We all have inner demons. You'd be lying if you said you didn't. The voices that tell us “you’re not good enough,” or “you’re just a failure.” The voices that convince us to look at practicality rather than possibility. The version of you that stops yourself. These demons are also known as many other things - Gremlins, devil on our shoulder, the dark side of (insert your name here). Now...I don't think any one of us will ever defeat our demons...but I do think that we can get them to stop being in our way. Interested? Read on.
As a Creative & Fulfillment Life Coach, part of my job is to support my clients to get out of their own way. One of the many ways I do so is by working with them to identify their demons. From having taken clients through this process and having gone through it myself, I’ve come to realize something very important. Our demons…they’re not bad. More often than not, they're just given birth during bad times and are nothing more than lessons learned from bad experiences. They are lessons learned from abuse. Lessons learned from rejection. Lessons learned from failure.
Let's break this down,,,
Our map of how we view the world is developed at a young age (usually between the ages of 0-7). Basically this means that the foundation of what we assume and believe to be true about the world and ourselves is created during this time. For example, I have a vague childhood memory where I saw my Mom crying. She was sitting on a old swing in our backyard and all I could do was stand there with her while she balled her eyes out. I remember feeling useless, unsure of what to do to make her feel better. Not knowing if there was even anything I could do. I also remember the anger towards the people who made her feel this way and basically demonizing them.
I recently discovered that this is where a big part of my "I'm not good enough" demon came from. "I'm not good enough because I couldn't support my Mom while she was crying. I'm too weak. I'm just Tou Ger and Tou Ger can't do anything."
It's also where a big part of my "I don't want to be Hmong" came from. "I don't want to be ANYTHING like these assholes who made my Mom cry," and the common denominator was that they were Hmong.
Upon discovering this, my first thought was "now I can shut this demon down." I did everything I could to get rid of it. Choosing my essence self instead, telling the voice to shut up whenever it came to my mind, ignoring it, internally arguing with it while trying to fake a smile on the surface, always second guessing whether I was being my demon or being my real self. And...none of it worked.
Through reflection and meditation, I realized that this particular demon...it was just me. My younger self, trapped in that moment, forced to relive it over and over, because no one ever told him that it was okay he couldn't do anything for his Mom. No one ever told him that just standing there by her side was more than enough. No one ever told him that those people who hurt his Mom didn't define the whole community in which they came from. No one ever told him that he didn't have to hate himself just because he genetically belonged to that community. Instead, when I discovered he was there, I attacked him. I made him feel worse than he already felt. Shamed him for having screwed with my life. I confirmed with him that it was right to be angry and resentful, not only towards others but towards himself.
I'd be lying if I said that things immediately got better from having this awareness, because it's still often a battle that goes on in my subconscious mind since it's a muscle that has been there for so long. However, when I'm able to catch my demon criticizing and screwing me over, I forgive it and I teach it new affirmations. When it gets upset or angry, I pay attention and understand it without judgment, teaching it that negativity can be handled positively. I choose to listen to the voices and have healthy internal conversations that create a win/win between practicality and possibility. And by doing all of this, I get to take back responsibility for my life and live on my own terms - not a victim to my demon, nor my demon a victim to me. Integration at it's finest. Oneness.
See, as mentioned before...our demons are lessons created from bad experiences. And for some reason, our tendency is to fight bad with bad. We fight our demons by abusing them, rejecting them, and trying to make them fail in our life. And because this is where they were birthed from – if we continue to only give them these things, we continue to teach and confirm all that they’ve ever known…how to be this way.
So what’s my point? My point is that we may never defeat our demons, because the experiences in which they came from are now permanently a part of our lives. However, we can rewrite the lessons that were learned, by giving and teaching them love, compassion, and empathy. And maybe then, our demons – these powerful creatures that live within us - will start fighting for us and not against us. How powerful would that be?
Questions to consider:
1) Where were your demons birthed from?
2) What are you demons trying to get from you?
3) How can you show your demon love and compassion?
4) What would it look like if you could live in harmony with your demon? What would that make possible for you?