This week, I want to talk about your evil twin.
“Why now?” you ask? “It’s the holidays!” you say.
Well the holidays can be very stressful, and the evil twin has a tendency to rear her ugly head during times of stress.
What exactly do I mean by the evil twin?
Dr. Carl Jung described the shadow as a denied part of our self that we repress because we have been given a message that it is “bad” or “evil” or that we need to feel shame and guilt if we do it or say it.
All of us have an evil twin and we actually need her. She gives us perspective for the light side and makes us whole human beings. As we grow and mature, growth comes easier, since these hidden shadows are exposed to the light and can be used for good and to serve us.
We get hurt by the evil twin because she’s been repressed and denied. She occasionally takes control, yet when we learn to work with her, we are in control.
The following steps may help you learn to work with your shadow side and the holidays may be the perfect time to practice!
1. Acknowledge your twin: When you deny or repress something in yourself, you tend to become more aware of that trait in someone else. If this happens, you tend to over-react to it, finding the behavior increasingly annoying. If you notice yourself doing that consistently over similar behaviors, it may be your twin crying for attention.
2. Pay attention to what you do “by accident”: This is when your twin, so carefully hidden away, starts to leak out here and there. It can be by a comment only half under your breath or a roll of your eyes (maybe even unbeknownst to you!) at someone’s behavior.
3. Don’t be afraid of the mirror: Really look inside yourself at things you’ve denied or that you are afraid to show the world. Set aside your judgement of it and just look at yourself with curiosity and accept it as part of you.
4. Realize that whatever it is, it has an emotion attached to it: It is being repressed for a reason, and that reason is usually tied to a strong negative emotion. Learn to balance that emotion with others from the “good” twin.
5. Patience for the journey: This is not easy work, requiring probing into parts you’d rather not be probed. The longer something has been repressed, the more dangerous it feels to dig into it, and the more out of your comfort zone you will feel. Extend yourself some grace as you work through this; the challenge of it will become exciting to you.
Going through a process to understand and give a voice to your evil twin can catapult your personal growth.
In fact, I once read an article that said do exactly that. Give your twin a voice. Write out a paragraph or two from her perspective. Lance that boil and be OK with what comes out.
I guarantee that all your relationships will be better off when you bring your whole self to the table and not just the self-described good bits.
Tune into yourself and you will tune into great power. And, with great power, comes great responsibility.
Leaving you with this from the lighter side: Of course there are no skeletons in my closet…I do, however, keep a tiny black box of souls in my sock drawer…