4 Steps to Defeat Your Darkside

What is the one area in your life that you consistently struggle with?

You know the thing that you keep trying improve on, but end up falling back into old habits and patterns.

On one shoulder there’s a little devil telling you be selfish and brash, and on the other, the voice of reason that keeps trying to guide you in the healthy and moral direction.

Maybe this emerges when you’ve been trying to be a better leader, have more emotional stability, be more productive on the job, or be a better spouse or parent.

Whatever it is, making qualified and lasting change doesn’t always come easy.

It takes some serious self-awareness and acknowledgement of weaknesses and faults.

I can think of numerous situations where I have made great progress only to end up back where I started. For me it resorts to letting my ego get in the way of long-term significance.

Right when I think all of my blind spots have been revealed, I get hit upside the head with an unnecessary bout of unhealthy behavior and regretful decision making.

Fortunately, in the long-run, these mishaps lead to greater self awareness. Real personal growth comes from these moments of distress and adversity. These are the exact situations that allow us to become more conscious and discerning when interacting with others.

It’s important to start dealing with these moments of discouragement and mishap more effectively, and learning how we can limit this “darkside” so it doesn’t show itself in times of consequence.

Here is a system for overcoming and dealing with your “darkside.”

Become of aware of negative beliefs and emotions

Learn to examine your belief system and get to the root of your shadow. What are you afraid of? What are your insecurities? What are the distorted thoughts that keep you consumed in darkness?

Developing this awareness will allow you to become more conscious of why your making decisions and more clear headed when emotions area on high.

Forgive yourself for having a darkside

Anger, stress, fear, and shame are natural emotions. In fact we are in trouble without them. If I don’t have the capacity to feel ashamed I just might do some pretty heinous things. Recognize you will be dealing with this side of yourself as you grow into a more compassionate, caring, and whole person.

If you can’t forgive yourself when mistakes occur you will be riddled with guilt and shame, which will show itself as further resistance and strife.

Take 100% responsibility for your feelings and actions

This may be the most important step in the process. When we have a bad attitude, fall back into old patterns, or make a mistake, it is up to us to make the shift from blaming others to taking control by empowering ourselves. No one else is responsible for our feelings and behavior.

Don’t blame others or take it out on them. You have a choice in how to respond and deal with your ugly moments. This is what allows you to begin embracing and cultivating more light and positivity as well.

Start filling yourself with light

As you encounter and defeat your darkside, it’s time to fill yourself up with light, and develop your natural authentic peaceful state. After you have conquered your fears, let go of the past, and moved beyond your old comfort zones, you can begin to transform yourself, others, and the world around you.

When you fill yourself up with positive energy, you will be more likely to fill up others. This can be done by engaging in life through using your strengths, doing things you enjoy, and being grateful for what you have. Find meaning through acts of kindness, giving back, and helping others grow.

Emanate as much light as you can and don’t get stuck in the dark.

As you work on yourself and begin to notice the patterns that keep you stuck and dispirited, you can start to move beyond the conditioning that holds you back.

The steps described above are not necessarily linear. You will experience things that knock you down a few pegs and you have to work your way back up.

No matter how much positivity we fill ourselves with we all have a darkside that emerges. Finding a harmonious balance between the two is the key. Until we have reached a place free of ego, self-interest, and pride we will struggle with jealousy, doubt, and remorse.

It’s time to move beyond your barriers of fear, forgive yourself for your past, and embrace the light.

My Connection

This is where I provide my personal connection to the ideas in the post. I hope you will join the conversation by leaving a comment, and offering your personal connection to these ideas as well.

I tend to do well with emotional intelligence. I notice when my emotions are causing me problems and am able to adapt so I don’t make things worse. Though despite this, I still run into to set-backs. I keep regressing and struggling with taking 100% responsibility for my thought, feelings, and behavior.

It’s easy to use others in my life or the circumstances I’m faced with as the reason I’m not making more progress or where I desire to be.

Though, when I commit to taking responsibility I immediately gain greater self-control, motivation, and strength to make change and progress in my life.

It’s a powerful notion that takes real effort, but by not placing my control in external circumstances I am able to work past insecurities and uncertainty.

Everyone has work to do on themselves, and until we acknowledge our darkness we cannot transcend beyond it.

What do you do to work past your insecurities and distorted thinking?

Photo by: JoelMonte


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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Stevens/100001219009939 David Stevens

    Hi Joe,
    I’ve bookmarked this, terrific pointers and info, thankyou.
    be good to yourself

  • http://alwayswellwithin.com/ Sandra / Always Well Within

    Well said:  “Real personal growth comes from these moments of distress and adversity.
    These are the exact situations that allow us to become more conscious
    and discerning when interacting with others.”  I also really like what you said about it being natural and not necessarily “bad” to feel shame when we act in appropriately, but it doesn’t help to get stuck there.

    I really like your writing and your insights.

  • Shakeoffthegrind

    Hi David,

    Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! I appreciate the kind words! Have an amazing day!

  • Joe @ Shakeoffthegrind

    Hi Sandra,

    Thanks for taking time to leave your insights! Those moments of adversity can really teach us a lot about who we are the the tendencies we have to respond and react. Experiencing and going through our emotions is a major key in being able to foster change and grow from it. Whatever emotions we experience are not to be invalidated though this doesn’t mean we must act on them either. Thanks again!

  • http://mindadventure.com/ rob

    The “Dark Side” is a great way to think of it, Joe. Misleading opinions have been heaped upon us since childhood. We must take a clinical look at our inventory of opinions.  Simply
    doing this helps us feel the rightness of ridding our belief system of wrong
    opinions. We need not understand everything
    there is to understand about ourselves in order to live the glorious life you deserve, but it is important to understand that
    we are marvelously made, destined to win if you set your mind to, and worthy of all that is good and beautiful.   


    Truly understanding this
    revelation, gives us the intensifying quality we need to make it part of our
    deep subconscious belief system. The rest gets easier and easier.


  • Joe @ Shakeoffthegrind

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks so much for sharing this! In order to really heal and embrace our worth and beauty takes dealing with core issues, and not just the surface problems. This is something I have been working on and certainly work on with clients. We can’t heal and change those deep seated issues until we acknowledge them and start from the heart. Our darkness can’t be defeated from the head, but must go to our deeper beliefs.

  • http://twitter.com/HSPStressRelief HSP Stress Relief

    It helps when we fall down to remind ourselves of a toddler learning to walk.  They fall down, sometimes cry, sometimes are surprised and sometimes even laugh.  They do not hate themselves, shame themselves or demean themselves.  They just pick themselves up.  

  • Joe @ Shakeoffthegrind

     Hi, welcome to the blog! I really appreciate you taking time to comment! This is a wonderful comparison to help us recognize how much of our distress is self-imposed. When we shift how we interpret and look at a situation we can move past the shame and anger that persists otherwise. A great example to put things in perspective. Thanks again!

  • Matt

    Thank you. This couldnt have come at a better time

  • Joe @ Shakeoffthegrind

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for stopping by! I do hope it was helpful and ook forward to hearing from you again! Stay positive!

  • Pingback: How can I stop my distorted thoughts? | Stop Jealousy()