Go to the light, the self-help books say. Dance in brightness, live your spark, seek the goodness in all things.

And yet, when we go to the light, our shadows follow us. Wherever there is light, there are shadows.

Our shadow selves are the dark sides of our being. We are scared of their potential. They remind us of our fallibility, vulnerability and aptness to fall into deception of our inner truth.

At the same time, our dark sides can teach us a lot. They speak of our fears and of the worst possible scenarios that could inhabit us if we let them take the upper hand.

When you really think about it, our shadow side is the one that is listening, and lurking, beneath what we try to be. In reality, it is a part of our true essence that we often wish to hide.

But what if we were to embrace our shadows as a very real part of ourselves. What if we were to be grateful for the information they give us?

Not many of us see the beneficial nature of those deep, dark places within. But they are as worthy of our attention as the light side of ourselves. Believe it or not, when you befriend that dark space inside, you will neutralize the very things you fear so much.

Besides, most of the shadow lives in our heads.

We assume, for instance, that people will respond a certain way to our so-called bad news as if we, the deliverer of the news itself, are somehow bad too.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

For when we live in truth and in recognition of both dark and light, others' fears are eased as well.

Being honest can be hard because our minds tell us we shouldn't burden others with our truth.

Yet when you stand in that truth, it grants others the freedom to do the same. It gives them permission to acknowledge their own shadow selves instead of living in constant denial that they exist.

Everyone carries a dark side. Our shadows are proof that we are here. That we are real. That everything in life has two sides.

Hug your shadow. Love it for all it is worth. It is a part of you and worthy of your recognition. Denying it is like trying to cancel your existence.

And that, my dear friends, would be a shame indeed.

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