Naming the Demon

I’m pretty sure I’ve written at least once before about believing that naming the demons, claiming the fear out loud, so to speak, can take away its power and give courage enough to rise above that fear. I do believe that. I try to practice that, especially in my professional life with my team, trying to make a safe space for them to do the same. But when it comes to my personal growth and self discovery and improvement, that naming requires significant vulnerability, particularly when the naming is in print for all and sundry to read…and ridicule.

While I have come a fair clip from the overly-cautious, fearful and shy person I was in the beginning of this journey, I still keep a good bit to myself and still guard my IRL persona carefully. I have a career and position that demands I bear a great burden of responsibility, so public behavior (including on social media) is something I’m very careful about.

Yet, I don’t want that burden to become a convenient excuse to hide from truth and let fear win.

So I’m going to try to strike a balance with this post, naming fears without context or explanation for the most part, saving some measure of privacy and dignity while putting into the universe my plea for peace. Here are some of the demons plaguing my heart and mind:

  • Isolation
  • Emotional upheaval and anxiety
  • Longing for, and also fearing, change
  • Terror of never being enough
  • Dread of always being judged to be too much
  • Shame at being fearful and insecure
  • Inertia that prevents logical, rational thought and action that might alleviate some of this dread
  • Utter lack of creativity and innovation in devising solutions to these problems
  • Disgust at my ineffectiveness in my own life
  • Self loathing over how pathetic this list is

Ugh. That’s a lot of sludge to expose to the world. And I don’t have any comfortable, warm & fuzzy platitudes to salve the negativity. But I cling to the conviction that as long as I’m working on it, putting genuine effort into trying to overcome and to improve, and by calling out the darkness into the light, there is a chance that it will get better.

I have to believe that. I hope you do, too.

5 comments so far

  1. Widdershins on

    When I come across lists like this in my head, and gain a bit of distance from them, decode or deconstruct them, they almost invariably are initiated by the good old, ‘what will people think’. Which is probably the ultimate definition of irony, because all those ‘other people’ are wrapped up in their own little bubbles of ‘what will people think’-defined actions and thoughts.

    • Searching4Self2013 on

      Likely you’re right. Any suggestions on how to not care about what other people think without becoming bitter, arrogant, and mean?

      • Widdershins on

        Maybe spend some time people-watching. Find somewhere where there’s a decent ‘passing parade’, maybe a cafe or an outdoor event, someplace that isn’t to do with your work,
        They start observing the people around you, probably best done behind sunglasses. 🙂 … be aware of how you are responding to them, and then remind your Self that each and every one of them is feeling and reacting similarly to their own particular set of triggers.
        This, of course, doesn’t mean you don’t take umbrage wherever and whenever justified, 😀 … but it is a way to expand the boundary between your inner soft-n-squishy private self, and your outer public self, thereby creating a modicum of objectivity that might allow you to regroup in a challenging situation.

      • Searching4Self2013 on

        Thanks for that. Interesting idea. I’m going to give it some thought. The biggest challenge I’ll have in this will be distance – I have a tendency to identify too closely with things I see in others (expressions, gestures, similarities) and empathy takes over and objectivity goes out the window.

  2. the #1 Itinerary on

    Great post 🙂


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