Book that Change Lives
Deborah Ford, Hodder & Stoughton, 2001, 1st edition
One of the reasons for a review of this book, is that the author, Debbie Forde, passed away this year and this acted as a catalyst for me to re-read it. Forde was an associate of Deepak Chopra and this book is the basis for most of her niche work in the area of personal growth and transformation based on the insight we gain from acknowledging the “darker” sides of our perceptions about ourselves and our lives.
“The Dark Side of the Light Chasers” is in essence a guidebook to helping people with the people and situations that really push our buttons in life. We can all think of someone straight away. The difficulty of course is that these over-reactions cause stress and tension and adversely affect our ability to self-manage and to engage with a spectrum of personalities. The exceptional incisiveness of this book is that Forde encourages us to see things in a different way, hence the title the “dark” side of the “light” chasers. She emphatically entices the reader to consider what opportunity might lie in the uncomfortableness of being adversely affected by the personalities and behaviours of those that trigger us so. This book could be described as the user’s manual for neutralising strong over reactions to life that limit our potential.
From a coaching perspective this is very much akin to working in the area of values, boundaries, tolerations and meta-states. In particular this book relates to what values we are blind to in ourselves and maybe take exception to in others. This book provides tools, techniques and most importantly encourages a shift in perspective that brings greater self-empowerment. In helping the reader identify the opportunity available in our uncomfortableness with our shadow selves, Forde inspires us to delve into the underbelly of ourselves and recognise helpful and empowering values that might otherwise go un-accessed.
At the heart of the book
At the heart of the book’s content is the philosophy that what we resist in others or indeed in ourselves is values and traits that might just be what we need most to bring optimum balance in our lives. To bring ourselves to a place of whole heartedness Forde advises us to turn these weaknesses into strengths, the best example I remember is the workaholic seeing the positivity in bringing some laziness into his/her mindset to access the forgotten ability to relax.
This book is highly challenging to our mainstream perspectives and evokes courage in the reader to transcend our normal resistance to that which we are most at dis-ease with.
From a coaching perspective I believe this book provides tools for both coach and coachee. For the coach, it would most definitely help neutralise any triggers to difficult clients and help the coach see the light in the perceived dark of the traits of the client or the resistance to them. For the coachee this is a book I would favour delivering to a particularly over-reactive client or one who is easily triggered by particular traits and characteristics in other people. It is probably also a recommended read for clients who have experienced substantial self growth with their more conscious selves and provides them with the opportunity to address the self limits that exist at the behest of the subconscious or unconscious level. The book could also be a valuable tool in the area of Conflict Coaching.
This book also provides an invaluable insight to accepting the less liked aspects of our personalities. Forde is remonstrative in this regard and the subject matter in this book was her niche area of work for many years. This book is a vital support in developing greater emotional balance and self-acceptance, transcending our fears, insecurities and uncertainties about ourselves. It provides a way to reclaim our wholeness, and to eliminate unnecessary suffering in the living of our lives, thereby allowing us to focus our energies on making ourselves happy and successful.
A little unconventional as a tool for self transformation, and somewhat similar in vein to the works of Byron Katie, nevertheless, I have found this book to be one of the most catalytic reads for deepening self-awareness. In particular, this applies to the least favourable areas of ones personalities or the uncomfortable values in life. In being brave to face these matters and using the power of the techniques in this book, I believe that this read really does direct the reader to discovering the silver lining in the clouds of our darker sides. A powerful and challenging read that really presents potential for seismic personal growth and self-acceptance. I have personally applied the teachings of this book to phenomenal benefit in my own self growth and it has helped me deal with the most difficult characters in my life and most uncomfortable characteristics in myself.
This book is a learning platform, recommended for the most bold and courageous who want to take change and self growth to the more difficult and challenging levels. The promise of self-realisation and expansion of consciousness and compassion is one that serves as the ultimate motivation for those who are willing to make the leap.
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