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Accepting All Parts

In the last few years, my inner world and, consequentially, my spirituality have expanded, and two of the greatest lessons I have learned that have provided more meaning in my life were understanding the importance of the relationship I have with myself and recognizing the balance that is always at play in the world. 

One can find inner peace when they learn to recognize the balance that is always at play in the Universe. A perfect balance exists in our inner and outer worlds, a counterpart to each polarity. Understanding this has helped me to see the balance within myself, that I contain a bit of everything. I am both good and bad, a saint and a sinner, beautiful and ugly. I have learned the importance of recognizing that my "bad" qualities are not simply negative but serve a higher purpose, and through learning to accept all parts of myself, even the ones I previously wished to hide from the world, I have found that I do not need to reach for the impossible goal of perfection, but only that of wholeness. 

Some of these revelations came from reading the works of Carl Jung and the works of people who study Jungian Theory. Carl Jung is one of the founders of analytical psychology and a professor with inciteful revelations on universal archetypes that play out in our subconscious mind. His work built upon and expanded past Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis of Id and Ego and shed light upon our inner shadows. He taught that our dark sides are not just evil parts of us that need to be hidden away, but instead believed that they play a crucial role in shaping us. The more we push away from and fight the parts of us we don't like, the more they can control us at a subconscious level. But when we face our inner demons, realizing they serve some purpose in our life, whether past or present, we can find inner wholeness and acceptance. 

Since it was recently Easter, I thought I would share an interesting analysis of Jung's. He examined the story of the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus as punishment for their crimes. One thief despised Jesus, wanting nothing to do with him or the salvation he claimed to offer. While the other commiserated with Jesus and asked for transformation. Jung shared that these two men represented the opposing sides of our own souls. We fight the entry of light into our lives, yet we yearn for its freedom. We seek distractions when pain or discomfort arises; we shy away from our ugly sides. But suppose we allow ourselves to enter into our pain and face it head-on, accepting that we are imperfect or sinners. Could we see that our wicked sides have served us? Could we see how it was helping us fulfill our needs or tend to a wound we might have been carrying since childhood? Might we find freedom or salvation? Our actions align with our values and what we perceive we need or are missing from our lives. The more we fight our dark sides, the more it will show up in our lives and our actions, giving us the balance we need. But stepping into the darkness and learning to accept all parts of us is the relief of suffering that can bring personal freedom and enlightenment. 

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