Living in haunted houses
In order to master our demons, first and foremost, we must acknowledge them….a thing that’s easy to say, but, depending on the demon, can be almost impossible to do. For many of us, for example, just admitting that we’re depressed, can make us feel that we failed, that we’re letting down parents, a spouse, children, our religion, even our supposedly enviable way of life. For many of us, admitting our demons to ourselves, is fairly impossible. If we’ve “done everything right,” and we’re still depressed, or still drinking, or still empty…what does that mean? Where does that leave us? Do we trust our friends, for example, enough to share the depths of despair within us?
All of this is why, as a coach, I’m no longer surprised when my dental hygienist, for example, tells me, within minutes of working on my teeth and hearing that I’m a coach, that she’s divorcing her husband, whom she never loved, whom she simply married out of terror of being alone…and then gasps and says, “I haven’t told anyone anyone else this! I haven’t even told my best friend!” Or when I give a workshop, and during the lunch break, an angelic young woman sits next to me as I inhale my sandwich, to tell me that during her childhood, she was routinely raped by her uncle. When I embrace the young woman, I’m in tears, I’m heartbroken. She’s simply stunned at the words that have come out of her mouth, seemingly unbidden, saying, “Carlota…I’m sorry, I’ve never told anyone this, but something about you….”
Facing our demons means facing ourselves. For many of us, the worst part of admitting depression, or alcoholism, or abuse, or even “just” loneliness, is admitting to ourselves that we did everything to be perfect, and perfectly lovable…and it still didn’t ” work.” We did everything right, and we’re still lonely, still haunted…
What if our demons are haunting us in order to be acknowledged? Lonely ghosts simply wanting to be named and recognized. What if our ghosts are just as needy as the rest of us? What if our restless spirits are really there to scare us into the transformative process of changing our haunted existence? What if we forgave ourselves, and were able to acknowledge our haunted demons (i.e. ourselves) with empathy instead of fear…? What if.