How Are Your Demons Today?

You have stopped by and said hello to them today, right? You probably should have if you did not. They can’t live without you and if you know they exist you can’t live without them.

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Demon: an evil spirit or devil, especially one thought to possess a person or act as a tormentor in hell.

We usually do not think of demons as something we are responsible for. They instead are responsible for our bad behavior, bad luck, bad life. People talk about inner demons or personal demons as a way of saying that we are responsible for them, yet we are not responsible because it was the demon that made us do that thing or the other thing.

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NOTE: There are habits we cannot easily control. If you have a substance related problem, that ‘demon’ is not just in your head. You will need professional help to get rid of it in all probability.

That warning is not to say that those who smoke can’t get rid of the habit without help or, for that matter, other addictions. Some people are stronger or more desperate than others. Such things vary from person to person. I don’t want to talk about those types of situations. Those situations are not simply in your head, there is a physical component that you cannot will to go away. Our brains are amazing but it is simply not a switch that you can turn on and off at will when there is a chemical component to your bad thinking. It should be noted that monkeys, dolphins, and in fact many mammals [1] [2] [3] have a penchant for using substances to experience an altered reality.

If you want to know what it takes to kill a bad habit with physical components, stop eating for 3 days. Drink water, get lots of sleep but do not eat. That will show you what a physical addiction can be like.

The astute among you will ask “if those people can have physical conditions why can’t mine be a physical condition?” and you are right to ask that. All these ‘personal demons’ have a common component – how we think and the behavior we exhibit based on how we think.

Do other people see your demons as harmless or pretty? Do they think you might be silly?

If your demon is harmless or pretty, is it really a demon? It is if it stops you from being the person that you wan to be. Let’s think about this for a minute. Without much effort I’ve talked about demons like they are an entity and not a thought pattern in your head or a behavior based on thoughts in your head. Let’s stop talking about them like they are external entities. Let’s stop laying the blame for our bad luck or bad lives on something that is not us.

Let’s not talk about major life issues or physical issues as demons. The demons we want to talk about are the small ones, the little buggers you keep tripping over as you go through life.

What people tend to call their demons are thought patterns or behavior patterns which they do not find easy to change and which bring them bad luck, bad life, bad fortune. Those demons are actually us. We are those demons despite something in us not wanting to be those demons. It is when we are tired of the demon that we change. Some might say “well, I don’t know how to change” and there is more than a grain of truth to that. Many of us form our bad thought patterns (and subsequent behavior patterns) based on the only frame of reference that we know – our lives. When our entire life has been filled with those bad thinking patterns and bad behavior patters just how is it that we are supposed to change?

This can quickly get off on the wrong garden path, so stay with me. We are not responsible for what other people do. We cannot change the past. If your bad thinking is based on one or both of those I have something to tell you. We can only be responsible for what we do ourselves. We can only change how we react to things in this moment. The past and the future are outside what we can change. We can only change how we act in this moment. Did that sink in? You can only be who you are in this moment. If you choose to be brave, this moment does not have to be based on anything in your past nor anything others think of you whether they actually do or you just worry that they do.

Most people are in some way afraid of their demons. I say this is exactly the wrong way to look at it. Grab your demon by the hand every day, dance, dance till you know their every move. Learn to lead the demon.

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The continuous dance with your ‘demons’

You can learn to lead your demon if you truly want to be the dominant partner in the dance. When you refuse to dance, dance you will but the demon leads. But how are you to lead your demons? First you must know them, intimately. Not what they want you to think but what they don’t want you to think of them. You have to recognize when they are trying to lead, and change the tune.

Hey MAL, that’s all good to put in a blog but how does that help me?

When you lead the dance, the movements are yours, even when it appears the demon is leading in those times when you choose to let your bad thinking lead. We grow up and many of us learn bad thinking from people that we trust and there is no certain way to learn new habits or forget the past learning. It’s not like one day you wake up and know how life is supposed to be and all the bad thinking is suddenly gone. No, like it was as you were a child, such learning takes time and practice. Time and practice.

Hey MAL, how am I supposed to get time and practice?

Every day, your ‘personal demons’ will come to dance. When they arrive, practice. Time happens on it’s own.

But what do I practice?

Do exactly what your demon doesn’t want. Soon you’ll see small victories, then larger, and before you know it you’ll have forgotten all about that demon. You know what your demon wants or you would not have compartmentalized it to a demon. All you have to do is treat that behavior or thought pattern as if it would kill you or make you deathly sick. When you are more afraid of giving in to the demon than what the demon might have you do, it will not be long before you forget the demon altogether.

Reflection and honest assessment of what displeases you about your behavior (your demon) is required. Sometimes that is kind of nasty. Do it anyway. If you can’t be honest with yourself that demon will never leave. Practice long enough and you’ll see that demon trying to get back into your life. Once you’ve gotten rid of them it’s not hard to keep them at bay.

Hey MAL, what should I tell others about my demons?

Don’t do that. It’s a personal war you have to wage. Sure, you might seek therapy help but your therapist will not dance with your demons, only you will. Therapists offer help and guidance but you still have to do the dancing no matter how much you pay the therapist.

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There are things which cannot be mitigated by desire to fight them however all of us dance with the demons that can be. You are strong enough to change your behaviors. When you find that you simply can’t do so, seek help. Most of our troubles are just a matter of how we dance with the demons. Even for those whose demons are not imagined but physical, they deal with the imagined demons too. The imagined demons can be beaten. You can change your behaviors. You can do what the demons don’t want you to do. In this case, what does not kill you does make you stronger when you are dancing and trying to take the lead.

Now, get up and dance!

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  1. I was having an exchange with a fellow on Facebook about morality. Why people cannot be what they want to be, moral and good. Why they pretend to be good. I offered that people know what is moral and good but cannot emulate it entirely because of the primitive source from which we came. We know what is good but can only pretend. He offered that with time the pretense can become real.

    • Rita (aka AnnieB)
    • August 28th, 2015

    Brilliant as usual! Oh the mind of MAL❤️

  2. Yeah, we’re pretty adept at infusing our projections and trying to make them independent of us as if real. This is a neurological tactic that allows us to feel like we have some separation, some boundary between ‘us’ and ‘them’ (or ‘it’), to then feel capable of exercising some measure of ‘control’.

    It’s interesting how many pictures symbolizing seduction and desire you use here even though you talk about many different kinds of ‘demons’. I think it would be very interesting and insightful to get people who believe in actual demons to fill in this kind of visualized detail.

    • The pics of demons I chose follow a kind of theme that is mostly independent of my own demons and follows choices made for other pics and posts. Pics ad bad habits are not as visually pleasing. The best habit is knowing how and when to say “sorry, I messed up again”

      • Just yanking your chain a bit, Mal.

  3. I’m a demon. 🙂

  4. I loved this. A grand look into the problems of being human. I took the liberty to post a link with my own comment of your grand writing on my own blog. I love the way you have expressed this subject and handled the way s to deal with it. Many hugs

    • Thank you for your very kind words and reblog. I’m glad that you like it.

      • 🙂 hugs

  5. MAL,

    “We usually do not think of demons as something we are responsible for. They instead are responsible for our bad behavior, bad luck, bad life.” What spot-on insight MAL.
    Hey MAL…why are people irresponsible? Is it because it makes for an easy out?

    “If you have a substance related problem, that ‘demon’ is not just in your head” I must disagree. It was all in my head. All those AA and NA meetings so sure that substance abuse is a disease, a “demon”. Bah. I can now have one beer with no urge for another, something that would hardly be possible a few years ago. I wonder what happened in my head to change this….hmm. Oh wait you just wrote it, ” It is when we are tired of the demon that we change 😉

    By the way thank you for dumbing down the cognitive shortcomings I have in place of an “entity” (demon). You make for easy reading. 😉

    ~slave bri

    • Irresposible? When resposibility is seen as painful we avoid it. The most basic thing your brain will do is avoid pain whether it is physical or perceived. Remember, pain is just signals in your brain that it can generateonits own

      • Do you believe in rewiring diagrams?

        ~slave bri

        • Yes, I do. I think we do it all the time and just don’t realize that is what we were doing

  1. August 29th, 2015
  2. October 3rd, 2015
    Trackback from : The Game | myatheistlife

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