To innovate, to create something new – to move beyond what you are and into what you want to be – you have to kill your darlings.
Darlings are precious little things. I’ve become accustomed to holding onto them when I need to feel comforted. What are my darlings?
• I love my little charts and graphs. Give me some numbers, and I’ll make them visual.
• Analyzing people is a favorite past time. Finding an origin issue, yes please! Pointing out a pattern of behavior? I’d love to!
• Justified anger. Give me a social justice issue and I’ll gladly yell about it from the top of my lungs.
• Gossiping. Whispering little things about people.
• Cutting myself down so I never get too big.
I love my little darlings, big and small. When I feel scared I can fall into them. After years of clutching onto them I’ve begun to wonder: how are they serving me? Are they serving anyone else?
• Yes, probably.
• Not really.
• Hell no.
• Oh. No.
How do you kill a darling when you love it so much? Can you drown it or bury it six feet under? That seems doubtful and unlikely. But it’s a question I’ve spent months thinking about.
When you finally know and see the things you can overcome to move onto something better why do we stop jumping? Is getting angry about a social issue and screaming about it really serving anyone? Not really. Is whispering little things about people I know helping myself or another person? No, it is not. And ultimately, do any of these things make me feel better about myself? No, they don’t.
Darlings are like sleeping on an old mattress. You know what it’s like – you know every curve and divot. You’re accustomed to what laying on it will feel like. But the longer you lay in that same spot the more your body aches. The support has worn out, bed bugs are starting to crawl, and you really need to get new mattress.
So for the last few months, killing my darlings has been my goal. And as much as I hate cliches, here’s what I’ve been attempting to do to help me move forward.
1) See a darling
2) Confront it, and then ask
3) Am I reacting out of fear and anger? Or am I reacting out of love and kindness?
4) If its fear and anger – try to abort. If it’s love and kindness, try to go for that.
I don’t know how long it will take to kill these things, but I’m guessing a while. They’ve been here for decades, so why would they just cease overnight?
But, I’m trying.