I remember when I was just a little guy probably about 4 or 5 years old, I was fascinated by snakes. Not any particular type of snake – just snakes in general. I remember being really curious about how they could move around so easily without any legs or feet. I remember liking the colors on the garter snakes that slithered through our Nebraska summer garden.

And – I remember one day picking up one of those fascinating garter snakes and holding it right in front of my face so I could get a little better look at the colorful markings on its head. It was at that moment the unthinkable happened. In mere seconds, that wonderful, fascinating creature had transformed itself into a writhing, ferocious monster with a flickering, forked tongue and hypnotic eyes. What happened next? I dropped it, of course. Actually, it may have been more like a toss – that part gets a little blurry. But I got rid of the monster as fast as I could! I let it go!

Obviously, the poor snake didn’t really change into anything different from what it already was. But my perception told me it had, so I reacted to what I saw as a significant problem. I let it go.

Since then, I’ve learned that “monsters” – real and perceived – come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Most of them we can’t physically see but we do experience the results of their presence – and they are very, very real.

Our monsters have names – common names. Here are a few: Fear, Guilt, Hate, Self-Doubt, Jealousy, Insecurity, and Anger. They’re all slime-balls. They all have the potential power to control our lives and destroy any chance at a truly happy life. Any one of these monsters can freeze us in our tracks and until we recognize it and get it out of the way, we’re not going to be able to move on toward whatever better life we have waiting for us.

OK, do we need to stop for just a minute here? Yes, I just said “whatever better life we have waiting for us”. No, I’m not talking about only a “special, select few” folks who might accidentally be lucky enough to get doused with one of God’s super blessings. I’m referring to everybody who lives in a reasonably free society and has access to at least a smidgeon of printed or verbal information. That would probably include you, huh?

Yes folks, there is a better life waiting “out there” for every one of us. And this is certainly an oversimplification, but basically all we need to do is visualize it – and then do stuff to get us there. Sure, some of that “stuff” will possibly include doing some personal reprogramming of our thought processes (there’s plenty of information available to help do that), getting assistance and guidance from some experts (plenty of that available, too) and some level of investment of our time and energy.

However (speaking of reprogramming), unless we recognize and take care of any monsters that we may be clutching tightly to our bosom, we’re not going much of anywhere – other than maybe sliding backward into our own personal snake pit. Hmmm, wonder why I just used that analogy? Probably a reason in my background somewhere.

Back to the monsters. How do we get rid of ‘em? The first step is to recognize that we got ‘em. Makes sense, huh? If we don’t know one of these stinkers is hanging onto us and dragging us down, there certainly won’t be any way for us to get rid of him. Take another look at their names and then take a close look at your thoughts and subsequent actions. See anything that rings a bell? I know, sometimes it’s really hard to have an objective view of ourselves so get an outside opinion or two from someone who you know will be absolutely honest with you.

Then once you’ve identified your own personal monster(s), the next step of course, is to get it (them) off your butt and out of the way. Now there’s no way in the space of this article to talk about the various techniques for “monster slaying”. But here are a few quick helpful hints. One of the things you’ll likely need to do is take a real close look at your thought processes (there’s that danged programming thing again) and learn how to change them. Again, there is a wealth of information available to you to do exactly that. Books, videos, CD’s, self-improvement programs, and personal help in the form of numerous counselors and coaches. It’s all “out there” waiting for you. All you need to do is just go get it.

Part of the modification in your thought processes will probably include learning how to face – as in “stand up and confront” – your monsters. You may need to dig deep into your better self to find your personal cache of courage that you’ll be using as your ultimate weapon of monster destruction. OK, let’s be a little more honest. You really don’t need to “destroy” these stinkers and I don’t know that it’s even completely possible to do that. What you will need to do though, is at least take away any power that they have had over you in the past. You see, the only way any of these guys can restrain you is if you give them permission (the power) to do so. Withdraw that permission (let ‘em go…) and they’re about as much threat as a wad of discarded bubble gum.

One way to neutralize a monster is by learning to know it by a different name. A name that can be much easier for us to manage. For example, with a bit of mental manipulation, Fear can become simply “Apprehension” or “Uncertainty”. It shouldn’t be a major problem being able to handle either one of those guys. Guilt can be transformed into “Regret” or “Disappointment” (as in past perceived misdeeds). Hate can be downgraded into “Dislike” or “Disapproval”. Self-Doubt can become a productive “Self-Questioning”…well, you get the idea.

So if you’ve been stuck in a rut and are about ready to climb out and move on toward your better life, be sure to take the time to check your personal mental wardrobe for monsters. Then let ‘em go – or at least transform them into a less threatening simple irritant - and move on to the life you truly deserve. It really is there waiting for you!

Oh, and the snake? Just another big ole’ worm…

Author's Bio: 

Gene Simmons, through NuPathz.com, provides an easy reading self-help blog, articles, quotations, thoughts and links along with affordable self-help and self improvement books & materials - all designed to help folks find the road to a more enjoyable lifestyle, to pass on some of life’s “secrets for survival” in a chaotic world & offer a few smiles along the way. It's a down-to-earth, simple approach to discovering a better life. You can visit Gene at http://www.nupathz.com/