“Our experiences are the result of thousands of years of societal influence laced with an alluring fragrance of growth and change. Our individuality lies within that growth and change; within our ability to face our demons.”– Ashley Elise
Demons. We all have them. Those so-called skeletons in the closet. Skeletons that have been passed down for generations. We carry the burdens of our parents’ skeletons and their parents’ skeletons, and all the while we create our own versions to be passed down. Many people will quickly disagree with the idea of generational skeletons, but I say, “just think about it”. If we are asked why we are the way we are, many of us would say things like, “Well, I was raised this way” or “This is just who I am”. Each and every one of us has been molded in some way or another to be the way we are. Now, this can be a good thing or a bad thing or somewhere in between. Our experiences are the result of thousands of years of societal influence laced with an alluring fragrance of growth and change. Our individuality lies within that growth and change; within our ability to face our demons. To look them straight in the eyes and let them know that you, not them, are in control. How do you do this? Well, it’s much easier said than done, but it most certainly can be done.
First things first. What are your demons? Be brutually honest with yourself. When you do this resist the urge to start criticizing yourself. Instead be compassionate. You may not love your demons, but you can love yourself, and releasing those demons will help you get there. I have this demon that has grown stronger over the years. It stems from the fear of vulnerability and rejection. This demon shows its ugly face any time I feel the least bit scared, worried, uncomfortable, etc. My demon is control, and more specifically, the constant need to feel in control. In the past I have always thought it made me feel stronger, but I have seen the result be the opposite. Demons have a tricky way of doing that. They are master manipulators, and that is why they can be passed down for generations to come. But control isn’t necessarily always a demon. It is when the need for control takes precedence over your happiness that it because a problem. In her book “Warrior Goddess Training”, Heatherash Amara talks about the core strategies that we as women use as coping mechanisms. You have your controllers, your distractors, your isolaters, and your pleasers. She states:
“Controllers feel safe when they are in control of the world around them or their own internal world. Controllers can be great leaders and visionaires, but often their gift is used to squash uncomfortable situations, to force people to do what they want them to do, and to limit expression. Controllers manage their own and others’ emotions through subtle or blatant domination or manipulation. They believe their way is the right way.”– Heatherash Amara
Well…that about sums it up. The first time I read these words and realized that I identified with them immensely, I cried. At first the tears were angry tears. “Why am I like this?” “Why am I such a control freak?!” But after the initial shock began to fade away the tears began coming from a happy place. No, I did not find some meme on Facebook that said “I am the way I am, like it or not” (Anyone who says that most likely doesn’t know who they truly are, but that’s a whole different blog post). I realized two things that gave me a sense of relief; I am not alone in this, and I can rise above this. I can live a life without the constant need for control, hence this journey that I’m sharing with you today.
So now I’ve addressed my demon. I am fully aware of its existence, and that alone has weakened its hold on me. Step two…game plan. Identify the situations that act as breeding grounds for your demons and make a plan to give yourself a different choice. My situation is vulnerability. Anytime I feel vulnerable, I scramble around looking for control. If I can’t find it, I will force it. Vulnerability is a critical part of life. We have to feel vulnerable in order to grow. Every new experince stems from vulnerablitity. And there you have it, my plan. Instead of searching for control, I made a committment to accept the vulnerablity and the new experiences it may offer. A more concrete plan for this is forcing myself to stop and think before reacting to a situation. Giving myself a so-called “time out”. Anytime you feel your demon gaining momentum ask yourself these three questions:
1. What am I attaching to in this situation?
2.Who do I want to be in this situation?
3. What do I want the outcome of this situation to look like?
My guess is if you answer these three questions honestly, you will react much differently than you would have initially. Heck, you may choose not to react at all. That is a huge step for someone who is a controller. A huge step that leads to a happier existence.
The last step in letting go of your demons is so crucial. Forgiveness. Remember, you are making a choice to change something that has become so powerful it was strong enough to make you believe it was justified and true. You will falter. You will forget to follow your plan. But always forgive yourself. Be compassionate with yourself, because this is a journey. A journey of growth and self-love. That demon doesn’t get to take away your strength. Not any more.
On a single sheet of paper list one of the demons you are ready to confront. Say goodbye, and burn that b*tch. I mean it literally. Light that piece of paper on fire. Let the fire represent the end of its hold on you and the ashes represent the newly created space within yourself.
If you’re feeling up to it, I’d love to hear from you about your journey and your demons. Outing your demons can feel very very good! Cheers!