Can you honestly make the following statements?:
I am living my life to the fullest.
The circumstances of my life are not causing me to live life differently than I want to.
I am truly satisfied with my life.
If you can agree with each of the statements, without reservation, then you are well on your way toward self actualization. However, if you felt a twinge when considering any of these, then you just might be discovering the barrier(s) in your life to
achieving personal happiness.
Fear of Our Dark Side
One of the greatest barriers to self-knowledge is fear. Most of us aren't consciously aware of it, but we all have a "dark side," a part of our psyche that we are not proud of, that does not meet the standards that we have set for ourselves
in life. Our natural tendency is to suppress this animal within us, to ignore it. Society and religion often reinforce this tendency. Unfortunately, we also harbor a deep seated fear that this dark side will pop up at the most inopportune times, shattering our carefully crafted reputation. We
are afraid of this aspect of ourselves, whether we admit it or not. So we become adept at suppressing it.
You might say that "the road to Heaven leads through downtown Hell." On a personal journey towards self-knowledge, you must be prepared to become intimate with all aspects of yourself, including your dark side. This does not mean that you
must surrender control to this person. It does mean that you must have the confidence to release the suppression, and face what comes forth.
You are at your best when your personality incorporates both your good and bad sides in a healthy, functional way. You must jettison aspects of your personality that have been adopted for "politically correct" reasons, and dare to be exactly
who you are. Despite the short-term disadvantages of taking this action, you must have faith that by releasing the whole person, you can achieve your highest potential in life. You must not fear who you are. You must simply be that person, while ensuring that you take charge of
your more animalistic qualities, funneling those energies towards productive ends. You may also discover that you cannot realize your creative possibilities until you fully experience your dark side, for therein lies your greatest expressive talent. It is in your unchecked emotions that your
great artist lives.