Don’t Extinguish Your Inner Fire, Learn To Harness It


There are aspects of our personalities and pieces that make up who we that we are often ashamed of and try to hide from others. Their presence is strong within us, and these elements have the ability to take over when we aren’t careful. The thing that many of us don’t realize is that these parts of ourselves have a purpose and can be just what Is needed to propel us to new and greater heights in our lives.

For me, it is the need for control that really stands out. I have struggled with a need to control my environment and manage the outcome of situations for a long time. It got to the point that if I was going to make a move in life at all, I’d have to consider every single potential scenario in order to have multiple plans in place based on any number of possibilities I conjured up in my head. I’d spend hours and hours obsessing over a particular situation to that point that I’d sometimes find it difficult to make a decision at all.

Aside from constantly being in my own head, the primary problems came due to the fact that there were circumstances and people involved that I couldn’t control despite all the planning in the world. I simply could not anticipate nor manage every single event. That is not to say I didn’t try, much to my own detriment. What I’ve only recently realized, however, is that this need to control, instead of trying to rid myself of this need to be, can be harnessed and used to my advantage. This characteristic can be seen as a positive in my life, as opposed to a negative. It just depends on how I choose to utilize it and that can be true for anyone.

One of my favorite songs by singer/songwriter Hozier is called Arsonist’s Lullaby. The bridge goes: “All you have is your fire and the place you need to reach, don’t you ever tame your demons but always keep them on a leash. “

The first time I heard this song, it struck a chord with me. Those lyrics specifically, because to me they are saying that there are things in you that can rage out of control, not unlike a fire, and if not kept in check they will wreak havoc in your life. However, you don’t want to suppress or diminish those elements of your personality, instead you want to manage and direct them. They are part of us, they stick with us, and they can help us to accomplish awesome things in our lives. In life we should always be learning and always be moving toward the ‘places we want to reach.’ We are meant to grow and evolve, not to say stagnant; these parts of our personalities can be the fuel we need to get where we want to go.

While I do not see happiness in life as a destination, I do think that having a goal or a purpose gives us both joy and a level of peace; I know this is true for me. I have long felt this sort of unease, almost like this niggling feeling deep within me telling me to do something, but I don’t know what. I am often restless, dissatisfied, and irritable for no particular reason and am always trying to find a solution to alleviate these feelings. It truly wasn’t until I started this blog that I felt I was pouring my energy into something that seemed… sustainable. Having a place that I can communicate with others the things that I am passionate about has opened up something in me that I didn’t know existed and has only solidified the lessons I’ve learned. I feel more content than I ever have, and I know that if it weren’t for that part of my personality, the part that needs to be in control, I wouldn’t be on this journey right now.

Having an internal need to control my life has created a lot of difficulty for me, and it took a long time for me to realize this about myself. When I finally did, I was thankful to be able to see it for what it was. Once I was able to identify it, I decided to do my part in not allowing my need to control to compound difficulties I was already experiencing. I had to learn how to accept the things that were out of my control, which was basically anything external to me. That was the bad news. The good news was I had a heck of a lot of control over the things that were within me. The more I understood this, the more exciting the whole concept became. Going on to find information and evidence to back this idea while also making it a reality in my own life has reinforced this belief to the point that I now want to create a whole blog around it!

While I have always had an overwhelming need to control, I have mostly felt out of control and vulnerable. Discovering how to search inside myself and going on to realize that I am in control of the things that truly shape my life has basically become my primary focus and is the central message of my blog. I’ve learned to direct what once was an unhealthy fixation into a way to empower myself and others. For anyone, learning to take those parts of ourselves that we deem to be unwanted or unattractive and transforming them into something that positively adds to our lives is challenging and requires that we look to find the driving cause.

I have discovered that my need for control is clearly driven by fear. Understanding this has helped me see why. When you gain that kind of insight in yourself, you don’t just act blindly anymore. That is a scary thought to a degree, because with knowledge comes responsibility, and we can no longer lean on ignorance as an excuse for our actions once we know better. Be aware that guilt may set in as we find that these unwanted bits of ourselves can be hurtful to others and ourselves; coming to the understanding that we have more say in this than we initially realized will likely be painful. While this is a reality, we need to be able to forgive ourselves so that we can move forward in a more positive direction. With knowledge also comes power, and this is the message we should concentrate on. Don’t pretend like those certain parts of yourself just simply don’t exist, put all the cards on the table so you have an accurate picture of who you are, which then will allow you to create a better self.

Once you have this self-awareness, try to identify when these elements of your personality actually come in handy and build on it. Nothing is all good or all bad. Take my husband, who gets angered fairly easily. He will not hesitate to get in a confrontation with someone over things that from my perspective are meaningless. This can be problematic as one might imagine. I see how this creates a lot of unnecessary stress in his life and is something he certainly needs to get a better hold on. However, it can be useful as well. Recently, when there was a child that was being aggressive with our son, my husband did not pause to deal with the situation, he went directly to the school and talked to multiple teachers. There has yet to be a follow-up incident.

My husband rarely addresses situations the way I would, but in this instance it was probably for the best. I am often too meek and timid and detest confrontation as I get anxious and overthink the whole thing. I won’t address things at all, or when I do, it just isn’t as effective because I am not being assertive enough. But this is not the case with my husband. He was able to get the situation under control quickly. The takeaway here is that in the right context, this aspect of my husband’s personality was just what was needed to get this particular job done. I’m sure that with some investigation, you will discover the same can apply in your life.

When it comes down to it, everyone is different, and we all struggle with things that we wish we could change about ourselves. But you have to learn to love yourself as you are. Don’t see the various facets of yourself as either all bad or all good. Nothing is black and white — things just aren’t that simple. Be proud of all the pieces that make you who you are. No one else that has ever lived or ever will is put together the way you are; that is the most beautiful thing about human existence. Don’t try to hide or shut off parts of yourself, rather build and grow them to your benefit. Use the fire that lies inside of you, harness it, and set this world ablaze!