I accept this may be a difficult, if not challenging, view to accept. But it is one that I implore you to begin to use when ‘in conversation’ with your demons. And it is this: the intention behind the actions of your demons is always positive.
I’m more than sure that as you read this you’re sneering, and going “What?!” That, or you’ve just burst out laughing. Either reaction is completely understandable.
However this is an important perspective I invite you to adopt so that you can be even more effective in coaching yourself.
Behind every action is a positive intention.
It is a perspective shift but it is a core presupposition in coaching. And by the end of this article, if you can begin to adopt this perspective, you’ll be closer to getting over your problem.
We often find ourselves in conflict with our demons, fighting, chatting, debating, wrangling back and forth. It is the cause of the state of war that you may be familiar with. How then, you may ask, can this possibly be seen as positive.
What I’m going to ask you to consider is the interaction you’re experiencing is the behaviour of your demon. The expression, if you like, of the intention.
Why is this distinction important to make?
As I’ve mentioned before, by creating that separation we get some distance on our challenges, our issues, our demons.
Isn’t it more interesting to think about your demons as having some positive intention? It’s easy to be curious. And as you get curious perhaps you begin to notice what lies behind the demon’s behaviour.
Here’s a piece I wrote about how to coach yourself you might enjoy reading.
I invite you to begin to notice this for a moment. Then ask: What is the positive intention of this demon? What is the positive intention behind this behaviour?
And see what response you get.
If you receive an answer that’s negative, pursue that. What’s the positive intention behind that, and so on. Bit by bit excavate your way to the positive intention and you’ll find one. It is there.
Getting to that truth can be quite powerful as we learn about our intentions and make a difference between that and the behaviour.
One of the important tasks you will learn when facing some obstacle or when you hear of a friend feeling challenged is to get curious and ask: what is the positive intention?
When you arrive at the positive intention and understand it better, there is a moment of calm, of peace. The anger and the ferocity of feeling can subside a little and from there we can begin to communicate with that demon and look to help it find alternative, more positive, behaviours that support and fulfil their function, their intention.
I really hope you get to try this out and see what response you get. It doesn’t need to be serious it may even make you laugh. Just note it and remain curious.
Ben Jackson coaches for personal development, leadership and transition for career parents. Juggling work, family and life in the Chilterns, he’s currently studying consecutively for a diploma in counselling and a diploma in teaching.