It happened late one Friday night. I had a beer in my hand and I was tired. Very tired. The words just popped out: "Release your immortal elephant."
I had been playing with my dog and was watching him wrestle and kill his little elephant toy, over and over. Every time it was moved, he would attack it with gusto and drag it back to his bed, only for the cycle to start again several minutes later. I saw strange parallels to human behaviour.
My mind picked up a gear and I was raving about life, negativity, and how everyone is weighing themselves down by dragging around an immortal elephant. For a second I wondered if I had (finally) gone crazy but I knew I was on to something when Sophie actually started nodding in agreement.
The Immortal Elephant
The Immortal Elephant is a metaphor for the negativity that holds you back in life. It weighs you down, it controls your actions, it invades your life, it restricts your focus, and no matter how hard you want to kill it it just will not die. The immortal elephant sucks.
The Immortal Elephant can be any form of negativity in your life, but generally it's the big stuff. For me, my elephant is/was self-doubt. Several years ago my life was riddled with negativity, especially about myself. Everything I did I thought I could have (and should have) done better, and I was constantly beating myself up about almost everything; my looks, my job, my lack of "success" and so on. It was not a happy time.
Late one night I stumbled upon some self improvement material online and I began changing my life. I learned to love and respect myself, I developed self confidence, I realised my thoughts were valid and that I did not have to agree with others, and I acknowledged that I did not have to be perfect as long as I always had good intentions and welcomed improvement. Finally, I had grown into the man I was supposed to be and it felt amazing. No, it felt better than amazing.
My big fat negative elephant was no longer haunting my life, bringing me down and preventing me from achieving. Had I done what everyone wishes they could do? Had I killed my immortal elephant?
No, it's immortal silly. But I had released it, which is even better.
Releasing the Immortal Elephant
The elephant is immortal because there is always negativity in our lives, and having become so used to fueling our lives with negative energy (stress, anger, resentment, laziness) it is all too easy fall back into those habits and forget all the positive work you have done. The elephant feeds on this negative energy and becomes stronger.
Releasing the immortal elephant is about letting go of the negativity in your life instead of fighting it. Just let it be. If someone in your life is angry towards you then just accept them as negative and move yourself in more positive direction. If you have negative thoughts about yourself do not get worked up about them, but acknowledge they are valid representations of your current mindset. If you have friends that use you, or cause distress in your life, then move on. Just like the schoolyard bully, the elephant goes away when ignored.
Once you start releasing your negativity, instead of holding on to and fighting it, you will notice a big shift in your life. You will naturally become happier, you will accept others as who they are, you will identify yourself and grow as a person, and you will learn to cultivate only those situations in life that bring prosperity, happiness, and positivity. Which leads me to the best part of this crazy metaphor.
Get the Elephant on Your Side
Not only does releasing the elephant have a dramatic effect on your life but it also affects the elephant too. I mentioned above that your immortal elephant feeds on your negative energy but this is only part of the story. Your immortal elephant feeds on ANY energy; positive or negative, and these energies have polar opposite effects.
Feeding your elephant with negativity will create an angry, stressful, and chaotic elephant running amok in your life. This elephant is your enemy.
Feeding your elephant with positivity creates a strong, happy, and supportive elephant that nurtures and protects you. This elephant is your best friend.
A positive elephant is the best kind of immortal elephant. It follows you around, supporting and encouraging you, and it is always ready to squash out any negativity that pops up in your life. Feed your elephant with positivity and get it on your side, working with you not against you.
What the Hell am I Talking About?
For those wondering what substance I am taking right now, the answer is none. I am naturally this bizarre. I see the world quite differently to most people and often it is very hard to explain. If this entire metaphor was too much for you perhaps this (non-elephant) summary will help:
- Negativity is infectious and debilitating.
- Release negativity from your life instead of holding on to it.
- Surround yourself with positive actions and relationships.
- I like elephants.
So, what negativity in your life are you holding on to?
Update 5/5/11: If you find it hard to rid yourself of negativity try reading my article on How To Harness Your Negative Emotions To Make Positive Changes