A little while back, one of our Universal Men was telling a story about his battle fighting his own inner demons that were holding him back, strangling his growth and enjoyment of life.
So what are inner demons?
They are something that you struggle within your own mind. The voices or thoughts that have been around a long time, that keep rearing their heads and holding you back.
Inner Demons aren’t something new. Often when people talk about demons, they talk about something that’s been around for decades. There’s a sense of having lost power to this significant, repeated, negative voice.
In your mind, you no longer have the ability to beat your inner demons and they keep turning up to sabotage your efforts. It’s like like there’s this little voice, or a little animated thing that turns up to talk in your ear and give you a bit of a punch in the guts or a bit of negative backtalk to tell you that you’re not up to this, you shouldn’t do this, you’re bad, or you don’t deserve it.
And it comes kind of from left field, like the demon, you’re going along and all of the sudden that pain from the past, that weakness, that significant loss of confidence, comes bouncing at you and you say, “Yeah. My demons have returned.”
That’s not a weakness. I mean we’ve all got a particular personality, we’ve got the things we’re good at, things that we’re bad at.
If you’re carrying any Inner Demons, they probably get their life from an inner belief or some sort of ideas and understanding about life, or an event, a loss, a stuff-up.
One source is perhaps something that happened at some particular time within your life, and then unconsciously you’ve wrapped negative feelings and messages around it, and they keep coming back repeatedly.
Another is sometimes you can be modelling someone who maybe you respect for one reason or another. You’re trying to emulate their success, behaviour or mindset, and in doing so, you might absorb some of their own inner demons. Sometimes this happens even if we don’t mean to emulate, like through the copying of our parents and relatives, and almost through osmosis, we pick up ancient limitations that have potentially been passed down through generations. Little beliefs, myths and ideas about the world. And they can be crippling.
Sometimes inner demons come with you living a particular archetype or taking on a character type in your life. You might be the martyr, and with the martyr comes a certain set of inner demons it means you limit yourself. You always put other people first and then when you get a chance to take the stage, your demons hold you back because this isn’t congruent with your archetype. It is like you take on a particular identity at a deeper level you say, “I am only this. I am this. Not that.”
If we don’t know the source of any demons we have, we can’t really deal with them effectively.
In facing them, in overcoming them, it’s like you take them out of the driver’s seat of your life, of your feelings, of your up and down-ness, and you harness the Universal Man spirit and own it.
Many men carry an inner demon throughout their entire life which shapes their life story. That is because they haven’t quite had the skill or process to remove them. This is important because:
“Your psychology is like a garden. Weeds grow. Foreign objects, foreign animals get in there. And if you don’t weed that garden, if you don’t fertilise it, if you don’t give it good water. It will get out of control.”
So even if you’ve beaten your demons now, if you don’t get on the front foot again, you will revert back. Same as physical fitness where when you get unfit the aches and pains return.
If you ever needed a brother for something, it’s to deal with inner demons. They can be so hard to overcome, and sometimes you just need someone to say, “Hey. Man, that’s just total crap. I don’t know where you came up with that.” Or to support you through it.
Weirdly, within every demon, there is a positive wisdom. Why? Because every demon has a deeper positive intention.
They have a good side and dark side, so to speak. And just as in Star Wars, each and every one of us could go to the good side or the dark side. What leads to the dark side? Fear. Fear leads to the dark side, men.
But courage leads to the good side. And this is the thing. When you have an inner demon, it actually has this positive intention behind it.
An example is in a story from one of Greg’s clients who was getting prepared to do a big speech, and they were talking about confidence and the conversation went something like this:
Client: “Oh! I’ve got these bloody voices, and they just sabotage me every bloody time.”
Greg: “Let’s just … can you focus on that voice for a second? Does the voice sound like anybody you know?”
Client: “Yeah. It sounds like my old man back in the day.” And his old man must have given him some grief about making a presentation when he was young. The voices said, “You’re not worthy, you’re not good enough, you’ll stuff this up.”
Greg: “Now pause for a minute and consider if there is a deeper positive intention of the voice? What does it really want for you?”
Client: “Well I suppose at a deeper level it actually wants me to do a good job. And the voices are trying to make me prepare better?
Vitally, at this point, the demons lost their power. Because when you can identify the positive intention of an inner demon, guess what happens? It loses its power.
Beating demons begins with the courage to name it, to face it. So when you sit down and say, “Now, what’s going on here? What’s this little negative rock that I’ve just put in my backpack?” Look at it, name it, and talk as much about it as you can.
Get that positive intention so that you can turn it on its head. What can you learn from it?
When you face it, when you face the demon, you can see how it’s actually a load of absolute crap. Because when you face it in a deliberate and intentional way, you can see it is actually false.
So you’re facing it, you’re naming it, you’re almost saying, “Come on in, buddy. I’m going to face you. I’m not going to be afraid of you.” And after facing it, get the energy of that demon and channel it into the positive, which is there.
A demon gets fuel when you listen to it. When you give it an audience. You take away the audience, and there’s no one there to talk to.
Another method to help is to journal when you’re naming and facing into what the demon is. Give yourself little, simple goals you can mark your demon against.
There’s the odd pitfall with inner demons. And first of all, is doing it alone. If you’re not making any progress, talk to someone, get a mate involved and attack this thing. Write it down on some paper and say, “This is what’s going on. Every time I do this, this little bugger turns up. Help me through it please.”
Your mate isn’t walking with the demon every single day. So they’ve got an objectivity, so when you talk about it in trust, that can be a tremendous thing.
If it is a traumatic event then you may need a professional voice. And that professional voice will just help you understand. Sometimes with trauma, to name and face it with a professional voice can be a fantastic thing.
This is similar to somebody who’s had a decent size injury, physical injury – what do they do? You see a doctor and then a physiotherapist to help with recovery. Same as if you had a mental injury; don’t try to do it on your own. Seek professional help.
One thing that happens so often with demons is that we can lose perspective. So we’re going along and then the demon comes up again, and all of the sudden, life is just awful. And when you think about it, you made a mountain out of a molehill.
So have a bit of fun, get a little bit of a balance, talk it through with a mate, keep it in perspective and break it down. Ask yourself, “Could I shift this demon one percent?”
And if you could move it one percent, could you move it two? And then maybe if you can move it two, is there anything stopping you from moving it three?
Everyone has demons. The one person who says, “I haven’t got any demons”, they actually aren’t being really honest with you. And it’s that simple little step.
In Australian society, you give people the finger, the one finger salute. One final powerful trick then is to give your demon the Swahili wave and physically give it the one finger which is one way of saying, “Hey. I’m facing you. I’m naming you. I’m going to put myself into the driver’s seat.”
What this is all about is demons are in the driver’s seat. Get that bugger out of the driver’s seat, get back in control of that particular thing in your life, because it may well be having a huge effect. Consider the consequences that it may have already had in your life. You’ve got an opportunity now. Get on the front foot and change the future story for yourself.
The story for your future, the very best you.
Grego and Pricey