DAILY GURU READS: The Dark Side of The Light Chasers
“Your life will be transformed when you make peace with your shadow.”
— Debbie Ford
There may be no better feeling than reading a book or article that truly changes your perspective about yourself and your world.
Debbie Ford’s The Dark Side of The Light Chasers is one of those books.
If you’re feeling stuck, unfulfilled, envious or angry at a certain aspect in other people, this book is a must read.
Debbie Ford specialised in a technique known as ‘shadow work’ — a term and theory originally devised by Carl Jung. In this book, Ford explores what our shadow is and how it plays a role in our sense of peace, our level of confidence, our relationships and even the impact we make on the world.
We all have aspects of ourselves we aren’t particularly fond of. Maybe we are always late or we feel like we are lazy. Maybe we are overweight, angry or feel unattractive. For some of us, the traits we deny would traditionally be called positive attributes. For example, we may deny our confidence because we interpret it as showy, or suppress our assertiveness because we view it as acting angrily. Somewhere during our lives we learned that these traits were undesirable, so we do our best to hide them.
The theory behind shadow work is that each of us has within us all of the traits available on the human spectrum. We have those traits we don’t like, but we also possess their opposites. Whenever we deny any aspect of ourself through judgement, we deny a part of ourselves. We limit what we are capable of, and as a result, we feel unfulfilled, misunderstood and angry.
The Dark Side of The Light Chasers is a guide to embracing those aspects of ourselves that we repress. It’s about finding the gifts within those characteristics we want to hide and learning to stop judging ourselves so harshly. When we uncover and accept all of who we are, we are capable of becoming all that we can be. We can put our best self forward and know that even when we fall down, we are OK, lovable and worthy.
What is wonderful about this book is that it isn’t just a text book. It is filled with examples that make the points clear and also practical exercises that help you through the process yourself. It shows how to discover your shadow, how the world mirrors back to us what we try to hide, how to find the unique gifts each of these traits offer us personally and how to reinterpret the experiences that lead to us forming beliefs that a certain aspect of our self was unacceptable. There are many guided visualisation practices and it can be handy to read and record them as a voice memo so that you can practice them without having to reference the book.
The work in this book is eye opening and powerful. As I read and explored it, I found myself becoming far gentler with myself. I also saw more ease develop in my relationships. I began to own traits on both sides of the spectrum and it changed the way I looked at myself and what I believed was possible. I’m planning to read it again to dive even deeper.
Below is a simple exercise that can help you to see where your shadow could be holding you back:
Bring to mind one person you admire deeply and would love to emulate.
What is the primary trait that you see in this person and respect?
Chances are that this trait is laying dormant within you and your admiration for this person is serving as a guide for you to embrace that talent within yourself.
Going back over your life, where and how have you embodied this characteristic yourself?
Recognising that it is within you, what is one way you can draw on this trait now to bring more fulfillment to your life or to help you to get to where you want to be?
The Dark Side of The Light Chasers is an easy read and a valuable one. I highly recommend it.
Quotations from The Dark Side Of The Light Chasers. All quotes by Debbie Ford.
“Challenge the person you think you are in order to unveil the person you are capable of becoming.”
“Shift your interpretation of a word, and not only will it lose it’s negative charge, it will return your own power to you.”
“When you deny a single aspect of yourself, you’re denying a part of what you need to be whole.”
“We are so fearful of being rejected that we sell out our most precious gifts to fit in.”
“Once we receive the benefits of our traits we are free to choose the experiences we desire.”
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Thanks for reading
Kate is a passionate writer (and reader!) with a love for personal development. As a personal carer, coach and certified EFT practitioner, she loves helping those around her explore what's possible, break through limitations and grow their belief in themselves.