We often label ourselves and the people around us in black and white terms – as either “good” or “bad.” We typically think of ourselves as mostly “good” people, although we might occasionally make some mistakes, while those who exhibit behavior we don’t agree with are assigned the “bad” label. In reality, we all have both positive and negative tendencies within us. This duality is a necessary part of our lives that gives us the power of free will.
When we recognize the negative sides of ourselves, it can feel discouraging or depressing. But the wisdom of Kabbalah teaches that the purpose of our spiritual work is to discover and transform that negativity as a means to a happier, more fulfilled life.
Here are 3 ways to transform your negativity:
1. Avoid comparing yourself to others.
When we compare ourselves to others, we stop seeing ourselves clearly. On the one hand, we may think we have better character than someone else, so we judge their actions or look down on them. This blinds us to our own negativity. On the other hand, we can sometimes feel like we fail to measure up to other people’s standards and end up judging ourselves too harshly.
There is a delicate balance of positivity and negativity within each of us. We are all capable of tipping the scales in either direction, no matter how spiritual we are. This should inspire us to choose our words and actions more carefully and to understand that, when others fall, it’s not because they are bad people. We all have the potential to do something negative, no matter how spiritual we are. The flipside to this is that, even after having done the worst thing in the world, in the next second, we can become the most elevated people in the world.
Compare yourself only with who you are today and who you have yet to become. Know that you are capable of great Light or darkness at any moment, no matter how spiritual you are.
2. Get excited about seeing your negativity – it means you are on the right path.
We often think that being spiritual means we don’t have much negativity inside. Spiritual people will see something ugly about themselves and think they’ve fallen. They may try to hide it, deny it, or avoid it altogether. In truth, the more spiritual you become, the more clearly you start to see your negativity. The greatest indication that you are on a spiritual path is that you are finding more and more of yourself that needs to be transformed.
If you aren’t finding aspects of yourself that you need to work on, it means you aren’t digging deep enough. Our negativity is always there, but only when we are dedicated to our personal growth can we see it.
Get excited when you see something you didn’t before that warrants attention and change. Don’t get scared of your darkness. Don’t run from it and cover it up. Realize that your blinders are off, and you can now see yourself more clearly. The discovery of negativity within is a very positive realization. It is the fuel that will drive your growth and your blessings.
3. Find positive ways to use your negative traits.
It is both possible and necessary for us to utilize our negative traits for goodness. Your flaws hold your greatest Light and potential. Your darkness is where the exciting part of life is, the real blessings. The purpose of our lives is to go to the dark places and elevate the sparks of Light that exist there – that is what fuels our blessings, growth, and happiness. It is not about destroying the parts of ourselves that are negative but about transforming them into something positive.
It’s not our work to always be good or eradicate our worst qualities, but to find the deeply buried parts of ourselves and reveal the Light that is within them. Our darkness is the place where our blessings are hidden. It’s like buried treasure.
Take the time every day to transform the things you think are the worst things about you. For instance, if you are overly competitive and tend to compare yourself to others, work on being competitive with yourself and comparing yourself with who you want to become. Take all of the things that seem like negative characteristics, turn them inward, and use them for something powerful and motivating.
Every day is an internal battle between positive and negative forces. All of us have darkness and Light within us. Our choice is: which will we feed? Our actions, words, and environment all push us towards positivity or negativity. It is a balance that requires constant introspection and spiritual work. It is not about embracing our Light and hiding our darkness but rather finding the darkest parts of ourselves, facing them, and working to transform them.