This post is part 2 of “I wish I could hate you”. If you missed that post you can find it here.
There’s an old proverb that says “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”.
This proverb was, I’m assuming, designed to help minimize risk. I can see it being advantageous in military or business endeavors. Maybe even in sports. In those situations knowledge of your enemy or competition is key. It makes sense to say that having an enemy you know, is better than having and enemy that you don’t know.
I thought the phrase was interesting, and I’m a nerd so I spent some time trying to find the origin of the phrase and something kidna sad emerged. Like any old phrase it has been misquoted and distorted over time but the most common modification that I found completely changed the entire meaning of the phrase.
The most common misquotation goes something like this: “Better to have something bad but known, than something (that could turn out to be good) but is (currently) unknown.” How sad is that.
We’d rather settle for familiar garbage than pursue spectacular dreams.
Our fear of the unknown imprisons us to the negative impact of the known.
When we hold on to things, ideas, or people; what we are actually doing is giving those things control in our life. We are telling those things that they get to decide the scope and range of our options.
So what would happen in your life if you let go of the devil you knew and pursued the angel that you didn’t?
Maybe your devil is a person but maybe it’s just the idea of a person that you can’t seem to shake. Maybe your devil is a job that you have but don’t like. Maybe it’s the car that you’re driving that keeps breaking down. Maybe it’s the gym that you go to but always leave feeling crappy after working out with a bunch of muscle-bound meat heads surrounded by botoxed-Barbie dolls.
(I hate gyms but kind of like alliteration, can you tell?)
Here’s one way to start. Take out a piece of paper and write down your devil on that page up at the top. Once you’ve done that make a list of things that YOU can do to let go of, and remove that devil from your life. Notice that I capitalized YOU. The only person that can make a change is you.
Often we think of letting go as a passive action but that is why we never ACTIVELY let go. Letting go is an action and we must act in order for the action to take place. Your fingers and arms (and probably your mind and emotions) must move away from the object that you are holding and then in many cases they must actively push that thing away.
Now, Listen closely because this is where people mess up. (Ask me how I know.)
Once our hands have done the action of letting go, we leave them open and they just kind of sit there. But unlike objects at rest that tend to stay at rest, hands that open tend to close. If we don’t push away the devil and then close our hand around something that is positive, our hands get bored and tend to reach back out and pick up the very thing that we set out to let go of.
The best way that I have found to successfully let go of devils (aka addictions or vises) is to fill my hands back up once I’ve emptied them with positive habits.
Don’t just let go of laziness, grab on to a day planner. Don’t just let go of a bad relationship, fill your life with positive ones. Don’t just let go of an addiction, build positive habits.
I’d love to hear about the devils that you are letting go of but what is more important is the angels that you are picking up. Let me know in the comments.