Shadows Grow in Open Light

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For 2017: to transform, to become brand new, to shine brighter, to live a better & more fulfilling life--here's what you have to do.

Note down the one thing that you hate the most about yourself.

Interesting place to start, no? What happened to the obligatory optimism associated with the new year? Fear not, this exercise is not intended as a trigger for your downward spirals or negative psychological thought loops--although, it does take a bit of courage for you to unfold the neat napkin which held the negativity that you carefully wrapped up.

What is the one trait that really gets on your nerves? An aspect of yourself that you are insecure about, something you wish you don't have, something you deeply resent and if you could surgically remove that part of your psyche, you would consent to the operation without hesitation.


For example, you resent the fact that you are always too forgiving. Too forgiving, too nice, too polite, too fluff-brained to really register people's flaws. As a result, you suffer from losing parts of yourself to others who demand it. You give and you give and you give. You hate it. You wish you aren't that kind of person. You wish you could be more assertive when it comes to saying no. You wish you are more discerning when it comes to manipulative behaviours from the ones you devote your time and energy to.

In your eyes, this is something negative. It's something to be corrected, because it has brought you nothing but pain, heartache, and a sense of injustice. However, a personality trait is never inherently positive or negative. Your personality is simply your personality. It is neutral and does not carry any particular charges.

Depending on your upbringing, your culture, your gender, your race, and the specific life experiences you have had, you may have received judgements, directly or through social osmosis, about certain personality traits that you carry. The intersectionalities of life and complex psychocultural layers come to determine who you think you are and how you feel about yourself.


You place your identity in context of where you are and who you are with. You seek validation. You seek freedom. You seek a more colourful life and better experiences. If you are someone who is extremely forgiving, you come to see yourself as weak, passive, and/or stupid. You are supposed to be a strong, independent individual. You are supposed to know better. But you can't help being forgiving, nor can you help seeing the best in others. This is how you function. You seek to bring out the light in others. You expect brilliance when there is little hope of seeing even the dimmest light from the cracks in someone's spirit. And often, those people fail you. And it makes you feel like you have failed yourself.

If only you were not so easily forgiving. If only you were smarter, more assertive, stronger, more independent

Whatever that thing is you don't like about yourself, I want you to know that it's perfectly okay. It's okay if you dislike yourself. We all do it from time to time. We are human. But there is absolutely no reason why you need to remain in the dark woods of self-hatred, scraping your precious skin against the thorny brambles. I want you to know that you are perfectly fine the way you are. I want you to know that, if there is one thing you take away from this blog post, that our biggest shadow comes from our biggest light--almost without exception.

What seems to consume us with guilt, resentment or insecurity is actually the other side of the coin. And the other side of that coin is our biggest strength. It's the part of us that shines most.


You are too forgiving because you believe in one's potential and possibility for positive changes. You are impulsive because your physical body cannot contain the pure energy that drives you to your heights. You are easily distracted because your brain is hardwired to pay attention to new information and to think outside of the box. You are cynical because you have a practical outlook on life.

The personality traits that you may seek to disown are merely labels. Depending on situation and circumstance, your action and behaviour can mean totally different things. They can become positively or negatively charged, for sure. When you are too forgiving with people who take advantage of you, you suffer because you sacrifice your personal boundaries, hoping that by giving them another chance, they will change for the better. But that's the kind of faith that drives you to create impactful changes in the lives of people who are ready and in need of change. If you didn't believe that people could change, how could you ever ripple change from your centre and touch the lives of others?

When you are too impulsive, make rash decisions or things rocket out of your mouth before your brain has a chance to edit or censor them, you hate yourself for being impatient. You hate yourself for not thinking before you act. You regret the decisions you have made and the things that you have done. But if you didn't have that burst of energy, that raw momentum to chase after the things you want, to propel yourself forward--how could you have dared to be different, or to pursue your passions fearlessly?


Your personality traits aren't positive or negative. They are neutral. They just are.

They belong to you. They are part of you. And you're just you. You're a certain way, and that's just because you're you. Accept it. Accept that you are you. Accept the fact that you are born this way and you will always be this way. Don't seek to control it, for you are not something to be controlled.

That is not to say that you are a hopeless case, or that there is nothing you can do. Not at all. Your person is something that can be navigated. As you come to understand yourself better, you will also understand how you can best strategize so that you allow yourself to tap into your authentic self and shine, and learn how to navigate through the shadow aspects of your personality. You learn to manage and cope with the potential negative effects of your personality traits. You learn how to radiate your light and use it to be of service to yourself and to others.

Every time you make the decision to know yourself better, to become more aware, to accept yourself, to love yourself just a little more, to be more transparent, to exist with more clarity, more authenticity, and more wisdom--you become a better version of you.


You become better at loving yourself for who you are. You become better at being in this world in the best of ways. You don't have to, you don't need to, suffer in spite of yourself. You don't need to go through any of that bullshit.

Instead, you become. You become better. Shadow and quirks and all, for those are also your brightest light and your greatest gifts.

You become better, better at being you.