Creativity can help transform a “negative” into a worthwhile advantage. The pandemic is a solid time to consider our self-concept and the way we’d like to be treated by others. How many of us know frequent boundary-busters? Or those who start unnecessary arguments via text? Or aren’t respecting our safety measures for COVID19? We all know these types but we aren’t often certain of the best way to handle these situations while maintaining our cool.
There’s a reason film audiences love charismatic villains. They intrigue, intimidate, and thrill us, because they do and say things we feel we’d never get away with in our life. Villains are often single-minded, able to beat competitors and silence naysayers. Who wouldn’t want that? Who doesn’t bristle at self-comparisons or insensitive attitudes? Our shadow sides become triggered through sensitivities built up over time. When triggered, we aren’t thinking or processing clearly, or operating at our most creative.
A shadow side refers to those parts our conscious mind does not identify with or acknowledge. We feel these traits are not accepted by others: anger, impatience, ambition, and dominance, among others. We push them away and deny their existence. Those who’d be most described as peaceful or passive may actually repress the most dominance, and do so because they’ve been conditioned to feel these traits are non-desirable. These people are often pushed around when in reality, they should be the least likely candidate for this treatment. When used with tact and consideration, the aspects of ourselves we usually push away can actually increase our personal productivity and respect shown within personal relationships.
- Target problems and irritation factors.
Analyze which issues/people are getting under your skin and why. What about this issue is bothering you? Remember- life isn’t only about what happens to us but how we THINK about what happens to us. You’d be surprised by how much our own arsenal of not-so-great qualities can bother us when exhibited by someone else. If it is, consider how best to deal with yourself in this situation and you may have found a great way to deal with the offensive party.
- Consider how you react and respond to upsetting situations. Do you back down from problems? Overapologize? Deny and push it away? Allow people to break boundaries? If this affects work productivity, keeps you from expressing ideas, or makes you feel intimidated by certain people, it’s time to get your shadow self working FOR you.
- Prepare in advance.
If you avoid conflict because you know you go from zero to 100 in no time, practice certain situations ahead of time. Consider various triggers and your reactive tendencies. Imagine the situation happening—feel your heart race and practice speaking slowly, passionately, and calmly. The more in control you are, the more productive your anger becomes. Consider your favorite villain. Does Darth Vader yell? Did Steve Jobs worry about seeming “ambitious” or did he just continue creating his vision? If you find yourself easily rattled by what someone may say, practice working through various options. Check in with your favorite villains. You may not want to be them but they’re proof that utilizing our shadow sides can help us become our most productive selves at work, amongst friends, and at any point within the pandemic and the beyond.