By that point, I’d already done a lot of shadow work — taking a look at the things that I’m not proud of about myself or that are socially discouraged — and integrating them back in as a way to be more whole. Debbie Ford’s book, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers is a great resource for that kind of work, in that it’s short and easy to read, but also has specific exercises in it. I’m not saying you need to go do that, but leaving it here in case it speaks to someone.

“Debbie Ford believes that we each hold within us a trace of every human characteristic that exists, the capacity for every human emotion. We are born with the ability to express this entire spectrum of characteristics. But, Ford points out, our families and our society send us strong messages about which ones are good and bad. So when certain impulses arise, we deny them instead of confronting them, giving them a healthy voice, then letting them go.

It is to these feelings that Ford turns our attention, these parts of our selves that don’t fit the personae we have created for the rest of the world. She shows us the effects of living in the dark, of keeping all our supposedly unsavory impulses under wraps. We find ourselves disproportionately frustrated and angry at the selfishness of friends, the laziness of colleagues, the arrogance of siblings. When we are unable to reconcile similar impulses in ourselves, Ford explains, we waste our own energy judging others instead of empathizing. But most important, we deny ourselves the power and freedom of living authentically.

Through the stories and exercises in The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, Debbie Ford shows us not only how to recognize our hidden emotions, but also how to find the gifts they offer us.”

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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