Why The Key To Overcoming Your Demons Is Not Fighting Them
But fucking them.
What would your demons look like if they were people? Doesn't really bear thinking about, right? Alright, I'll go ahead and start with mine.
Now, I'm not saying he's Italian, but this one's the Mafia boss of the whole operation; without him, the other goons would be nothing and nobody. He's always been there, wry-smiled and hubristic, no more than two steps behind from the moment I realized, I'm a person. He's two steps ahead, too. He's the guy I can rely on to remind me that I never have been, and never will be, good enough. Hot-tempered, he killed my confidence in its cradle because it threatened his ego. If he had a face, let me tell you, he'd be one ugly god damn sonnovabiiitch.
In short, I definitely wouldn't swipe right on Tinder.
But what if I told you that if you truly want to overcome your demons, fighting them is futile? That you should actually just... fuck them instead? As Charles Bukowski wrote, “Do not ignore it. Fuck it. Cry your heart out. Then fuck it some more.” And what he really meant was, however painful the process, you've gotta know your demons intimately – really fucking intimately – before you can ever be free of them. Profound.
You see that light at the end of the tunnel? You've actually gotta feel through the darkness to get there. Luckily for you though, all it takes is five steps – and a bit of commitment. Ready? Here goes.
Stand by, everyone, while I do my best diet shake commercial impression.
Do you live your life IN DENIAL? Did you justify your THIRRD hamburger today by the healthy lettuce leaf you served up on the side? Did you even eat that lettuce leaf? NO?! Then how do you expect to ever lose weight – WIIIIITHOUT the help of our TASTYYY diet shake?
Take that hamburger as a metaphor for any of the bad habits you're rationalizing in order to ignore your underlining issues or insecurities. Deep down, there's a demon wreaking havoc on your mental and physical health. In order to overcome these issues, you actually have to know that they're there. Enter self-awareness, the diet shake for your mental state; the first step towards a healthier outlook on life.
Retrace the cause of your destructive habit or thoughts. For example, smoking and drinking on the weekends could be a symptom of your social anxiety; fixating on Instagram perfection could be a reflection of your physical insecurities; avoiding places or activities could stem from previous trauma; pushing away people who care could be to do with deep-seated trust issues.
Recognize the symptoms and start being honest to yourself about the cause; take stock of your demons. To have any chance of finding true happiness, you must be self-aware.
Now you're aware that your demons are in the room with you, it's time to begin the dance. And it's essential that you leave any blame at the door – the dickhead would only slump in the corner and make you unhappy anyway.
Instead, accept and embrace your flaws, flirt and dance with them, hold them with the same pride as you hold your strengths. Because ultimately, your flaws are what make you human.
At the same time, reflect on what you like and love about yourself. You don't have to go kissing any mirrors, but take credit where credit's due – whether that's for personal attributes or achievements. You are valuable, and if you can't accept this, I'm sorry, but you're going back to square one. Remember that part about crying your heart out? Do it. Then start the whole process again.
Get smart with your emotions
If you know how to swim, chances are you're not gonna panic in the pool – unless some kid releases a rogue torpedo that's honing in on you at rocket speed. Haha, sorry. The point is, that you understand that if you're feeling tired, you can just tread water until you get your breath back, or that when you're underwater you can come up for air whenever you need to. The same should apply to your emotions.
As with the water, you've got to understand how your emotions work. Reading books like Daniel Goleman's Emotional Intelligence helps. When you understand your emotions, and where they come from, you don't drown in them. You simply tread water until you're calm enough to step out of the shitting pool.
Take control of your emotions like this and you'll be more resilient to any demons that try to resurface in the future.
Spread the love
Happiness is like a kiss; you must share it to enjoy it. It might not feel like it when you're couch-locked with Netflix on a Friday night, but we humans are social creatures. It's a simple fact that the more you spread the love, the more fulfilled you feel – and the more good vibes you receive from others in return.
I'm not saying you have to go out with a “FREE HUGS!” A-board, but be there for your mates, family or neighbors, volunteer for charitable organizations, inspire others with speech or writing; put the most positive you into the world and you'll reap the rewards. Remember those demons we were talking about? Yeah, us neither.
Learn to let go
Still not happy? Then, my friend, you have forgotten to forget something. Between what is and what you feel should be, there's a big, fat, toxic black hole that will stop at nothing to suck away the good stuff until, again, you're back to square one. Ultimately, you must master the art of letting go.
I get you. This demon is like the relationship you stuck in because of years of companionship; the job you won't quit because you got promoted – once. Moving on requires the upheaval, and risk, of change. But you have to ask yourself whether you're going to stick it out having a shitty time in the raining amusement park because you paid for the ticket, or you're gonna leave and spend the rest of the day having fun instead. Life is a choose-your-own-reality adventure.
Remember that everything – including ourselves – is temporary. The past is all but a collection of fragmented memories. The future is simply guesswork. All we've got is the present, and if we don't live it, we're not really living life at all. Embrace change, however rough, knowing that it'll lead to renewal, and stride through the darkness until you reach the light.
Fuck, that feels good.