January’s issue of Yoga Journal had an article that really struck a chord with me. I can’t find it online, so I’ll do my best to describe it.
I’m 26 years old and I’m fully aware that, at times, I can act like a child. I have emotions that I’ve repressed since childhood because, for whatever reasons, I, along with every other person on the planet, learned these feelings shouldn’t be felt.
For example, if a child doodles in class instead of taking notes, she’ll be reprimanded for it. If she’s hyperactive, her parents tell her to sit down and shut up instead if enrolling her in soccer. She’ll learn to mute that part of herself, pushing it deeper and deeper into her subconscience. When it exposes itself in adulthood, we have primitive, childlike reactions to it because it hasn’t been marinating in self-awareness. That emotion is part of a “shadow.”
Dexter fans will recognize that uncontrollable feeling referred to as a “Dark Passenger.” It’s always with us, showing up at inconvenient times and keeping us from fully living our lives. Most often, it’s triggered by other people. When we lash out at others, we’re recognizing that repressed emotion in their behavior. Think of a co-worker you can’t stand or a family member who gets on your nerves. What is it about them that you hate?
The most common example is fighting with your significant other. Simply, you think he’s going to cheat on you. More likely, there’s some kind of rift in your relationship that makes you think you’re capable of cheating on him, heightening your insecurity. A less drastic example is getting angry your boyfriend (or girlfriend) has no direction in life. You’re probably just scared that you might be falling short of your own dreams and don’t realize he’s merely a reflection of your own fears.
Is your mom truly being unreasonable?
Is your sister-in-law actually selfish?
Does Rick Santorum seriously hate gay people, porn, and women that much?
The next time you get angry with someone, write them a letter telling them why. Then, turn the letter’s narrative to first person, replacing “you” with “I.” Read it to yourself in front of a mirror, and you’ll bring your dark passenger to light. Maybe you can even mend a broken or struggling relationship.