6 Tips for Embracing Your Dark Passenger

The first time I heard Dexter describe his Dark Passenger I was mesmerized, identifying with every word. Then the scene changed and I thought, “What the fuck? Did I just come to another level of understanding about myself by watching an HBO series about a serial killer? A Sociopath? Yes, yes I did. And although I discovered this years ago and the verdict on what exactly this means to me is still out, the truth remains that I live my life somewhere in the middle. The thing is everyone has a dark side, it is human nature, but experiences this truth about themselves differently. For some it might never grow to be more than the temptation to eat a second piece of cake even though you’re already full, when for others it is an all consuming battle that wages within. It may have taken years of events and experiences before you even noticed it was there, or it may have happened instantly. Whatever your experience with this, the fact is, it doesn’t just disappear and if understood can be quiet helpful.

I wrote that last Sunday, fully expecting to then move into a lighthearted and wildly useful 6 Tips for Embracing Your Dark Passenger post, but when I hit tab it hit me back. And with the cursor blinking I was overcome with the realization, swift and unexpected that, “This is my own deepest struggle, and wildly personal. So please excuse my absence, I’ve been digging deep. And as I said in the intro, everyone experiences their darkness differently and for different reasons, so just take what you need and leave the rest for someone else.

6 Tips for Embracing Your Dark Passenger

 1. Accept that it Exists:

As much as I try to steer clear of the traditional 12 step models, the theory that admitting you have a problem as a starting place is pretty relevant. The difference here, and for me was to stop calling it a problem, or talking so much about powerlessness. This starts you off in the red right away and only makes the process more difficult. Instead just acknowledging that it exists gives you access to it. It makes it just as real as anything else about you. For it has been in my personal experience that, just like renting an apartment vs owning a home. You can’t alter it until it’s yours. Two major things can happen by doing just this. The first being that, despite how hard or ugly it is, you will feel some relief instantly, no longer having to skirt around the truth. The second being that you might actually find that there are some things you have no desire or intention to change, but they are all tangled up with other things that you would like to rid yourself of that you feel too divided to know where to begin. Now that you’re looking at it, you can get organized.

2. Don’t let it define you.

“sometimes feeling trapped is less about the walls on the outside”

This is the chaser for the shot of truth you just took in the first tip and a commonly over looked step in the process. It’s easy when you are putting your efforts towards something to narrow your focus on it, but it is really important to keep a wide view of yourself while digging in the muck. Not to mention no matter how small it starts, the deeper you keep it locked up or hidden the more it grows to feel like it holds more stock in your character then it actually does. Without having an accurate perspective of ALL that you are, the outcome of your work can backfire. It helps if you have someone who knows you well to help keep you clear headed and give you a little boost, but ultimately the goal is to be able to self correct one sided thinking. You are never just good or bad.

3. Know Your Limits

Temptations are strong, but once you’ve established a direct link to your intuition you hold the power of discerning their value. This understanding comes more from trial and error experience than from analysis, but if there are things you know will trigger you then be smart. Keep mental notes and apply them when the situations arise. The goal is to understand yourself so that you may always be in charge of your choices.

4. Learn From It

My favorite friend/reader comment on the subject was from my friend Rhea, who said, “my darker side’s name is Bertha. She comes out to defend me. I used to think she was just bitchy. Now I know someone has stepped on my toes.”

In most cases our “darker sides” are born for our protection. Out of pain, fear, or instinct there is much you can learn from the moments you are driven to move from the light into your shadow. It can be like a warning, or a guide to keep you from harm, and in many cases can help to open you up to a more balanced self. For it is in my personal opinion that much of what today’s mainstream society deems “bad” bares a close resemblance to that which makes us alive. With so much emphasis on “being a good person” we’ve lost sight of being a “real” person.

5. Get on the Same Side.

So how can you use your dark side constructively to achieve your goals? It takes having common interests. The common interest is you. Once you are no longer at odds within, the obstacles of life seem far less daunting.

6. Create a Code

A personal code, or creed is a thing of great value when working to live with your whole self. It can aid as a reminder of your intentions, desires and purpose as well as a reference to check in with when you feel yourself getting off course, in either direction. A system of accountability and inspiration. It can be long and detailed or consist of just a few words, either way it should ignite you, all of you, every time you read it.

6 Tips for Embracing Your Individuality

❝ Our individuality is all, all, that we have. There are those who barter it for security, those who repress it for what they believe is the betterment of the whole society, but blessed in the twinkle of the morning star is the one who nurtures it and rides it in, in grace and love and wit, from peculiar station to peculiar station along life’s bittersweet route. ❞
Tom Robbins (Jitterbug Perfume)

 There have been many times that I have felt just “too weird.” To be somewhere, with them, here, with you, at all. Not too tall, not too loud, not too pretty, not too obvious…..just too fucking weird. Then one day I looked around and realized,

there is no way I’d rather be than the way I am.

Suddenly what used to feel like “too weird” became Just Right…

6 Tips for Embracing Your Individuality

1. Remember NOTICING is different than JUDGING (and being noticed is really quite an honor.)

It’s easy to assume judgement is what is behind someone’s eyes when you walk in the room. Especially when their expression is anything other than obvious delight. A blank stare leaves so much space for our insecurities to project themselves right into our reality. But is it that hard to believe that behind the blank stare is awe? That you are so interesting, unique and stunning that they can’t help but take you all in? Truth is, we’ve become so dependent on outward and gratuitous validation that we’ve lost sight of the incredible value and compliment that just being noticed and acknowledged possess. So get the fear of what others might be thinking out of the way, right away. In fact, while you have their attention let them see you shine. Smile, wink, hell do a little dance. What ever you do, own your presence. Make it clear that YOU like what they see.  With that being said….

2. The more accepting we are of others, the more comfortable we become within ourselves.

There’s whole books on this, but it all comes down to you creating your own reality and if your a steaming pile of scrutiny, than that is the world you live in. In fact a lot of the things we judge most harshly about other people are the things we dislike or fear others will dislike about us. So a great way to grow to love your uniqueness is to start acknowledging and appreciating it within others. Reach out to someone else with acceptance, intrigue and admiration. It’s a powerful thing when you recognize pieces of yourself in them.

3. Make it sexy.

So your weird, that’s great! Why not be sexy weird, or come to think if it, weirdly sexy…..Turn on the heat, reel ’em in, make ’em watch. I love it when I meet someone that is clearly moving to their own beat, and they know it, they own it, and it is so hot. Work to view the things that make you different as the things that give you your heat. Feeling sexy is wildly empowering and note that fascination, curiosity and hunger for discovery are driving forces behind desire. The most rare and distinct creatures on this earth aren’t called exotic for nothing.

4. Learn the Facts

 Take some time to learn more about the things you like, the interests you have, the person you are. Read a book, watch a documentary, join a club, ask questions. It’s hard to feel sure about your quirks when you don’t fully understand them. Knowledge is power. Making the effort to get to know yourself better can be a huge boost to your confidence, it can help you to discern if you really like something, or just the idea of it and every time I come away from a conversation in which I was able to express myself intelligently and educate someone else about an interest of mine, I feel that much more sure about who I am.

5. Surround yourself with people who accept you.

The best people to have in your life are the ones who accept you for who you are. They have their own lives, interests and self awareness, and need nothing more from you than to be yourself. This is the sister tip to #2. Just as we can learn to accept yourselves by accepting other people, we can also learn a lot from the people who love us. Really listen when a close friend pays you a compliment, or gives you encouragement. Believe what they are saying. When someone offers you appreciation for your help, receive it, don’t brush it off. Be lifted from uncertainty by allowing the praise and belief that others feel for you to go straight to your heart (not your head).

6. Keep it Simple

Keeping things simple on the outside, helps to keep it simple on the inside. When we become surrounded with clutter, pressed for time and consumed with that which does not concern us we spend less time nurturing what exists within us and there is plenty there. Seek the courage you need to step out of the crowd and into yourself. Embrace your individuality