Debbie Ford, who authored several books in the self-help genre, has died of complications from cancer. She was 57 years old.
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. The very impulses we most fear may be the key to what is lacking in our lives.
Ford wrote eight more books and was reportedly working on a tenth at the time of her passing, but there has been no word yet on whether it was close to being finished. Because she made it her life’s work to help people, her fans thought it extremely important that she was so open with them about her own past, which included drug abuse and a divorce.
“From the time she was a little girl, Debbie was one of those people who had a strong mind of her own, and did things on her own terms and that is how she lived,” her sister Arielle said. “And she was always so funny! Even up to the end, she had us laughing. She leaves us with such an impressive body of work. We know that her contributions will live on through the millions of people she has touched with her books and teachings, and the thousands she has trained in her work.”