unacknowledged, denied, repressed, dissociated.
It is time to own how your dark side, unrecognized,
has hurt many people, including you.
Since those early times you were diminished in painful tears
that no one could see.
Since those times you looked up to the sky wondering
as a child, why you were feeling so much despair.
Since the times you thought you did not deserve
to be loved, recognized, admired,
to be the best version of yourself because no one was there
to mirror your beauty, your talents, your brilliance and youramazingness.
So you learned to obtain that mirroring of your amazingness
through your dark side,
through your dark side, unacknowledged.
Your dark side, within you,
is waiting for recognition,
but the right amount of recognition.
To embrace it and not dissociate it,
To talk to it and not ignore it,
To understand it and not indulge it,
To place it where it belongs within,
To become an imperfect balance
with your own inner light.
“When we take the time to look into our bag of shadows,
something magical happens. We begin to see ourselves for who
we really are. We start to understand that we weren’t born to be
perfect. Our greatest qualities are tethered to our most feared
flaws.” ~ Michaela Chung
Merari E. Fernández Castro,