The Dark Side of the Light Chasers: Reclaiming Your Power, Creativity, Brilliance, and Dreams

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Overview

Debbie Ford explains that the dark side of our personality should not be hidden. By denying our dark side, we reject these aspects of our true natures rather than giving ourselves the freedom to live authentically. Here she shows that it is possible to acknowledge and accept our so-called weaknesses, proving that these qualities may be important, hidden strengths. For example, perhaps some 'selfishness' can save us from exhaustion and resentment. Full of illuminating stories and practical exercises, Debbie Ford ...

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Overview

Debbie Ford explains that the dark side of our personality should not be hidden. By denying our dark side, we reject these aspects of our true natures rather than giving ourselves the freedom to live authentically. Here she shows that it is possible to acknowledge and accept our so-called weaknesses, proving that these qualities may be important, hidden strengths. For example, perhaps some 'selfishness' can save us from exhaustion and resentment. Full of illuminating stories and practical exercises, Debbie Ford shows us how to reconcile our darker impulses and find the gifts they offer. Your life will be transformed when you unconceal, own, and embrace your shadow.

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Editorial Reviews

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Rather than learning from our past mistakes, many of us repeat them, falling into never-ending emotional and behavioral patterns. Debbie Ford can help break the cycle. In her enlightening book The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, Ford demonstrates that our "dark sides" hold us back. Qualities ranging from selfishness and arrogance to laziness and rudeness have a tremendous hold on all of us and prevent meaningful personal growth, but Ford explains how we can recognize these qualities within ourselves and then move past them. A favorite of Oprah Winfrey's, this book is life-changing.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Everyone possesses the entire range of human traits and emotions"the saintly and the cynical, the divine and the diabolical, the courageous and the cowardly"contends Ford, a faculty member of California's Chopra Center for Well-Being. The problem, as Ford (and Freud) define it, is that in growing up, people suppress those behaviors, thoughts, feelings and characteristics that are unacceptable within their particular environments. But rather than daily sessions on the couch, Ford advocates re-imagining and reclaiming lost aspects of self, urging readers to "unconceal" and embrace those traits buried in their "shadow," in order to find their "gift." She offers exercises designed to bring such traits to the surface, including directed self-questioning; listing one's characteristics for closer examination of positives and negatives; and "discharging toxic emotions" physically. Her advice is often drawn from anecdotes of experiences with friends and in workshops that she has taught or attended, and from her own struggles with various aspects of her personality. What some will see as disarming simple methodology may seem shallow to those with a more analytical bent. But even those not looking for the "Resistant Rita," "Lovegirl Laurie," "My-way Marvin" or "Competent Ken" locked inside them may find him or her in spite of themselves.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401939915
  • Publisher: Hay House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/16/2012
  • Format: CD
  • Pages: 8
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Debbie Ford, #1 New York Times best-selling author, educator, founder of The Ford Institute for Transformational Training, and Executive Producer of The Shadow Effect, a cutting-edge transformational DVD, is an internationally recognized expert in the field of personal transformation. A pioneering force in incorporating the study and integration of the shadow into modern psychological and spiritual practices, Debbie has appeared on Oprah, Good Morning America, and is the featured expert on the forthcoming ABC TV show, The Ex-Wives Club. Debbie's eight groundbreaking books, including The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, Spiritual Divorce, and The Best Year of Your Life, have sold over 1 million copies, are translated into 32 languages, and are used in institutions of learning worldwide. For more information, visit debbieford.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: World Without, World Within

Most of us set out on the path to personal growth because at some point the burden of our pain becomes too much to bear. The Dark Side of the Light Chasers is about unmasking that aspect of ourselves which destroys our relationships, kills our spirit, and keeps us from fulfilling our dreams. It is what the psychologist Carl Jung called the shadow. It contains all the parts of ourselves that we have tried to hide or deny. It contains those dark aspects that we believe are not acceptable to our family, friends, and most importantly, ourselves. The dark side is stuffed deeply within our consciousness, hidden from ourselves and others. The message we get from this hidden place is simple: there is something wrong with me. I'm not okay. I'm not lovable. I'm not deserving. I'm not worthy.

Many of us believe these messages. We believe that if we look closely enough at what lies deep within us, we will find something horrible. We resist looking long and hard for fear of discovering someone we can't live with. We fear ourselves. We fear every thought and feeling we have ever repressed. Many of us are so disconnected from this fear we can only see it by reflection. We project it onto the world, onto our families and friends, and onto strangers. Our fear is so deep that the only way we can deal with it is either to hide or deny it. We become great imposters who fool ourselves and others. We become so good at this we actually forget that we are wearing masks to hide our authentic selves. We believe we are the persons we see in the mirror. We believe we are our bodies and our minds. Even after years of failed relationships, careers, diets,and dreams, we continue to suppress these disturbing internal messages. We tell ourselves we're okay and that things will get better. We put blinders over our eyes and plugs in our ears to keep the internal stories we create alive. I'm not okay. I'm not lovable. I'm not deserving. I'm not worthy.

Instead of trying to suppress our shadows, we need to unconceal, own and embrace the very things we are most afraid of facing. By "own," I mean acknowledge that a quality belongs to you. "It is the shadow that holds the clues," says the spiritual teacher and author Lazaris. "The shadow also holds the secret of change, change that can affect you on a cellular level, change that can affect your very DNA." Our shadows hold the essence of who we are. They hold our most treasured gifts. By facing these aspects of ourselves, we become free to experience our glorious totality: the good and the bad, the dark and the light. It is by embracing all of who we are that we earn the freedom to choose what we do in this world. As long as we keep hiding, masquerading, and projecting what is inside us, we have no freedom to be and no freedom to choose.

Our shadows exist to teach us, guide us, and give us the blessing of our entire selves. They are resources for us to expose and explore. The feelings that we have suppressed are desperate to be integrated into ourselves. They are only harmful when they are repressed: then they can pop up at the least opportune times. Their sneak attacks will handicap you in the areas of your life that mean the most.

Your life will be transformed when you make peace with your shadow. The caterpillar will become a breathtakingly beautiful butterfly. You will no longer have to pretend to be someone you're not. You will no longer have to prove you're good enough. When you embrace your shadow you will no longer have to live in fear. Find the gifts of your shadow and you will finally revel in all the glory of your true self. Then you will have the freedom to create the life you have always desired.

Every human being is born with a healthy emotional system. We love and accept ourselves when we are born. We don't make judgments about which parts of ourselves are good and which parts are bad. We dwell in the fullness of our being, living in the moment, and expressing ourselves freely. As we grow older, we begin to learn from the people around us. They tell us how to act, when to eat, when to sleep, and we begin to make distinctions. We learn which behaviors bring us acceptance and which bring us rejection. We learn if we get a prompt response or if our cries go unanswered. We learn to trust the people around us or to fear the people around us. We learn consistency or inconsistency. We learn which qualities are acceptable in our environment and which are not. All of this distracts us from living in the moment and keeps us from expressing ourselves freely.

We need to revisit the experience of our innocence that allows us to accept all of who we are at every moment. This is where we need to be in order to have a healthy, happy, complete human existence. This is the path. In Neale Donald Walsch's book Conversations with God, God says:

Perfect love is to feeling what perfect white is to color. Many think that white is the absence of color. It is not. It is the inclusion of all color. White is every other color that exists combined. So, too, is love not the absence of emotion (hatred, anger, lust, jealousy, covertness), but the summation of all feeling? It is the sum total. The aggregate amount. The everything.

Love is inclusive: it accepts the full range of human emotion-the emotions we hide, the emotions we fear. Jung once said, "I'd rather be whole than good." How many of us have sold ourselves out in order to be good, to be liked, to be accepted?

Most of us were raised to believe that people have good qualities and bad qualities. And in order to be accepted we had to get rid of our bad qualities, or at least hide them. This way of thinking happens when we begin to individuate, as we distinguish our fingers from the slats of our crib, and distinguish ourselves from our parents. But as we get older we realize an even greater truth-that spiritually we are all interconnected. We are all part of each other. From this point of view we need to ask whether there really are good parts and bad parts of us. Or are all parts necessary to make a whole? Because how can we know good without knowing bad? How can we know love without knowing hate? How can we know courage without knowing fear?

This holographic model of the universe provides us with a revolutionary view of the connection between the inner and the outer world. According to this theory, every piece of the universe, no matter how we slice it, contains the intelligence of the whole. We, as individual beings, are not isolated and random. Each of us is a microcosm that reflects and contains the macrocosm. "If this is true," says consciousness researcher Stanislav Grof, "then we each hold the potential for having direct and immediate experiential access to virtually every aspect of the universe, extending our capacities well beyond the reach of our senses." We all contain the imprint of the entire universe within ourselves. As Deepak Chopra puts it, "We are not in the world, but the world is within us." Each of us possess every existing human quality. There is nothing we can see or conceive that we are not, and the purpose of our journey is to restore ourselves to this wholeness...

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  • Posted August 15, 2011

    This Helped Me Through My Darkest Time!

    This book is a must-read for those who are spiritual and even possibly depressed. I first read this in high school while dealing with SO much teenage angst, and it was the first text that I read Psychology or Self-Help based, which actually helped me out. To this day, I buy and send this book to my spiritual friends who may need some guidance about direction. I just recently purchased this book again to re-read it since it had such a fantastic impact on showing me that life was okay and I could make it. While it may not have been Debbie Ford's goal to assist people who are depressed, she definitely helped me - and I highly recommend this book to all who are maybe looking for some direction.

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