Inner Beast: Tough Guy or Something Else
By: Christine Marshall Hersom
Who or What is your inner beast or alter ego? Have one?
When you are working hard or struggling, what do you call on from deep within to help you get the job done or support you to face a fear? Do you think about dialing up a superhero? Do you choose a badass animal to “attack” the situation?
For me, my inner beast has changed over the years depending on certain situations or times in my life. When I participated in the Coach Peggy Real Time docuseries, she asked the cast to choose an inner beast. An identity we could lean into in order to help us become healthier. An energy to build our confidence as we struggled with stepping outside our comfort zones, conquering fear, being reluctant to ask for support, etc. Who or what would give us that inner strength to push us a bit into and through growth. The concept was a bit new to me, but I was willing to lean into it.
I needed to dial in my inner beast nearly every time we taped the docuseries where we aired our dirty laundry so to speak being transparent and authentic with our wellness.
Our inner beast doesn’t have to be a superhero or a famous athlete. It can be a feeling-rough, tough, strong. It can even be you from the past or a “future” you. Your inner beast is a something or someone helping you reduce the odds of freezing up or quitting. Inner beast is a way to attain your goal or perhaps give you comfort and security during hard times.
Although I didn’t recognize it at the time, I have had inner beast support for a long time. As a teenager, I played basketball. Larry Bird was one of my idols. I studied his game strategy. Until I learned about the concept of inner beast this year, I didn’t realize how many times I had called on Larry Bird during tough situations. I didn’t actually call him. But I can see now, I was using this concept. I was a realist and knew I wasn’t literally going to be able to play like him (as if), but I would try to think like him and dial into his fearlessness.
When I was in Junior High, my life changed dramatically. Our family farm was sold, my Dad built a new house, we moved, and my Mom was very ill. Basically, my life spun out of control. I was an avid reader and whenever life became to stressed, I escaped into an open book. I always wanted to be Stephen King. His writing inspired me (and scared the crap out of me). Again, in hindsight, I now realize Stephen King was my inner beast when times were scary. Although he is a horror writer, he is in my humble opinion, a brilliant writer. I would spend hours reading his books, trying to emulate him and finding strength to face turmoil.
For the docuseries, I chose Aquaman as my inner beast. Aquaman’s personality seemed appropriate for this time in my life. He is strong, intelligent and he dives right into the deep end “literally” rather than hanging out, over-thinking, and not being strategic. He doesn’t hang out in the shallow end or just tread water. He goes for it, dives in, face’s the fear and does it anyway. I wanted to “go live” with my journey – that was the first fear I faced as Aquaman.
Diving into a live programming with my wellness journey was scary as hell. I mean really, if I had spent more time overthinking, I would never have done it. Christine might have treaded water and regretted the opportunity while trying to decide whether to participate. Going on television and telling the World why you lost your sense of self and haven’t had regular exercise for ages? Who does that? Aquaman I would – and Aquaman I was. Plus, I love the water and, well duh, Aquaman and I had that in common. No fear – dive in. Aquaman still pops up every now and then on my current wellness journey, however, I actually have my fourth inner beast in my lifetime. I am a Navy Seal.
As a Navy Seal, I often have to drag myself through tough waters to continue to increase my exercise intensity to the next level. The strength of a Navy Seal is physical, mental and emotional. They are strong, focused, and strategic. I need to be all of these things to move to the next level of not only physical fitness, but with food choices or improving other areas of my life such as keeping my boundaries and not giving up my personal time to others.
It can be very challenging to assign your inner beast. Start with thinking about what emotions come up often for you? And whose image pops up when you think of conquering those unhealthy emotions? Maybe your inner beast could be your grandfather or a friend who beat cancer? Maybe your inner beast is a fictional character. At different times in your life, you have called on an inner strength and may not have realized you did.
Though this process may seem silly or not of value, I challenge you to identify and even name your inner beast. Is your inner strength a superhero, writer, basketball star, Navy Seal? Or is your inner beast an animal, actor, next door neighbor? There are no rules in defining your inner beast. Who or what can give you strength at the time you need it most? And, remember your inner beasts may change over time with different circumstances.
So, if you have some time today, think about who your inner beast might be. Do you pick them based on their strengths, intelligence, personality? Let me know who it is and why? You will be amazed at who and what comes to mind. And who and what they might do for you in the future.
Christine Marshall Hersom
All Things Wellness, LLC
Hop over to Coach Peggy’s fun 3-Part Inner Beast Facebook posts where she shared her Inner Beast: Athena.