“To confront a person with their own shadow is to show them their own light.” – Carl Jung
As you learn about yourself, the discoveries you make about your personality, your passions, and how you want to live are exciting and energize you for the journey ahead. But, inevitably, you will also learn things that are unpleasant or downright ugly. What you do with these “ugly” discoveries is more important than what you do with your pleasant discoveries. Knowing and embracing your worst qualities is the key to being your whole self. Here is how to embrace your own worst qualities.
Recognize that we are all a combination of “light” and “dark”
We are socialized to only accept our best qualities and to push away or ignore our worst qualities. But, a whole self consists of “light” and “dark” qualities. Your worst qualities won’t go away simply because you want them to. And, the more you want them to go away, the more power they have over you. Acknowledging that you are a combination of your best and worst qualities is the first step in being a whole person. This doesn’t mean that you have to be a jerk, it just means that you know yourself.
Know what your worst qualities are
Do you know what your worst qualities are? Your worst qualities are things you don’t show to the world (or to yourself) and it makes you angry when you are confronted with them. Our true worst qualities are painful to acknowledge, so we don’t show them to others.
However, not accepting your worst qualities allows them to control you. When you know what they are, you can use them, and avoid having them use you. Ask yourself these questions to get to know your worst qualities.
- What do you hesitate to admit about yourself (to yourself)?
- Has anyone ever told you something about you that made you really angry?
Integrate your worst qualities into your life
When you integrate your worst qualities into your life you put them in service to your self – your self is not in service to them. It means you have to acknowledge them for what they are and know how they play a role in the contribution you make to the world.
A speaker may find that it’s not just confidence, but arrogance that helps her speak engagingly and convincingly before an audience, because she believes that she has something essential to tell people. A great relationship builder may find his desire to socialize bordering on self indulgence, but it aids him in the quantity and quality of relationships he builds. And an entrepreneur may find that it’s not just assertiveness, but aggressiveness, that enables her to build her business.
What’s important to remember is that your best and worst qualities are all a part of you, and you don’t have to be afraid of (any part of) yourself. Light and dark can’t exist without each other.