Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dispelling the Demons

I consider myself a relatively confident person. Sure, I had my insecurities in teenage years and early adulthood but I thought I was well passed that stage until recently. The last year and a half have been trying for me. Major life changes have left me a bit weary and pondering the future. I weathered them well or better than I expected and I am grateful to say that. However, there were scars and I have recently acknowledged them.

This period of time has definitely had its positives. I was isolated enough from friends and family so I could get my head around my past and what I would like my future to look like. Much time was given to prayer and contemplation, even dreaming of the next chapter in life. There was also a lot of mourning and tears. Truth be told, I suppose I had a few too many counseling sessions with Dr. Haagen Daz. In short, I gained a bit of weight. In fact, I needed to lose a good fifteen pounds before I gained this weight so the effects have been a bit disappointing to look at in the mirror.

I have taken some positive steps. I have a diet plan that I have been following well and I joined a gym and have been faithful to go and follow a workout schedule. The momentum is there and so is the motivation. Still, especially when I am in the gym with lots of full-length mirrors, I catch glimpses of my new body and I don't like what I see. I don't like it at all. It is tough to not look too long. When I find myself lingering in the mirror I turn away and go on to something else but there are demons. Demons are those little voices that discourage you. At times mine spend a lot of time talking to me. It all depends on if I want to listen or not as I have come to understand. It seems when I give ear to my demons, even just a little, they decide to pull up a chair next to my mind's ear and go on talking even when I don't want to. Or do I?

I have long said that we have to invite negative thoughts to participate in our lives. We have to listen in order to hear those voices that say "It's not that you've failed, it's that you are a failure". Intellectually I can tell myself that isn't true but when I invite the demons to go on with their reasoning for why I am a failure they are all to happy to give examples. They even bring up other failures, even if they are not related, to back up their story.

I don't want to listen any more. I have had a taste of what it was like to be a teenager again and rate myself according to my inner voice and I am firing my demons. They don't own me. They don't tell me the truth. They want me to be sad and give up. Then they win. When I feel this way, I talk to those who build me up and encourage me. They tell me to go on when the demons want to beat me up. They tell me I am great when the demons tell me I am a fraud. I know who my encouragers are. I keep mental note of those that seem to make me feel good just by a word, or a chat over coffee. Most of my encouragers openly share that they pray for me. They make it a point to check in with me either by phone or email and just see how I am doing. With encouragers in my life, I can move on quickly. Thankfully, there is another inner voice that reminds me of what my encouragers say when the demons want to speak to me more often than not. I am so glad that I have learned that. It took training. It took a conscious effort to do but I learned to do it purposefully and regularly until it was automatic. Sometimes my training needs a refresher. I really don't like being my own "Debby Downer".

Do you have encouragers in your life? Who are they? Make a list, check it twice. Even better to be an encourager. It makes you feel terrific. I make a habit of smiling at others, asking how a cashier's day is going in the grocery store or telling toll booth operators to "have a nice day". Think of it, trying to cheerful will actually make you cheery. I love that. It takes more muscles to frown than smiling and frowning too long will give you a headache.

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