The Dark Side of the Light Chasers is an amazing insight into shadow work and the missing link to self acceptance, self healing, and acceptance of others.
Shadow work is completely opposite to logic and yet at the same time, as you put the pieces together, it makes amazing sense.
One of the transitions we make from childhood to adulthood is the realization that humans are imperfect and that it is part and parcel of being spiritual beings living in a physical body and having a physical experience on earth. As children, we tend to see the world in black and white, and everyone around us as being perfect. As we grow up, we realize that human nature is full of imperfections, abundant with opportunities for choice, growth, and transformation. And thus as adults, we encounter a new paradigm of learning to accept others for their faults and weaknesses.
Along the way we make the corresponding realization that accepting others is genuinely not attainable without first accepting ourselves, our own misgivings, and the identity of who we are. It is the process of “to not be overly hard on ourselves”, “be kind and forgive ourselves” and to never “judge ourselves so harshly” we get stuck and are unable to let go.
So we begin to make more concerted efforts to start accepting ourselves much more than in the past. To love ourselves unconditionally. We have the affirmations and the mantras. We remind ourselves whenever we find ourselves lapsing into self judgement gleaned from our old ways. Yet something seems to be missing and this self-acceptance is an uphill battle that just seems so out of reach.
As children, we are chiefly taught the importance of striving to be “good” — good behaviour is often reinforced and rewarded while “bad” behaviour is punished (to put it simplistically). It is especially in childhood that we are most vulnerable to being exposed to messages from authority figures that there are qualities and character traits which are labelled with a “negative” connotation.
We are made to feel that we should never have had those qualities in the first place.
It is often in childhood that we learn this sense of shame about what we are told to be “negative” and unacceptable traits of our character and personality. It is where we learn that if we continue to display such traits, we will be rejected by others.
It is thus highly likely that childhood is the space where we make unconscious decisions to never allow ourselves to be “bad” — never to allow ourselves the opportunity to be a certain way…we reject it unconsciously, put it away in our subconscious, and refuse anymore to acknowledge that this is a part of who we are.
We graduate into adulthood unaware that all this self-“programming” has taken place.
We tell ourselves we are “good” people…we could never possibly have “negative” traits.
Perhaps you know someone who is a giving person for example..someone who always puts others first. Never in your wildest dreams would you ever associate them to be selfish, self-centred, and focussed on themselves. It simply defies logic.
You may observe someone else to be always calm, kind, and patient. You’d never associate them with being impatient, anxious, and totally in a tizzy.
You may apply this to yourself and what you know yourself to be. What you pride yourself on being – you could never be the opposite. It’s impossible.
And yet, in this book The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford, you open up to more than the possibility that as a human being on earth on a journey, the character traits you do not associate with yourself are exactly the character traits you have and that you have somehow hidden from yourself…and that acknowledging our so-called “negative” traits and weaknesses and emotions is key to reclaiming our wholeness again and subsequently opening the door to genuinely embracing and accepting ourselves once again.
The Dark Side of the Light Chasers is thus the missing key to bridging the journey to genuine self-acceptance. It is an enlightening guide into understanding our dark sides, our shadow sides….which is basically not so much the evil we tend to associate with….(that’s more a black and white concept) but weaknesses we were made to feel ashamed of and completely disassociated.
If a parent constantly made you feel ashamed about “you’re just so lazy” as a child, as that child, it is likely that you will go through great lengths to show you aren’t lazy (and therefore worthy of others’ acceptance). You deny the opportunity to be laid back or relaxed. Nothing but dogged hard work will do in your value system and there is no flexibility that it could be the opposite.
Unconsciously, you may become a parent who imposes this and other values onto your children…without giving them the leeway for balance. Nothing but consistent labour is permissible. In fact what you have gone and done is to reject the idea of working at a leisurely pace or even taking a rest.
The reason it is vitally important to understand the above concept is because as children, we may have unconsciously tried to hide the parts of ourselves we have learned not to accept and think everything is fine. However when we become adults, the game the Universe involves us in is a completely different version.
As adults, the universe is constantly trying to make you aware that you have a shadow self — that is, parts of human nature in you that you have rejected, hidden, or completely refused to embrace . These parts are trying to make themselves known to you through your encounters with people. It is encounters with people who push your buttons and bring out strong emotion in us that reflect to us we have personality traits which we have blocked out from ourselves. If only we knew how to read the signs…
The guidance in this eye-opening and insightful book shows us we can never be whole or reclaim our personal power, brilliance, and creativity without acknowledging and integrating our “rejected” traits. We can never embrace true self acceptance, love, or even our true potential and life’s purpose if we do not accept both the negative and positive aspects of ourselves.
Debbie Ford goes on to explain that even the dark sides of ourselves may prove to be important strengths in our journey. Embracing and accepting them is the key to healing that which we are ashamed to admit or expose to the world.
Life is constantly reflecting this information to us — but it’s a cryptic code. In a nutshell, you will only be able to see it in another person if that is a quality you have rejected in yourself but that which is still in you.
We need to pay attention to what pushes our buttons. It is not so much feedback for us that the other person is guilty of some fault but feedback for us that the exact same thing is inside of us. Because we have rejected it, we will attract people who reflect this back at us.
For instance, if you pride yourself on being a humble person and nobody you know would even associate you with being arrogant and full of yourself…if you get offended by someone else’s arrogance (which pushes your buttons), it is feedback from the Universe that you can see it only because you too have the propensity to behave in exactly the same way — arrogant and full of yourself.
The fact that you have hidden this so-called trait will be evidenced by when you find yourself becoming very hostile and defensive if anyone labels you as arrogant. The more it is hidden and rejected, the more you will be offended by that statement. This is a sign that you have rejected and hidden that trait from who you are inside.
The Dark Side of the Light Chasers is an amazing book. I already knew how important this book was for me (and for everyone I feel) even before I had finished page 7. Debbie Ford’s inspiring guidance and illustrations take you step by step into understanding how to be whole again.
Re-embracing our dark sides is not a journey of making you feel worse about yourself. It isn’t about self-judgement or guilt. It is about love…love and accepting you and ALL of you, not just the parts of you which are accepted socially or culturally.
This acknowledgment frees you from the guilt and shame that has caused you to lock up more and more rooms in your mansion…when in reality all rooms are an intrinsic part of the whole house…and only when all the rooms are opened, does the true beauty of the mansion’s interior come out and the inhabitants cease to feel trapped and stuck.
Ultimately it teaches that we are part of each other. What’s in me is in you because we are human. I am all things. You are all things.
You’ll never look at relationships with yourself and with others in quite the same way again. The realization that I could never be like my parents because I dislike them, that I’m not lazy or arrogant but the next person is — all these are literally challenged and you start to view things as never before.
This book is pure Gold. I believe ultimately it will find you when you are ready to do this work…and what important work this is to healing, loving, accepting, connecting, and living the life you were meant to live…as a spiritual being having an earthly experience.
Malti Lalwani is based in Singapore and has a practice called Bliss and Balance. She has been doing Angel Card Readings and Guidance since 2009. She uses the reader as a platform and supports her clients with additional guidance be it advice regarding chakras or using essential oils and manifestation tools. Her wish is to provide her clients with an awareness and a clarity that allows them to move forward. There is no mistake in what needs to be said and heard, courtesy of the Angels. Every time.