Yesterday, I wrote a post called Revealing the Saboteur. Today, I thought I'd give the concept a bit more air time because the saboteurs are such rich territory for discussion about what keeps us playing small in the world and feeling uninspired.
Remember, the role of the saboteur is to keep us in the comfort zone, but comfort can be a double edged sword. Comfort can keep us from taking risks that lead to transformative change in our lives.
I recall a time in my life when I was ruled by them, it was a dark period of time when I had experienced a lot of loss. While I've recovered from this time, I'm still often impacted by the magnified voices of my saboteurs whenever I get close to taking a chance, or making a change or getting too close to someone in case I get hurt, or fail again.
Then, throughout my coaches training, one of the exercises helped me to reveal them for what they were. What a difference it made to me to distinguish the saboteur from my actual self and then see them in the light. In other words, our saboteurs do not define us. They are players from the past we've created that may no longer serve their original purpose.
It made me realize that I'd let their voices get very loud and I was avoiding all kinds of new opportunities because I would "sabotoge" myself! Also, those voices had shamed me into silence. I was unwilling to share the negative thoughts I'd been having about myself. I was embarrassed that I'd been self-loathing, afraid, doubtful. It's not who I am, and yet... why was I feeling this way?
Which brings me to this point:
If saboteurs are able to operate covertly and shadow-box around us, landing punches undetected, we will continue to struggle and suffer. However, if they are brought to light, looked at, explored and then revealed, while we can't ever eliminate them from our lives, we can substantially loosen their grip!
Something I learned, is that saboteurs are born from good intentions. Each one of those negative voices in our psyche originated from a time in our lives when they served a positive purpose. For example, they might have warned of danger, pointed out a risk, or given a way to cope with a situation that was out of control.
Let me give you an example:
One of my saboteurs is called "the survivor" and for the purpose of my training, I even had to name him! Sloan always shows up when situations get hectic or start to feel overwhelming. He originated when I was a child, and could not fend for myself in chaotic situations where there was a lot of emotion. His trademark is to want to build a wall around me, or advise me to flee, numb, or check out when things feel too complicated. He often tries to convince me not to get too close to people because I might get hurt and he usually isn't very supportive about my capacity to handle difficult situations. He tends to show up when I'm feeling vulnerable.
Until I was able to recognize him, I could not navigate big emotion coming from other people without feeling a sense of panic and overwhelm. I used to need to go lay down after a challenging event, and never seemed to understand why I behaved in this manner. He literally ran the show when ever certain big emotions were present.
So, I can see that when I was a child, I needed this "survivor" to help me cope when things got to be too much. However, his strategy no longer serves me. I'm a grown woman capable of handling myself in challenging situations and I can trust that I now have the skills I need to communicate in moments of crisis or upset.
So know this: Your original saboteurs were born of good intent. So while he/she might have originated to protect you from harm, harm is the only thing he/she is designed to address. The saboteur is just playing the role and just continues to do the job we gave them to do!
Identifying Sloan and his other friends has been incredibly freeing! Now, when I hear the voice(s) of the saboteur, I have a tool for identifying them, where they are coming from, and understanding why.
Do you have Saboteurs in your life? Do you have an interest in revealing them so that they no longer run the show? Click here for more information on our 60 minute Smart Coaching sessions, by phone. Not only will we reveal your saboteurs, but we will also reveal so much more about your life-purpose, and reignite your passion and access to a more joy-filled existence.