Do you know your dark side? Your destructive thoughts, feelings, and actions? Do you know your character vulnerabilities?

If so, you’re a step ahead of those who don’t. Some people need to be right at all costs in all situations. Their shame-based need for self-perfection creates self-righteousness. This self-righteousness blinds them to their dark side. These people can never grow or heal. They’re right, and you’re wrong. They offend from the victim position. If they upset you, then you are bad for being upset. They sacrifice loving mutuality on the altar of delusional self-perfection.

This is because of shame, which is rooted in self-hatred. Shame says “I am bad.” No one likes to feel bad, so some people defend against the pain of shame by clinging to the illusion they have no flaws.Trauma survivors have a wounded dark side. Trauma includes both abuse and neglect. Trauma begets trauma. Victims inflict the self-hatred created by trauma onto both themselves and those around them. Thus victims of neglect and abuse often neglect and abuse both themselves and their loved ones. It is what they’ve learned. It is all they know.Healing starts with self-love. While you can temporarily borrow the love of others, it’s ultimately your job to cherish yourself unconditionally, dark side and all. It is your job to wake up to the simple fact that you’re an amazing, miraculous, sacred being. See your self-hatred and firmly renounce it.When you love yourself, shame fades. Then you can objectively see both your virtues and vulnerabilities. With radical self-acceptance, you name your dark side and claim it as your own. This creates accountability. With accountability, you can tame your dark side.

Conduct a “fearless and searching moral inventory” of your virtues and vulnerabilities. If you would like a list of these, email me at mdm@wellmind.com. Write a page or two about each of your vulnerabilities—how they manifest in your life and how they affect others. Then share it with your healers and trusted intimates. Get transparent without shame.

Then tame your destructive impulses. Be mindful. See and lovingly accept when they arrive as honored guests in the house of your mind. Be compassionate with yourself at all times. Mindfulness is the key to self-awareness. You can’t manage in the moment what you can’t see in the moment.

Tame your dark side by taking the “no harm vow,” committing to non-violence under all circumstances. Practice unconditional kindness. When you slip, get up and repair the damage immediately by owning your behavior, making amends, and providing restitution where appropriate.

Practice seeing the sacred in everyone you meet. Practice cherishing yourself and others merely because we are all infinitely amazing and precious no matter how ignorant, unaware or destructive we may be. See that no one is bad…but that some are sick in a bad way. This way of seeing helps you to not act on destructive urges.

If you want to heal yourself and your relationships, take up the daily practice of naming it, claiming it, and taming it. Everyone will benefit from your efforts, but you most of all.

Love yourself, including your dark side, so you can love others with their dark sides. Healing comes not from eliminating your vulnerabilities, but by learning to lovingly accept and manage them.

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