The Dark Side of Us

There’s a legend about the dark side in every person:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

“The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

An interesting INSEAD Business School blog talks about how people focus on their Dr. Jekyll and not only ignore the negative Mr. Hyde inside of them, but even project those traits onto others.

We need to engage in a process that acknowledges and accepts both our socially acceptable part and the shadow side. Denial and projecting reinforces the problem. It’s like taking the potion and wondering why Hyde becomes stronger and increasingly powerful.

That being said, you may not be able to do it on your own and might reach out to your lifelines for help. Author Michael Jarrett suggests: “These issues can be resolved but first need to be acknowledged, or else they can continue to unconsciously operate in ways that are detrimental to leaders’ self-efficacy, their teams, and their organizations…what makes the difference is the ability to mobilize internal regulation with the aid of a skillful helper.”

Do you believe that there are people in your life that can help you acknowledge and control your bad behavior? Please share!

Ritu Walia is an FG Analyst.

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