We all want to be happy. Most of us work incredibly hard in order to achieve at least something as close to happiness as possible. Often we believe that, if we create a neat and tidy life, then we will be happy. We try to live "in the light", in the positive, and we make huge efforts to eliminate the "the dark", the negative, or what we see as that, from our lives. The problem is that the more we stand in the light the bigger a shadow we cast behind us where we can't/won't see. Maybe we feel the need to create a certain image of ourselves: this is the person I want to be; this is how I want to be seen. We don't want to see the dark side of ourselves nor do we want others to see it. It's not that what we judge as "bad" (for example, being "selfish", angry, hateful, being brilliant, being different from the norm, having needs, being unhappy when we feel we should be happy with what we have etc.) is bad in reality.
We all have valid reasons for whatever we feel; the question is what we do with these feelings. The main thing is to acknowledge them! If we pretend that we don't feel them we push them away from us into the shadow. We throw them out "of the house" for being unacceptable and dangerous; we send them into exile: this is not who I am! But the more we push them away the more they will push back; they keep knocking on the door, louder and louder; they need to be heard. If we keep ignoring them we might get depressed and anxious without knowing why. If we try to be somebody we are not, we create a split in our psyche; a gap opens up between the image we create of ourselves and the person we are in reality, and that gap will fill up with anger, depression and/or anxiety.
Paradoxically, the part of ourselves that we fear and reject most is often the best part of us. Someone might say: I'm so angry all the time and I hate myself for it! I don't want to be this angry, nasty person! Later, for example in counselling, they might discover that they're so angry because they always adapt to others and don't live the way they need to. Their anger saves them by not leaving them in peace, by keeping on knocking on the door and saying: you're not true to yourself! You're denying yourself what you really need! Usually there is treasure hidden in the parts of ourselves that we hate most. If we open the door of our soul and let them back in, the treasure will be revealed.
Counselling can help to unearth and recognise the hidden treasure which will enable you to live a more fulfilling life.
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About Judith Schuepfer-Griffin
My name is Judith, and I'm writing in the way I do because I would like to make psychological thinking more accessible for everyone. I have noticed that it often helps to create a context within which new ideas make more sense. With my articles I'm trying to create that context and hopefully also an enjoyable reading experience.