Jul of Wisdom #3

Being Grateful for our Demons

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We all have our demons; those things that make us feel particularly insecure, less confident, or of lesser value than those around us. Mine is my weight. That arbitrary number on the scale that truthfully only reflects the combination of the muscle, fat, and water within my body. However, as we all know, society has placed a moral value on that number. I have internalized that moral value, and as a result, have spent a lifetime believing I was somehow “less than” because the number on that scale was higher than it “should” be.

In fact, on my first several drafts of this article, I spent paragraphs explaining – and justifying – why I was of value, despite the number on the scale. I went through my whole sordid history with food, proudly described my “clean” eating habits and rigorous exercise regime, and gave explanations for why my weight isn’t an accurate reflection of how disciplined, strong, and healthy I am. As if any of that has anything to do with my value as a human being.

And yet, as of late, my little demon (many of you may know him as ED) has been whispering in my ear that my “failure” to weigh what society says I should, means that I – the whole of me – am a failure. (This demon is a real jerk.)

His return was triggered by a health issue, and resulting referral to a surgeon, who man-splained that my weight is causing my health issue. And, to even get the surgery needed to fix the issue, I need to lose weight. This focus on my weight – and only my weight – provided the opening for this little demon to come out and have a little fun at my expense.

I divulge all of this simply to point out that our demons rarely stay hidden forever. Even when we think we’ve conquered them, they are often hiding in the shadows, waiting to rear their ugly heads the second they get the chance. The ferocity with which they return can be both surprising and unsettling.

 The good news (yes, there is good news) is that we are better prepared for this next battle. Every time we have conquered these demons in the past, we have learned a bit more about their weaknesses – and our strengths. We have the power to beat the demons down faster and more easily than before because we have more tools at our disposal.

For me, this means immersing myself in body-positive culture and resources (two of my current favorites: The F*ck It Diet, by Caroline Dooner and The Anti-Diet by Christy Harrison). It means declaring, every day, all the ways in which I provide value to this world. It means going back to my gratitude practice . . . which means expressing my gratitude for this particular demon.

Expressing gratitude for something that has caused me so much pain and suffering? Yes. One of the gifts our demons give us is reminding us of our true worth. Of the things we believe are really important. Of the battles we have fought and won. And most importantly, they remind us that we – as we are right now, in this moment – are worth fighting for. 

 So, do not be discouraged when your demons come a-knocking, even if you thought you had sent them packing for good. View it as an opportunity to re-affirm your truths, your strengths, and your worth. And when you are ready, kindly – and gratefully – show that demon the door.

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