June 8, 2017

How to Accept Yourself When You Want to Change Who You Are

Often, we think we need to change who we are. In order to be better or even acceptable. That we have to leave our old selves behind, shed it off like an old skin, because we cannot live with ourselves anymore.

We dislike our thoughts, our feelings, ourselves. We want to be someone different, who has different thoughts, different feelings, different skills. We all feel like this at one point or another. And we think the answer is to destroy our old selves and create a new one.

Wanting to leave a part of yourself behind is a harmful attitude, because it feeds off self-hatred. A non-acceptance of yourself.

Imagine everything you don't like about yourself as your shadow. A darkness that is always there. You didn't choose your shadow. But it's part of you anyway. You can't tear it away.

Everything we don't like about ourselves is a part of us that developed for a reason. Everything has a reason for existing. Maybe what we hate so much once saved us, helped us or kept us safe.

So the question arises: What is a person without a shadow? An unnatural being who has lost the thing that proved they were alive. Who has lost a part of their essence and is no longer alive.

What doesn't have a shadow doesn't exist.

Every part of ourselves we don't like, every thought, every feeling are the bases for all the things we do like. Without pain, we wouldn't understand joy. Without chaos, we couldn't know peace. And until we see someone's darkness, we don't know true love.

This darkness, this shadow we so desperately want to tear away is actually our very essence. It's this darkness from where everything grows. From where we grow. Like the lotus from the mud.

You don't need to fix yourself. You need to understand yourself and accept yourself. What you understand cannot control you.

Everyone has a shadow. All the energy we put into wanting to destroy it, we can put into learning to live with it. With peace, with acceptance, with kindness. And our shadows cease to control us. We are in charge.

Nothing inside of us needs to be banished. Because nothing inside has the power to control us. What is inside, we can accept with peace and understanding. And our shadows will not be as hard to live with anymore. After all, they are the bases of everything worth living for, they are the proof we are alive.

A guided meditation on the topic can be listened to here.

"I myself am the enemy who must be loved." - Carl Jung

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