The greatest gift Print E-mail
News - Final Word
Monday, 12 December 2016 15:24
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We’re entering the ultimate season of gift-giving and I’ve been wondering what the greatest gift is anyone can give someone else. Of course you know that I’m not talking about things that come with price tags. My thinking on this is that the ideal gift is something nobody could ever give you. It is something only you can give yourself.

The origin of this gift is rather surprising, though. It comes from your shadow. Your dark twin, alter ego, id, repressed or lower self. The one you hide from yourself. The person you’d rather not be, as Carl Jung said.

When we receive the gifts of our dark side, the parts of us we once believed to be our deepest flaws are revealed as our greatest assets. So says Debbie Ford in ‘The dark side of the light chasers’.

Debbie checked in and out of drug treatment centres throughout her 20s and into her 30s, before becoming a best-selling author, motivational speaker and founder of the Ford Institute for Integrative Coaching. She died from a rare form of sarcoma in 2013 at the age of 57.

In ‘The dark side of the light chasers’ Debbie explains where the shadow comes from. In growing up, we suppress characteristics, behaviours, feelings and thoughts that are unacceptable within our particular environment. We conceal parts of ourselves that don’t fit the personae we have created for the rest of the world. Actually, we do it so well that we’re not hiding it only from others, but also from ourselves.

Come on, girlfriend, I bet you’d be upset if you had to get up on a stage and say: I’m a bitch. How does that feel? I’m a liar, a miser, a big-mouth, coward, putrid blubber; I’m lazy, vengeful, false, offensive, aggressive . . .

Those are the insults we use to describe other people. We project these qualities onto others and forget that it takes one to know one. That which most infuriates you about others is the precise thing you hate in yourself.

We spend huge amounts of energy trying to get rid of unwanted aspects of ourselves because we’re convinced that we are inadequate. But, our most hated, feared or shamed qualities may be the answer to what is lacking in our lives.

You must go into the dark to bring forth your light, writes Debbie. Your greatest gifts are hidden in your shadow. Shadow work is not about perfection; it’s about integration. It is about reclaiming each aspect of yourself and discovering how it can serve you.

For example, if you look for the gift of your weakness, you may find that it has allowed you to be supported by others. The gift of your fear might be your determination to act courageously in setting boundaries.

Transformation needs nothing more than a shift in perception. It is making the choice to look at your life in a way that empowers you instead of disempowering you. According to Debbie all of your so-called faults are assets that have simply been overamplified. “The volume has been turned up a bit too much, that’s all. Just turn down the volume a little.”

Your ‘bitchiness’ might be your assertiveness in overdrive. Your miserliness is probably your good financial sense overamplified. You get my drift? Every quality, every emotion and every experience comes bearing great gifts. It is your job to learn how to uncover these gifts.

You can only do it if you face things exactly as they are, without any delusion or self-deception.

Debbie writes that embracing your shadow allows you to reclaim the power you once gave away.

“When we are at peace within ourselves, our self-esteem no longer depends on the approval of others.”

Your self-worth will no longer be at the mercy of how other people feel about you.

No more pretending to be someone you’re not. No more proving that you are good enough. Jung once said: “I’d rather be whole than good.” How many times have you sold yourself out just to be accepted, to be liked, to be good?

Girlfriend, you don’t even have to answer this question. If you want to know how you truly feel about yourself, all you have to do is look at how the world treats you. If you’re not getting the appreciation and respect you want, it is more than likely that you are not giving it to yourself. The world is simply mirroring your sense of self back to you.

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