Many philosophers and psychologists have spoken about humans having two sides to their personality. I believe it. I believe it because I see it with myself and I see it in others. There’s our “ego” or “shadow/dark” side which is “fear-based” and is believed to have developed as a way of survival and there’s our “true-self” or “light” side which is “love-based”. It’s peaceful, calm, loving, joyful.
Before I began my healing journey, I was unaware of my ego side. It was a side I suppressed. The self-hate, the anger, the jealousy, the shame, the anxiety, depression, the low self-esteem, low self-worth, manipulation, fear – it’s what I hid for most of my life. I was ashamed of it and for some of the behaviors, unaware. But as soon as I started to meditate and also express these emotions ( some through writing ) and shine some light on them, they started to lose their power. My anxiety lessened. My jealousy started disappearing. I didn’t get mad over the slightest criticisms anymore. I have changed since I began healing, but I think what has happened is I’m more accepting of myself now and I don’t shame myself nowhere near as much as I used to. I’m aware now.
When I get angry, I don’t suppress it like I used to. I distance myself and go within and figure out what’s going on before I say something I regret. Before I began healing, I would blow-up on people and it made everything ten times worse. With fear, I have found, facing it and walking slowly through it (for me, with God) has helped it not control me anymore. I’ve talked about my fears on here. My two biggest fears that have controlled me all of my life – my fear of abandonment and my fear of rejection. They are DEEP fears. The more I experience them, the less control they have over me. I am nowhere near afraid of rejection and abandonment as I used to be. I used to think I was going to die. Literally. That’s how I felt. I took it personally if I was rejected. And then I would get sad and fall into depression. My anxiety would sky-rocket whenever I went anywhere or did anything that might result in me getting rejected. But once I became aware of my mindset and started thinking more positively, my anxiety lessened. A lot of people say think positively. I agree. But I think you have to acknowledge the negative feelings before you can think positively. Because if you cover up the negative feelings, you’re ignoring them, and no one likes to be ignored. They are going to get louder until you acknowledge them.
Here’s an example with my biological father and my dad (my step-father). I write about my relationship with them a lot because they had a huge impact on me. I used to blame them, but I don’t blame them anymore though for why I am the way I am. I’ve forgiven them. I wish sometimes I didn’t grow up the way I did, but I can’t change the past. I can only accept it and move forward. I was just unaware and they were unaware. On the positive side though, my childhood allows me to help others who may be going through the same thing. But I used to think I was unworthy most of my life because my biological father left when I was a baby and my dad, my step-father, always criticized me. I never felt good enough. I was angry at them. I believed I was unworthy and I shamed myself. When I began my healing journey, I realized just because my biological father left, it doesn’t mean I’m unworthy. He has issues within that he needed to deal with and it had nothing to do with me. The same with my dad. He has pain inside that he needs to deal with. I don’t have resentment towards them anymore. I have more of an understanding and I try to take care of myself. I have more boundaries now.
I think I’ll always have this ego side. It’s a part of me. But now it doesn’t control me. It’s nowhere near as strong as it used to be. I still get angry. I still feel unworthy at times. I still get jealous. But when I do, I acknowledge it and change my mindset. If someone says something mean to me, I don’t automatically assume they are out to hurt me and I’m some unworthy person. Now I think, hey, I know myself, that’s not true, something is going on with them. Don’t make it worse. Acknowledge if it hurts though, tell them, but how you react makes a huge difference. I think we have two sides and I think the more acceptance and the more love we show to our ego side the less control it has over us. We don’t always have to act out our emotions, we can just sit with them and feel them. It is my true-self, love, that has helped me heal and in turn, understand and love others.
-Sonja Jackson, OpenHeartTin