Sit down and get to know your inner demons. How do they like their tea? What’s their favorite: muffins, scones, or doughnuts? Svetlana, my inner demon/gymnastics coach, loves a strong Russian tea, and has a particular weakness for those little packaged madelines you can buy at the counter at Starbucks. Give her a four pack of those, and she’s perfectly happy to settle in and chat for a while. Get out your journal and write about your inner demon. What do they look like? What motivates them? What is stuck up their butt?
Set the stage. Where are you meeting? At a sunny park, a bustling café, or a peaceful living room? You’re welcome to use my cozy little cottage [from the previous post!]. Let your imagination go, and be surprised at what you find out. Once you and your inner demon have taken a comfortable seat, just listen to them for a while, pay attention and write. Ask them probing questions, like you’re interviewing them for the Rolling Stone magazine cover article of the year. Be objective and interested. This is your unconscious you’re talking to; you can mine some really juicy stuff out of it.
Then it’s your turn. Take a deep breath and tell your inner demon what you need from it. I need you to chill out. I need you to be nicer to me. I need you to turn down the volume, and the drama. Dude! Tell them why. Even enlist their help. I need your help in treating my body with more respect. I want to be better friends with my body, and I need your support. Address any concerns they might have. Reassure them, you’re not ditching them, you just need them to tone it down.
Suggest a getaway in an exotic locale… where do demons like to go on vacation? Depending on how long you’ve struggled with your inner demon, they probably haven’t had a vacation in years, possibly decades. They have a lot of vacation days saved up. And no, you won’t change the locks while they’re gone, but they will have to live by a few ground rules when they get back. No more put downs, no more undermining, no more punching bag. Set good boundaries. Explain to them they are entitled to their opinion about things, but that you won’t be taking their advice so much. If they look at you skeptically, assure them that while it might take some time for you to tune them out, you’re set on your path of transformation.
Call a truce. No more war on the body, no more war on your self-esteem, no more war on your well being. By the time you’ve listened carefully to your inner demon, they feel acknowledged and validated; you might be amazed at how reasonable they can be. Tell them you’re glad to have met them, have a good trip, and show them graciously to the door.
Congratulations, you’ve met your inner demon face to face, and lived to tell the tale. But this is just the beginning. Perhaps after this initial meeting you’ll find your internal radio picks up the inner critic station less and less, as if you’re driving out of range of the transmission tower. Some days the station might come in loud and clear, and some days it might be full of static. Be patient. Our old habits of self-criticism don’t dissolve easily. Let them dissolve one drop at a time.
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