Wednesday's guest, Debbie Ford, an expert in the field of personal transformation, discussed the importance of recognizing the darker or "shadow" side to one's persona. "You can't get rid of your darker side," she said. "Your dark side is there, but you can make peace with it and learn how to use your dark side instead of your dark side using you."
Ford said strong emotions such as anger are often suppressed, and then later erupt uncontrollably, in incidents such as road rage. People don't wish to recognize such elements within themselves. "We just have so much judgment, hate and anger at ourselves for being human," she commented.
Gaining mastery and control over the dark side is a three step process Ford outlined. First one determines what it is they dislike about themselves, then they learn to "go to a place of acceptance." Finally, a person discovers the gifts of the dark side, how it can "humble us" and "teach us" what it means to be human.
Me & My Shadow
Debbie Ford offers a transformative workshop called The Shadow Process, which seeks to put her clients in touch with all aspects of themselves. It was the pioneering psychotherapist Carl Jung who labeled the shadow as one of the four archetypes that he believed serve as an unconscious blueprint for our existence. In Jung's view, the shadow "is an expression of the base, antisocial desires of which we are ashamed and attempt to bury in the unconscious: it is the inner terror that we feel might impel us to dark deeds should we ever lose control," writes David Fontana in the The Secret Language of Symbols.
Jung struggled with his own inner shadow and depicted it in his Red Book painting. He personified it "as some cloak-and-dagger figure cowering against the far corner of the walls," writes Laurens van der Post, who added that the placement of the figure indicated that Jung "had this aspect of himself 'cornered' at last."