There's lots we hear these days about being positives, identifying our strengths and developing the things we are good at. This helps us to be hopeful, to aim higher and feel better. Research is reported on a daily basis that supports the benefits of understanding ourselves in this way and actively doing things that will promote our strengths and having a strengths focused way to live our day to day lives. This all sounds very positive and exciting.
Operating from a strengths base doesn't mean we shouldn't face the negatives in our lives though. We all have aspects of our lives that we regret, things we miss, things we wish we had done differently, things we haven't been able to do anything about. The list goes on. So how is it possible that we face these shadows in our lives while still focusing on our strengths? It's pretty simple really. Even when the shadows are present we can still look for the positives, the light that shines through. By not hiding in the shadows or pretending the shadows are not there perhaps we can even notice the light, use the light to drive our thinking, to give us hope for the future.
Facing our shadows can help us appreciate the positives, the light in our lives. We may otherwise take the positives for granted, expect that things will always be positive and that our lives are pre-determined, pre-set and effectively beyond our control. Facing our shadows can mean identifying the things that haven't worked as well as we would like, actively work our way through what could have been done differently or what we have learned about ourselves and others through the process.
In a slightly ironic twist, facing our shadows actually requires us to draw on our strengths. It requires us to draw upon our capacity to face difficult things, to recognise times when things did not go so well and to be able to harness the energy that comes from this to rebuild or regenerate for the future. That's not always easy and sometimes we can really benefit from some support from friends or family, or even professionals, to help ourselves through that journey. It can take a long time.
So managing the shadows and light in our lives will probably be what gives us real balance, that sense of genuineness, that ability to grow and continue to develop in our humanity. To become the best person we can be.