Does Halloween bring out your dark & bright sides
Do you have your costume for Halloween yet? Recently, I was amazed to hear a large Canadian chain is refusing to carry clown costumes in this year.
“It might be scaring children unnecessarily,” they reported.
I suppose it might be confusing when the nice friendly clown suddenly shows his nasty, shadowy side on such a fun night as Halloween.
But would that really be a bad thing?
Come to think of it, I don’t know anything in the world that only has a bright side. Even the worst politician can bring their best values to the when prompted. This news clip about the clown costumes made me wonder.
- Why don’t we want children look at the dark side?
- What if by shielding them from conflict we’re actually shielding them from learning how to cope with the shadows?
Imagine! They might be missing opportunities that require them to learn how to be courageous. Because surely as they grow, they will need to know how to bring their courage to the surface. Getting a job, finding love, chasing a fulfilling vocation… If they don’t know how to face darkness, they might turn into timid and inactive adults.
It’s possible I’m making the clown issue larger then it is. But there is a quality to this pattern we need to pay attention to – a truth!
The truth is we cannot see brightness without its shadow.
And we can’t see depth if there is no light in the dark to guide us.
In light we are blinded, and in darkness we have little to orient ourselves.
On Halloween night, about 250 kids come by my street. I see countless parents dressed up to walk along with their kids, simply enjoying looking dangerous, disgusting, monstrous, and having loads of fun.
As a kid did you not dream about being a different character for a night? You explored how it would be to be someone else while walking on the street in your costume. You could be a monster and then turn back into the happy kid you were. Besides a great night to gather a bunch of candy and laugh with your friends, Halloween is also an opportunity to look at our shadowy sides and explore them.
Where in our grown up lives do adults get to do this?
Where can we explore different sides of our personalities so safely?
I believe playful insights are crucial. In these moments we are able to shift our perspective of our inner demons. After a night of pretending to be a monster, perhaps we can feel more at ease about that side of ourselves.
Yes, you can allow your monster to appear sometimes. Those monsters in our heads that tell us we’re not good enough, or that proclaim your vision is impossible to reach, it’s financially not feasible, no one has done this before, you can’t handle the stress… The list is endless.
In the coaching process we call these inner voices saboteurs.
Let me give you some perspective on what that term means. Saboteurs are there to keep us safe in the short run. We learned to listen to them when we were little and unfortunately we still listen to them.
“Don’t cross the street alone” was an important warning to obey as a kid. As an adult, you’re entirely capable of crossing the street on your own.
Still, in your subconscious the line “Don’t go…alone” might linger and influence your actions. It might compromise you as you have to make tough decisions, and it might not allow you to make independent choices needed to be successful.
There are many different schools of thought about saboteurs.
In my coaching experience, I like to take it on a case-by-case basis. Often, I find they can be lead to professional and personal breakthroughs.
Facing the saboteur in a constructive way is relieving, and you might want to start by dressing up this Halloween as your saboteur character. Acknowledge your shadows, and take this weekend to get to know them from a humorous side.
Maybe after you spend some time with your saboteur, or you might be ready to talk to someone you trust. And if no-one is available there are always professionals like me, coaches.
And there hasn’t been one client so far that hasn’t appreciated reframing their understanding of their saboteur during a coaching session. At the end, the coaching enables them to have a better relationship with their own shadow, and no longer be afraid of it ruling their actions.
Understanding your saboteur allows you to be more effective and have more fun.
It might be hard to find a clown costume this year.
And yet, I want to invite you to look at your own clown faces: your happy easy-going clown, and your angry clown. Enjoy your personal shadow as you put the light on it, and turn your monsters into happy fairy tale endings.