The way conventional thinkers and unconventional thinkers perceive things are different in so many ways. Unconventional thinkers dig deeper into what can be seen by the naked eyes. They see failures as opportunities and difficulties as challenges or stepping stones into something greater.

Some unconventional thinkers end up with more demons than most people. Often it’s because the world around them didn’t understand them or accept them. Even as adults, though especially as children, we care about what others think of us. When we aren’t accepted, we wonder what’s wrong with us – or what’s wrong with them! To survive without the approval of the tribe, we come up with all kinds of reactions and beliefs to protect ourselves.

Most psychotherapists and personal growth teachers are very clear that we have to release those negative demons first to create positive change. There are many systems and paths you can follow, but there is one basic concept that I think is important: You can’t release the negative by waging war on it!

In Western culture, we wage war on just about everything. War on Crime, War on Drugs, War on AIDS – we think the best way to rid ourselves of something is to put up a good fight against it. Our societal model for dealing with anything negative is like the legend of Saint George: We draw our swords and rush into battle with any dragons in our path. We get so caught up in the heroics of the fight that we barely notice that our efforts aren’t working. We celebrate people who overcome their challenges by fighting their way forward. The concept of surrender has gotten a bad reputation in the Western world. It’s associated with “failure,” and in war, the last thing you ever want to do is surrender.

The problem is that whatever you attack just becomes stronger. When you fight something, you focus your energy on it and feed that energy until eventually it can become stronger than you are. Eastern cultures and many forms of psychology understand this, so they take a different approach to releasing the negative. In Eastern culture, it’s called surrender. In forms of Western psychology and religion, it’s called acceptance.

Most Western psychologists recognize that we have to accept, not resist, our negative thoughts and emotions in order to release them. Therapists use all sorts of techniques, from primal screams to pounding pillows to journaling, to help us acknowledge our demons.

Just as there are many paths in Western psychology for releasing negativity, there are numerous practices in Eastern philosophies and religions.

Whatever path you choose to release your demons to make way for a flourishing mindset, remember that these beliefs are housed within your unconscious and your body. To be effective, the process must help you release your demons on all those levels, not just the conscious