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Mastering the Art of Destroying Your Inner Demons
A Guide to Living Without Regret or Shame
I’ve been asked more than a few times, “What qualifies you to be a life coach?”.
When the tone is condescending, I answer, “Nothing”; when asked with genuine interest, I open up and share some of the challenging things I’ve overcome in life. After my list of obstacles has been shared, people are often in awe of how I’m here, living as a positive role model and family man.
I’ve developed this skill set and system that people are willing to pay for, hence “Life Coach”.
What qualifies me to give people life and mindset advice is my handling of life and maintaining a mindset of a professional, forward, focused man. Basically, I’m good at getting over trauma, avoiding common pitfalls, finding the positive in everything, balancing incredible pressure without succumbing to stress, turning a spouse and children into fuel - never anchors, and I have infinite energy and love to share.
None of this is due to my upbringing; in fact, I live this way in spite of my childhood and adolescence. Life has been tough, and I’ve found a way to continue pushing forward in despite that.
I slay demons and answer when life calls my number in the real world; that’s my talent.
Turning Demons into Ghosts
As human beings, we are complex creatures.
Our lives are a series of experiences ranging from joyous highs to devastating lows. Those of us with a troubled past cannot live in the present without the ever-frequent reminder of our past overshadowing the good. Our lives are often characterized by prolonged periods of darkness, shame, and regret. We have all made mistakes we wish we could take back, but the question is, how do we rid our minds of these demons?
Inner demons are destructive things, often directly linked to trauma, which in many goes unaddressed, and it’s in this dismissal of healing the prolonged presence and destructive nature occur. We survived the hurt and became adults - how in the hell are we supposed to live positive and motivated lives achieving great milestones while we hate ourselves and what occurred in our past?
The worst part of past traumas is that it doesn’t matter if we caused the event or if we were innocent victims.
Someone I can relate to and better connect with because he also had a past that stacked odds against him is Ed Latimore. Ed recently dropped a guest post on my email list, which you can read here: An Evening Opportunity
Bottom Line Upfront: Ed is giving away his Social Media Growth courses to focus his efforts more on his publishing deal with Penguin Books, which will have him writing “Hard Lessons from the Hurt Business” a book that speaks to exactly what it is I’m addressing here.
Follow Ed on Twitter and make sure you grab the book, I will be as learning from others who’ve lived this serve as a reminder that I’m not alone.
Living a Life Free of Regret or Shame.
The first step in the process of killing your demon is taking ownership of your past mistakes. You cannot move forward until you accept responsibility for your actions or inaction, as was the case with me. It may be difficult to face the truth. Still, it is a necessary step in healing, and it’s important you remember that you may not have been the perpetrator. Still, it is your responsibility to lay claim to your mind and address what happened so you can accept it as a part of your story, not the point of it...
I know this from personal experience; I spent years avoiding my past, trying to bury my demons deep down where I hoped they would never resurface. But as many of us know, the past has a way of catching up with us, and our demons resurface when we least expect them.
I recently visited some long-lost family, and I knew to open that door in my mind, the one covered in locks and spider webs, would expose me to facing serious emotions that had been dormant for quite some time. I knew I had to do it, and I did it, which has me in a place right now where I’m going through a phase of personal growth that has me in very uncomfortable waters. It’s not a bad thing, I’ve grown immensely in this uncomfortable area, but even when you find comfort in discomfort, that doesn’t make it any easier to process.
A relevant piece on my journey:
The second step in destroying your inner demons is identifying your issues' root causes. Everyone's journey will be different here, but most can agree that this action may involve re-experiencing deep-seated pain or trauma. If you have not already done so, it may be helpful to seek a therapist, family member, or counselor to help you explore the root cause of your pain. This is not always easy, I am an “I’ll do it alone” kind of person, but I have friends within the Fraternity of Excellence who I turn to when the weight or mental noise gets to be too much.
Facing the pain again and confronting those responsible may be a terrifying prospect, but that does not stop this from being a necessary step in healing. In my case, I discovered that my demons were born in my childhood and adulthood; whereas I’d originally thought they could be ignored and “nothinged” to death, I was wrong.
I have located the sources of my pain and have dealt with them, one by one with some being easy to cut from my life, while others are “Zero’d out”, and they are dead to me, nonexistent. You must do the same to give yourself the peace you deserve.
One thing which helped was recognizing that the past should not strip my present from joy and happiness. I have too few days remaining with my wife and children, I refuse to give any to those who do not matter.
For you, once the root cause of your demons is identified, your fear must be assuaged by the understanding that things may get uncomfortable in the near term when you do this, in the long term you will finally be able to live a life free from the weight of the past world weighing you down.
This is where the real healing begins.
Slaying your demon may involve forgiveness, whether of oneself or of others. Another possibility is that you feel bad for not wanting to forgive them and to this, I will tell you right now - you don’t have to forgive anyone.
Some may shame you, others might call you a bad Christian, then there are the ones who will call you a bad life philosophize, as holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting this other person to die…
I’ve heard it all, and I can tell you that not forgiving some people made me feel better than any other action.
I don’t have to allow anyone in my life, and I do not have to forgive a person no matter how badly they want it. Forgiveness is a choice, and some may need to do so, I have with some people; I’ve not with all people as forgiveness is not obligatory action for healing.
The point is, do whatever it takes to face your demons and set them free from your mind; send them to their next life. For myself, I’ve confronted the people and thoughts I’ve needed for peace to be had.
I Found Closure, You Need to Too
The closure element is a critical step in the healing process, as it allows us to move on and live without the regret or shame. It comes in many forms, whether it be through forgiveness, seeking amends, or even saying goodbye. For me, it meant letting go of the pain of my past, accepting the issues in my present, and embracing the prospect of a mentally calm and quiet future.
I had to just let go…
Killing your demons, and turning them to ghosts is essential for living a life you can say is your own. It will requires courage, self-reflection, and the willingness to face your fears head-on. It can be a difficult and painful journey, but the rewards are immeasurable. So, take ownership of your past mistakes, identify the root cause of your demons, face them head-on, and find closure.
You will emerge as a stronger, happier, and more resilient person.
Remember, you are not alone in this journey. There are others who have faced similar struggles and have come out the other side - you’re reading the article of one such person. Reach out to friends, family, or professionals for support, if you want my input, drop a comment below.
Healing from a troubled past is not a sprint; it is a marathon, and when you talk about it, you will find all the tools you need to cross the finish line.
- Zachary Small
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