Love Your Demons

Demons. A dark side. We've all got one. I have inherited demons from my parents and grandparents before that. I inherited them right along with my height, hair and eye color. The demons are in my DNA.

What are the demons you ask? To me they are the things that keep me from being my very best. They are the critical inner voices that downplay my every achievement. They are the voices of jealousy when someone has the success that I think I want or deserve. They are the snarky thoughts that flit through my mind and judge things or people in a negative light. They are the voices of self doubt. They are the voices of depression. The demons are my tendency to be too stubborn or to stick with one set way of being for too long. They are constantly having to fight black and white thinking. CONSTANTLY. They are the never ending struggle to gracefully handle more than one thing at a time. I have a bent for being extremely lazy and critical. And the demons ALWAYS want me to be right.

Here's the thing about the demons... the demons I carry and choose not to address are the demons I will certainly pass on to my children. Many of these same demons are naturally in their DNA whether they like it or not (plus all of the dark parts from my husband's DNA. They certainly hit the lottery between the two of us). If I am not aware of my demons, or I choose to ignore them or I am not open about them or not addressing them on a regular basis, then I will never break the cycle. I won't break it for myself and I certainly won't break it for my kids.

As I raise my children, I am also raising myself. Sometimes life gives you a a catalyst that helps you focus and reassess. For me (as is typical for a lot of people) it was having kids. My life has become an exercise in self reflection and improvement. Why? It certainly would be so much easier to just say "This is who I am! I am a lazy, opinionated, stubborn, one dimensional, depressed, jealous b**ch who always has to have my way."

I am not ok with that.

I can do better. My kids can do better. So I am forever looking my demons in the face. Every day. They are always in my thinking. They are always looking back at me every time I look in the mirror. I fight them. I choose to think differently. I choose to act differently and to respond differently. I choose to question things and always try to find the kindest, most productive path.

Even though it’s hard, I try to love my demons. They are the tiny bullies of my soul and they are the parts of me that need love the most. If I don't love them, and hug them close they lash out like tiny, angry toddlers all over my life. In loving them and acknowledging them, they stay calm and much happier. It’s just like when your kid is throwing a tantrum - if you yell back and stomp out of the room, they cry even harder. If you hug them close and help them calm down, you can think it through together when you both feel calm and sane. Things generally go a lot smoother that way. Love tends to keep the angry, unreasonable toddler demons at bay.

So my demons persist, but we have learned to work together. My better self acknowledges them, calms them, reasons with them and argues with them. And somehow each day I am able to try to be my best self despite them.

Or maybe because of them.

So I love them, even though it is hard, because love is not always about liking everything. Sometimes it is just about acceptance and then challenging things to be better.

 

© 2017 Krysta Bernhardt. All Rights Reserved.