Episode 20: "The Power In Facing your Shadow" with NY Times Best Selling Author, Speaker and Expert Relationship Coach, Debbie Ford
“The Power In Facing your Shadow” with NY Times Best Selling Author, Speaker and Expert Relationship Coach, Debbie Ford
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Alissa Kriteman: Welcome to Just for Women – Dating, Relationships and Sex. I’m your host Allisa Kriteman. This progam is dedicated to bringing you, the most insightful and provocative experts, on the issues that are most important to today’s dynamic women.
Today, on our show, I’m very excited have the incredible Debbie Ford, who’s transformational books, workshops and coaching techniques have changed thousands of lives. On the show today, we will discuss what our shadow is, and the power in facing it; how visualization techniques can be powerful to our growth, why tapping into a higher source is important to us, and how asking the right questions can help live the life of your dreams.
Debbie Ford: You know, the shadow is all the parts of ourselves that we deny, suppress out of shame, out of fear. Call Young, the great Swiss psychologist said that the shadow is a person you’d rather not be.
In every quality that we own about ourselves, comes bearing great gift. That actually it’s a cosmic joke. It’s in what we resist, don’t want to be what we’ve pushed away, that we will have access to some power, some wisdom, some new outer ability, if we would just take back what we’ve disowned.
And most public, just so that you know…, people like me and you, or people on the radio…, are people that can’t be with the ordinary mediocre self.
I’m saying that each of us has every quality that exists on the planet. And it’s only inside our ego-structure that one would believe that we’re not both brilliant and ignorant; that we’re not both, selfish and selfless; that we’re not both mean and kind. It’s only the ego that has that strong judgment. So, I think, that’s a powerful shift that definitely will open us a new realm of dating, at least. If you could write down three qualities, that you have to have in a man, and you have to have in yourself.
Alissa Kriteman: Welcome, Debbie Ford, to Just for Women.
Debbie Ford: Hi! How are you? Thank you for having me.
Alissa Kriteman: Thank you so much. I am great! And I’m going to introduce who you are for our listeners, who are just meeting you for the first time. Debbie Ford is a New York Times best-selling author. She’s an internationally acclaimed workshop leader and trainer, who are committed to the development of human consciousness. She’s best known for her ground-breaking work, known as ‘The Shadow Process’. Debbie’s been featured on ‘Oprah’, ‘Good morning America’, and recently as the expert coach on ABC’s ‘Ex-Wives’s Club’. She’s the founder of the Ford Institute of Integrative Coaching for JFK University, and she hosts a weekly radio program on Hai House Radio.
Debbie, you are definitely one of the foremost women in transformational work on our planet. And I’m so excited to talk to you today. I remember reading ‘Dark Side of the Light Chasers’ 5 years ago, and what I was able to tap into about myself…, the awareness that that book allowed me to have, really changed my life. So, tell us about this shadow side, and how we can learn to embrace it.
Debbie Ford: Oh, I would love to. ‘Cause that is my passion, and I swear that I was born to do that. You know, my sister always said that I get to teach about the shadow, ‘cause I had the biggest shadow in America. I’m not sure that that’s true, specially not anymore. But, you know, the shadow is all the parts of ourselves that we deny, suppress out of shame, out of fear. Carl Jung, the great Swiss psychologist said that the shadow is a person you’d rather not be. So, all the things that we see in the outer world that we judge, are part of our own shadows. Everything that we hate about ourselves, is part of our shadow. It might be that we don’t like that we’re selfish, or that we’re mean, or that we’re irresponsible, or that we’re weak. There’s an array of qualities…, thousands of qualities…, and most of us are living with the illusion that there are good people and there are bad people. And the good people have these good qualities. And the bad people…, well, we don’t want to talk about them and we certainly we don’t want to be one of them. But, the things that I discovered that radically altered my life, and as probably the thing that altered your life, and of millions of other people that have read ‘The Dark Side’, or have been through the Shadow Process or one of my trainings is…, is that in every quality that we try to disown about ourselves, comes bearing great gift. That actually it’s a cosmic joke. It’s in what we resist, don’t want to be what we’ve pushed away, that we will have access to some power, some wisdom, some new outer ability, if we would just take back what we’ve disowned. And you know, we all do it. We all…, growing up…, we see our mothers a particular way. Maybe you had a passive aggressive thought, or you thought, “I don’t want to become like that”, so you become the aggressor. Or you say, you know…, your mother was submissive, and you thought, “I’m not going to be that, you know. I’m going to be powerful and strong.” Or, there’s just…, I mean…, there’s just so many…, and this is what drives our lives, whether we’re aware of it or not…, it’s just unconscious. We just decide, I’m not going to be like that. We try to create this whole outer persona, to hide our flaws and our dark impulses. And really what we’re doing is, we’re cutting ourselves of our…, from our humanity and our power.
Alissa Kriteman: So, you’re saying that some of the ways that we can identify when we’ve hid part of our shadow is maybe our speech…, when we’re complaining, or is it more of a mental thing? How do we really know that we’ve hid a piece of our disowned self?
Debbie Ford: You want to get sick. (LAUGHS)
Alissa Kriteman: (LAUGHS)
Debbie Ford: You want to get sick, or you want to destroy it. See, we’re always, you know…, what do we want to destroy. What do we hate? All we have to do is look at political figures, you know. Whatever side you’re on…, it doesn’t matter! You’ve got your shadow projected on the side that you don’t like. So, you can just look out and to…, one of the exercises that we do in the Shadow Process, Alissa, is that we have people write down the 3 people they dislike the most in the world. And then, identify the three qualities that they see in them. Not the behavior…, like if Hitler was one of them, you wouldn’t say murderer or…, you would ask what kind of person would do those kind of murders; evil, angry, violent. You try to find the quality of the person, and there you find your shadows. You know…, another way, another trick to find your shadow, is to think about what you want…, you’ve got to do this with me Allisa…, is what do you want people to think about you?
Alissa Kriteman: I want people to think that I’m fantastic, and witty and smart, and charming.
Debbie Ford: Okay. So your shadow would be dumb, boring… , (LAUGHS)…,
Alissa Kriteman: (LAUGHS) Oh, no! We’re really doing it!
Debbie Ford: Yeah! And ordinary.
Alissa Kriteman: Yes.
Debbie Ford: And what do you have to become? You become fantastic, and witty and charming. You become all the things in order to hide the shadow. So, nobody’s going to say, “Oh! Look at Alissa! She’s boring!” But, it might be that boring is the exact thing that you need, even though you can’t see it. In order to make a life choice that will take you to your greatest expression. It may not be the one where is seems so charged, so you can give your wit or…, you know. And most public, just so that you know…, people like me and you, or people on the radio…, are people that can’t be with the ordinary mediocre self. And so our challenge, is so that the judgement is …, did you have anybody in your house that wasn’t so bright…, a sister or a brother? Did your brother ever talk about people that we’re smart, or dumb or idiots or
Alissa Kriteman: Well, yeah…, you know, it’s interesting. That was the thing that was sort of, harbored over my head. My…, when my mother was upset, she would say, “You’re stupid!”. And I’ve realized through my work that being dumb, is the one thing that I cannot…, I cannot be with that. So, I’m not surprised with…, yeah.
Debbie Ford: There you go. And I would say, like your challenge, and you would have to come back to your listeners in a month, you know. If you really took on, how can I love my dumb. ‘Cause I’m sure..., have you every done anything dumb?
Alissa Kriteman: Oh, for sure!
Debbie Ford: (LAUGHS) And you know what? Until you embrace it, you’re going to do dumb things, and it will get dumber as you…, I did some really dumb things a couple of years ago. I mean, just completely in a corset is my issue, That’s only, somebody who’s insecure and dumb would write 6 books, and create a training institute in a university and do all the things that I’ve done over the years. But, because I still couldn’t be dumb, I’ve made some really poor choices.
Alissa Kriteman: Wow! I have two questions. How can we…, first of all, how do I love my dumb, ‘cause I’m going to totally take this on. But, how do we know what we’re doing, and that you’ve written 6 books out of a sheer desire to share information, and not as a reaction to not being able to be with the shadow part of ourself? How do you tell?
Debbie Ford: Well, let’s start with that question, and just remind me of the other one. ‘Cause, I’m so dumb, I can’t remember. (LAUGHS) I really can’t. So, we are a reaction to our shadow. So, it’s not trying to not be a reaction. We are, in fact, that’s a gift. If I didn’t feel so completely inept, next to my sister or my brother, you know; because they were so much smarter. They’re IQs are so much larger than mine, I would never be who I am in the world. So, should I have just…, should I shame myself for that or shouldn’t I have written 6 books. No, it’s the very thing was the embracing of it, that allowed me to have the freedom to maybe not do that again. See, after you’re driven by the shadows to deliver a gift, you will, if you don’t embrace it, you’re going to have to…, you know, acting our some bad situation. ‘Cause…, I just want to back up a minute. The outer world is a reflection of our inner world. And our process as spiritual beings, is to love the totality of our humanity. And when I say ‘our humanity’, I’m saying that each of us, has every quality that exists on the planet. And it’s only inside our ego-structure that one would believe that we’re not both brilliant and ignorant; that we’re not both, selfish and selfless; that we’re not both mean and kind. It’s only the ego that has that strong judgment.
So, that’s when we have to realize that as a spiritual being we have to come to return…, we have to all come to that highest expression. And the highest eyes…, spiritual eyes…, which are eyes of compassion, which are eyes of non-judgment. So, we must, must, must understand that we are everything. And then that would bring us to…, okay when we realize that we have this judgment…, for you it’s on ‘dumb’…, you know, to really see that this part of you…, you found it right away. Your mother used to say, “That’s stupid!” So, what did you do? It’s apparent that you’re supposed to love us, unconditionally. And then when they call us a name in rage or in anger, which every parent does either way. So, it’s not just your bad mother, every parent does. Then we reject that part. But really what we’re doing is, we’re rejecting us…, you’ve rejected…, just look and see if you can see, how old is that dumb little girl inside of you…, the part that feels dumb; how old is she?
Alissa Kriteman: Well, she’s right here. So, she’s been with me that entire time.
Debbie Ford: Right, but if you look at that part like, ‘what is her emotional age right now?’
Alissa Kriteman: Well, she’s probably about 4.
Debbie Ford: Like 4. Well, let me just ask you something. If you had a little 4-year old daughter, and somebody called her ‘dumb’ or ‘stupid’ at school, would you say, “Okay, let’s go hide the dumb side of you?”
Alissa Kriteman: Right! Well, this is fantastic.
Debbie Ford: What would you say? You’d say, “Honey! We all do dumb things!”
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah.
Debbie Ford: We’re all going to do dumb things. It’s okay to be a little dumb. But you’re brilliant as well. It’s about becoming neutral and understanding both…
My son, Bo…, I always talk about him. He’s 12 now, but he when he was in school when he was about 5 or 6. Somebody called him stupid. Now…, a trained mother, what would I say? I’d say, “You’re not stupid…, blah, blah, blah.” I said, “Okay. So, what’s wrong with that?” And he just looked at me, ‘cause he’s already been socialized. And I said, “Bo! Do you want to hear about all the stupid things that mommy did?” You know? So, he said, okay, so I’m stupid. And so I made a whole list of things that I had done, in that year that I thought were really stupid. And, I’m like, “Now, have you done anything stupid?” And he told me like how he had left his game-boy somewhere. So, I’m like now we all do stupid things. You know, and that’ okay. Don’t let people…, you know…, those names can only hurt us when we have energy attached; when we’ve made them wrong inside ourselves. And our spiritual lives demand that we take off the judgment, and see, ‘how can I love that wounded 4-year old or that wounded 3-year old, that wounded 7-year old, 12-year old…, 40-year old even?’
Alissa Kriteman: I love it. Instead of negating it, we need to embrace it.
Debbie Ford: Exactly, ‘cause we all have it. And instead…, we as conscious beings have to stop living this illusionary lie of the ego that we only have particular qualities. We have…, if that doesn’t humble you up, just understand that you have every quality on the planet. And the great news about it is that, the more of the dark that you are, the more of your light that you have access to.
Alissa Kriteman: Awesome! You know, we’re going to take a break to support our sponsors, and we’re going to talk more about that and how visualization techniques can really help us…, kind of dismantle this ego and embrace all of our qualities. This is Allisa Kriteman, your host to Just for Women – Dating, Relationships and Sex. I’m talking to Debbie Ford, expert speaker and coach. We’ll be right back.
Allisa Kriteman: Welcome back to Just for Women. I’m your host, Allisa Kriteman. We’re speaking with Debbie Ford, powerful author and expert coach, who has dedicated her life to helping raise the consciousness of the planet.
Before the break, we were talking about the shadow, what it is and how we can embrace all the parts of our self. Now, I want to talk a little bit about these visualization techniques that you use. That book really…, ‘Dark Side of the Light Chaser’…, and at the end of every chapter, you have these exercises. And is that your key, would you say to providing this sort of transformational work in a short amount of time, because it seems like you can really do that in your coaching and in your process work and in your workshops. And in a short amount of time, people can really transform their lives. So, what’s happening there?
Debbie Ford: Well, you know, what I think that people don’t understand is how brilliant our unconscious is…, our psychic is. I mean, brilliant. And if we are willing to go inside ourselves…, see there is information….. You and I can have this conversation about you know, your shadow of dumb, or my shadow of angry. But, if I go inside and go to that part of myself, and find out what that part of me needs, whether it’s the child in me or….
I do a lot of psychosynthesis work, which is as Roberto Assagioli said, “Anything that we are identified with, has power over us. And anything we can dis-indentify with, we will have power over. And the way he did it, was by naming these aspects of ourselves. You know, you could call her Dumb Dora. You know, now it’s not like you have a dumb self. But, you know, it’s like you have this Dumb Dora. So, you could say now, “Oh, Dumb Dora’s here, right?” Or, you know, Nasty Nancy, or Pissed-off Paula or Incompetent Connie and by naming these parts, we can be one step away from them, knowing that…, you know, we have so many aspects of ourselves. So, when we go inside, and we dialogue with these aspects of ourselves, we can say, what I’m going to say is the transformational question. And the transformational question is, “What gift do you hold for me?”
You know, “Why would I need you?” And I can tell you that the qualities that I suffered with, would be being a bitch, being controlling, you know…, being a driven. You know, all these qualities of a powerful strong sense. In the one sense you see it, but in the other it’s kind of like this art type, you know, like “Yuck! I don’t want to be that!”…, you know this hardened woman. But I can tell you know, that I’ve done all this work, and I’d lead my gift into leading seminars and training people to be leaders and coaches, and transforming their lives. And I can tell you, that if I wasn’t so controlling, I would never be able to get people where I get them. It’s a very tough process! You have to be able to put up strong boundaries. When you’re leading people through deep shadow work, and really supporting them, and getting through some issue there’s suffering with for 20 years. You have to be able to be a straight talker, which often gets perceived as being bitchy; by…, really cutting in.
I’ll tell you, I’ll give you an example. I have this guy that comes on one of our cruises…, I do a cruise every year. And at the end of the cruise, somebody who’s leading the cruise, tells me that you know, this guy, I’ll call him Joe, wants to get a girlfriend. And he’s upset, ‘cause he hasn’t met any women on the cruise. I was just taken back Allisa, because to me this guy wasn’t straight. I mean…, to me there wasn’t one straight bone in his body. I mean, I would have loved him, but I would never have thought him to have wanted a woman. I mean, this is a guy who would wear scarves, and you know…, skirts to dinner…, you know. (LAUGHS) And I said to him…, I call him Joe…, “Joe! You can’t be serious, ou know! You are gay! Not that that’s bad. My two best friends are gay.”
Alissa Kriteman: Wild!
Debbie Ford: And he went crazy. He got so angry…, went nuts…, “Debbie, I’m not gay. Not gay! What are you talking? Why would you say that to me?”
And I was like, “Well, if you were not, why would you wear a skirt to dinner? What woman is going to want to go out with a guy with a skirt?”
Alissa Kriteman: Exactly!
Debbie Ford: So, that’s the kind of…, so I had to go with him…, and I struggled with him the whole night…, for 4 hours…, he was so mad at me. And I was shocked! ‘Cause at first I thought he was kind of joking. But then I realized, this was his shadow…, like he couldn’t even see it. He couldn’t see what he kind of had done, to not be a regular man…, that it now made him so…. You know, women…, I can’t even imagine a woman thinking that he would want them. And you know…, so this is what we do. And most of the time, you know, our shadow is tattooed across our forehead. And so we go inside and see…, why would I need this, knowing that there’s no quality that we possess that isn’t imperative. And the things that we hate most are the things that can actually help us. One day could probably really ask powerful questions.
Alissa Kriteman: You know, it’s tricky because the ego is the thing that got formed to protect and save us…, so we think. Until we get to the point that we actually start to see that there’s actually in our lives that we want…, long-term committed relationships, marriage, lovers, careers that will really empower us. And yet, your work is dismantling the obstacles that…, that are actually in the way of having the relationships that we want…, the love that we want…, by those aspects of ourselves that are massively unconscious…, like in the case of that man. Or maybe, not so overtly like that, but in your example, I can really see, how people really can these ways of being to stay safe. And so, I so appreciate the work that you’re doing.
We have to wrap us soon, but I wanted to ask…, how can embracing our shadow side help us in the dating world?
Debbie Ford: Oh, my God! You know, you think about it…, most of us aren’t being ourselves. We go out, we’re looking for a mate. But really, we’re not looking for a mate. We’re looking for somebody who will fill in the qualities that we think we don’t have. And I see it, time and time again. People committed. This is the one thing that I have to have. I have to have a successful person. Well, they’re not being successful in their lives. Or, if one girlfriend is always saying, “He’s hot, he’s hot!” And I’m like.., what if you just embraced your…, that you’re hot, or do what you need to do to feel hotter about yourself, so that you don’t have to find this in a mate. I think so…, that’s a powerful shift that will definitely open up a new realm of dating, at least. If you could write down the 3 qualities that you have to have in a man, and make sure you have it in yourself.
Alissa Kriteman: I love it! I love it!
Debbie Ford: (SINGS) We have to do the work. Yes. We have to.
Alissa Kriteman: Debbie Ford…, thank you so much. Now, to learn more about your workshops and buying your incredible books, we can go to Debbieford.com…., yes?
Debbie Ford: Debbieford.com. And we have all sorts of processes on. There’s prayers, affirmations, e-cards…, we do trainings around the world. We train people in spiritual, to force, and leadership and the essentials coaching model and the shadow process is really…, I mean…, I recommend that everybody do it at least once a year.
Alissa Kriteman: Actually…, and it’s Debbieford…., all one word. Fantastic! One last thing I would like to say to the listeners…, if you’ve got questions, email me at Alissa@personallifemedia.com . I’d love to hear your feedback, comments…, let me know what you’d like to hear on future shows. For texts and transcripts of this show, and other shows on the Personallifemedia network, please visit our website at Personallifemedia.com. Debbie Ford…, thanks so much for being with us today.
Debbie Ford: Thank you for sharing your brilliance with me.
Thank you! I’m your host, Alissa Kriteman…, always expanding your choices as women, here on Just for Women – Dating, Relationships and Sex. We’ll see you next time.
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