Angels and Demons

“No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.”

― Carl Jung

I spent most of my adult life trying to avoid suffering. It made everything worse. I spent my days waiting, hoping for my knight in shining armour. The funny thing is she existed, I just didn’t have the courage to ask her for help. I was too afraid to challenge my beliefs.

I also didn’t understand the paradoxical nature of change. The fact that you have to first accept who you are, that you have to first accept your life circumstances.

Which is hard, of course. I mean, how could I accept what my demons were telling me? How could I accept that what I really believed, was that I wasn’t capable – that I wasn’t worthy?

I tried in desperation to whip myself into something I wasn’t. I tried to kill that part of myself and in the process became consumed by it. Depression took a firm grip and I found myself drowning. In my attempts to fight, I only sunk deeper.

Eventually I gave up altogether.

Yet, it was only when I finally let go that I started to see something. What’s already there is there, so why fight it? To fight your demons, to resit them – is not only futile, it makes things worse.

Attempts to kill your demons makes them scream louder. It’s hating those parts of yourself that gives them strength. It’s only by embracing your demons, by having the courage to hold them in your heart, that you will start to see change.

And it won’t be that those demons go away. They won’t. What changes is your relationship to them. Suddenly they become part of you. You see both the light and the dark side. You come to understand them. You start to see where they’ve really come from.

That is insight.

And because your demons feel heard, they start to soften. They don’t feel the need to scream for oxygen anymore. It’s no different to a child who is shown love after a long period of neglect. Of course that’s all that the inner-child deep down in all of us wants – to be heard, to be held, to be loved.

I believe life’s biggest lesson is acceptance. For who we are, for life in all it’s fucked up glory, for, ultimately, our own mortality and that of those we love.

That’s why I suggest making it part of your morning prayer or meditation ritual. Find ways, design habits, whatever you have to do to cultivate an extreme sense of gratitude for who you are and what you have in this moment. It’s not easy, of course. I get it. It is something you have to practise everyday.

That’s not to say one shouldn’t act. No, that’s resignation. Resignation is choosing not to act when you can make a change. Resignation is choosing to believe the false narratives in your head instead of looking deeply. Resignation is believing that you can’t be helped, when you can. I know all about resignation.

Acceptance is something very different.

Acceptance is about acknowledging your demons, it’s not about letting them dictate the terms. Acceptance is about having discipline to face your current reality as it stands, to own up to it.

You need to let your demons know you hear them, then go ahead and do what you know is right. That includes asking for help if you need it. That includes processing your grief. There is no shame in this. In fact, that’s exactly what courage is.

Now here’s the paradox.

What follows a fear to accept is a fear to act. What follows the courage to accept is the courage to act. If you do that, you’ll find your demons switch shoulders. You’ll find you’re driven by them, not burdened by them. You’ll find your demons are everything to you – they’re what give your life it’s ultimate meaning. Once that happens, you’re not just going through the motions. You’re not just doing a job. It’s far deeper than that.

From radical acceptance comes meaningful action.

That’s why we need to infuse our existence with as much meaning as we can. In the way we interact with others. The way we play with our children. The way we hold our partners. Even in seemingly small or mundane tasks. If you look deeply, you can access peace in every moment by giving it meaning.

I can’t stress that point enough. 

We need meaning in our lives, because that’s what gives us hope. It’s what helps us to guard against nihilism. The more meaning you find in life, the more meaningful you believe your life is – the more peace and joy and love you will find in it. The most powerful way to do that is give meaning to your suffering.

If you do, you’ll realise your demons were trying to lead you from darkness all along. You’ll look down and realise, your shadows are made from light. You’ll realise your demons are your angels as well.


HELPLINES, SUICIDE HOTLINES, AND CRISIS-LINES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

20 thoughts on “Angels and Demons

  • That was fantastic. I’m going to apply this right now at a point of major uncertainty and transition, and trust the process. There is so much enlightenment, freedom, and healing in this message. I’ve watched people do the opposite and it’s terrifying.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Grace. I sincerely hope my words help you on your journey. I wish I had heeded this advice years ago. Of course, often, you have to learn them the hard way. Wishing you all the best 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  • Great post AP2 and thank you for sharing this reminder we all need 🙏❤…Working on acceptance really is an every day process isn’t it? The more you practice (along with gratitude and constant awareness) the more habitual it comes to living a more peaceful, happier life.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Thank you for another visit insightful post, AP! My takeaway is our good and bad, angels and demons, help form our larger whole. I imagine you, based on your posts, as someone who is traditionally very hard on yourself, as I am with myself, so good for you for finding this insight and learning about the importance of acceptance.

    “Acceptance is about acknowledging your demons, it’s not about letting them dictate the terms…” Favourite part of your post. 👍

    PS. Hope your little one is doing better!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand the importance of acceptance, but have had a hard time practising it. That has a great deal to do with low self esteem. Still practise makes perfect and I am much further along the road than I use to be.

      My little one has never been better – thank you 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  • A very thought-provoking post, AP. It is empowering to realize how much in charge we are of our own happiness. I usually am a very happy person. Right now I am a little overwhelmed. We are making good progress on our to-do list, but I need to remember that rest is a part of recovering that sunny outlook. All is well here. I hope all is well with you and your family. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Cheryl. Good to hear from you. Thank you. Yes rest is very important. I’ve been burning myself out a little bit lately and feeling in need of some rest myself. Family is healthy and well. Glad to hear you are too. 🙏🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • I just love your thoughts here. Reminds me of Internal Family Systems, which teaches that all our parts (whether we deem them good or bad, helpful or troublesome) are parts of us that are doing a job to protect; each of these parts wants to be seen and heard and loved by us. Radical acceptance. Authentic love of self. Intriguing how you have worded these ideas as demons and angels, but truly all angels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Donna. I’ve heard of IFS but not looked into it. It sounds like something I should. Thank you for taking the time to read and leave such a thoughtful comment. Wishing you well 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  • Absolutely love this reading! it was great and I feel as if this is a point of view most people don’t try to grasp. In this day and age many people are driven to judge others for their demons while suffering to understand and take a hold of their own and we end up in a never-ending cycle of judgement by others who still fail to have a clear judgement on themselves. When we accept our imperfections for what they are, we are more easily able to accept others imperfections-opening a door for love instead of hate ad I believe that is the true lesson in life. I would love if you wanted to share this point of view on my blog page, as I aim to have an open area of freedom of speech to understand others view points-without hate. Have a great Monday, and I will keep my eyes open for more messages of yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I often think the demons we see in others are really our own. Something to be aware of. Acceptance expressed inward usually extends outward as well. I like your idea that acceptance opens the door for love. So true.

      I’d be more than happy if you wanted to share this post on your blog. Thanks again for taking the time to read and share your thoughts. Wishing you well. 🙏

      Like

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