I have a confession to make. It’s kind of a big one.
I regularly dance with my demons.
You may be familiar with these demons. The ones that taunt, fill your thoughts with doubt, cast shadows on your successes or just tap dance on your motivation.
I would like to tell them to f*ck right off and find a new dance partner.
But they are so smooth. They know exactly what to say to get me on that dance floor and twirl me around. They know the magic words to whisper seductively to get me all worked up to self-doubting.
The music starts up the whenever I am about to step out of my comfort zone to try something new. These demons fire that music up so loud that I can only hear what they are saying.
“You really think that’s a good idea, huh? Remember what happened the last time you tried that? Yeah, that’s right. You failed!”
“Oh yeah, I’m sure that new dress you bought is going to make you look fabulous! Fabulously fat!”
“I don’t know why you bother to send that resume out. You and I both know you don’t have half the skills they are looking for. Don’t waste our time with this nonsense!”
In talking with others, I know I am not the only one that carries these freeloaders around. There seems to be a lot of us that have these little a**holes dancing in our thoughts. We start to see a new potential or dream a new dream and they appear. They are like bad tenants, moving in with no intentions of paying rent and causing us nothing but trouble.
The reason I said this was a confession is because of all the mindfulness work I have been laboring on. Learning to live in the moment. Trying to dig deeper to understand myself better. And it’s damn hard work!
It’s hard to look within ourselves and admit there are things we need to work on. That we see certain things in ourselves that we are not proud of requires a certain strength. A strength unlike any other ever dealt with.
The demons that live in our thoughts can be pretty loud and strong. For some of us, they have been living in our heads for longer than we can remember. They don’t fight fair and many times I’m not entirely sure I possess the strength needed to keep them at bay.
Even though we are told over and over to keep moving forward in our quest to learn to deal with the stresses of everyday life, it’s easy to fall back into old patterns. To not justify these negative thoughts in our own minds. To listen to what our negative thoughts are saying to us. If we don’t try to own all that we don’t like about ourselves, our lives would remain status quo. Once we own them and actually listen to these dark thoughts, only then do we realize that only we can change them.
I have equated this journey into mindfulness as similar to the whole process of birth.
First, a realization comes to mind that things have to change. Kind of like grasping the idea that there may be a pregnancy—missing that period and thinking, “uh oh,” or “oh yeah!”
It grows and forms within much like a child would over the course of the actual pregnancy. Then through intense pain that we are not sure we will be able to handle, this new way of living is born into our lives.
It doesn’t end once we have pushed ourselves past the comfort zone of the old way of thinking. We must continue to nurture this new thought pattern in order for it to survive. Even when we are sad or tired or lonely—the times it will be the hardest to live our new ways—it must be attended to. We don’t get to live with these changes we want at our convenience. No, we must persevere through all the hard times.
So when I say I regularly dance with my demons, it is a dance that I am slowly changing the steps to as I come to realize that mindfulness is deeper than just ensuring happy thoughts are abundant.
It is about finding those inner demons and changing their voice to work for me, not against me.
It is about sitting with that self-talk that keeps us stuck and being aware of it on a conscious level.
By paying attention on purpose, we are not ignoring the past or the future, rather we are learning to deal with it right there in the moment. We are owning what is happening at that particular moment.
It is about learning to hear what those demons are saying, but using it to propel ourselves forward, not keep us stuck in our old ways.
By not allowing those thoughts to overwhelm us into thinking we can’t believe, achieve or succeed we are able to confidently venture out of our comfort zones. We may not land that new job or accomplish what we set out to and that’s okay. The fact we tried is the success story here.
I encourage all of us to take a look at how we interact with our demons that live in our heads. They’re not going anywhere. They will still whisper those irresistible words we would rather not hear. How you choose to dance with them will bring you to a greater enlightenment of yourself and the world around you.
Author: Debbi Serafinchon
Apprentice Editor: Pavita Singh/Editor: Travis May
Image: Flickr/Dalton Reed