I am struggling to let go of a post that recently appeared on my personal Facebook timeline. It was a photo accompanied by the caption: “It’s hard to let go of the demons inside; they were holding you when no one else would.”

Normally, I would just shake my head and scroll down after reading something on social media to which I didn’t necessarily agree. However, I felt obliged to comment this time.

My reply to this post was very simply:

I disagree. You are stronger than ANY demon you think you have. And they were never holding you, they were just holding you back & distracting you from the ones who really love you.

It’s been several days since I replied, but I still can’t seem to let it go.

I did a little research, and although I was unable to pinpoint the exact origin of the quote, I did discover that photo is quite popular in certain circles and has been around for a while. This was just the first time it happened to appear on my timeline.

I suppose I originally replied because I care about the individual who made the post. I don’t consider him to just be a Facebook friend, I consider him to be a teammate. I wanted him to know that people care about him and his wellbeing, and felt this message needed to be shared with him.

That is what teammates do. They care. They share. And they listen. My reply was meant to be a sign to him that I was listening.

Since replying, though, my words have had some time to marinate in my mind and I have been thinking a lot about how difficult it can be to let go of our demons—those habits that are detrimental to us becoming the best version of ourselves.

Metaphorical demons can come in all shapes and sizes. It’s easy to see the comforting effect they seem to have on our lives, especially during turbulent, stressful times. Our demons can indeed emerge to be a place of retreat, and even escape. They become the crutch that we are fooled into believing is holding us steady.

But…they aren’t holding us steady. They are holding us back.

Not long ago I spoke at an event in a community that is being ravished by the opioid epidemic. I respect how challenging it can be to defeat a substance abuse addiction, and speaking to that audience gave me an even greater appreciation for that challenge.

I don’t purport to fully understand the intricacies of treating an addiction, but I do believe that prevention often lies in getting individuals to not see themselves as individuals, but rather as members of a team.

When individuals see themselves this way, they start to consider the ramifications of their actions on those around them—their teammates. In that moment before they allow their demons to take hold, they don’t think about themselves. They instead think about their teammates, and they make their choices based on what is best for their team.

The irony is that when individuals choose to serve the needs of their team, they find purpose in their own life. Purpose leads to fulfillment, which leads to happiness—a place void of demons.

While some demons are certainly more serious than others, all of them have the potential to negatively impact our team and prevent us from being good teammates.

Your demon may not involve a substance abuse addiction. Your demon might be the amount of time you’re spending on your cell phone, or the lack of affection you’re extending towards your spouse.

Whatever the case may be, decide today to find a way to stop letting your demons hold you back from being a better teammate. Letting go is the key to moving forward.

Remember: Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.

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