We all have an inner saboteur, and at some point in our lives, we may have been majorly affected by it. Have you ever kept yourself from going on a job interview, because you thought you weren’t good enough? Have you ever listened to that negative, inner voice tell you something that you start to believe? It’s that pesky, annoying part of ourselves that craves negativity, and can steer our mind from succeeding in life.
It can create worry over an upcoming event. It’s that part of us that can tell us we are no good, ugly, or fat. It can tell us that we have no talent, we will never succeed, or we will never find our soul mate. It could make us feel sick, fearful, nervous, anxious, or even crazy. It could tell us that we don't deserve a good life. It allows us to get lazy, procrastinate, and even miss out on events that could alter our lives for the better. It’s that part of ourselves that lives in fear and can beat us down, if we allow it.
Maybe this “saboteur” was born through a childhood experience? Maybe someone told you over and over again something negative about you until you believed it, even if it wasn't true. Maybe someone made you feel insecure, which left you with a feeling you held onto over time. Maybe this saboteur stemmed from a fear and anxiety over something that you can’t let go of, thus turning into an internal struggle within yourself.
So how can you break free from yours, especially if you have lived with one for so long, and it seems to be a part of you?
I have found different approaches out there, mostly to “accept” your inner saboteur, because it’s a part of you, and honestly, this is something that we learn as yoga instructors. But, with the type of saboteurs I have lived with over the years, it took more than acceptance to help me keep mine at bay. I offer you something that is a bit more concrete, so, if you are having trouble with your inner saboteur, and find it hard to accept that this is a part of you, you may want to give this a try.
What has worked great for me, is to start by creating an image of what my inner saboteur looks like. So, close your eyes, relax your body, and look deep into what this image may look like. Ask yourself, “What does my inner saboteur look like?” It could look like anything, just be sure to go with your first thought. (It took all of about a couple of seconds to have an image pop into my mind.) Once the image is there, hold on it it. Stare at it. I stared at mine, looking at all the details about him, to the point I could almost reach out and touch him. This was my way of getting that picture stuck in my mind, so when I wanted to find him again, it would be easier.
I ended up picturing him as a little monster. He is kind of a square-ish, short, cartoon-y looking creature with big teeth and big eyes. I created this vision of him, and made him so real in my mind, that he is almost palpable. By creating this vision of him, it gives my mind a point of reference, some “thing” to direct my mind to, instead of just random thoughts. It’s like seeing a book in front of me, instead of scattered papers everywhere.
So, when I start to hear that inner negative voice, I can more easily recognize that picture I created in my mind. I have given these negative thoughts a face. By putting a face on it, and making it into an entity, it becomes a physical thing that I can talk to, as well as push aside.
So, when I start to feel my saboteur sending me sensations and worry, and scattered thoughts, I would find a nice quiet place, close my eyes and tap to it. I can call upon my inner saboteur to first try and reason with him. I could give him a voice, and ask him why he feels that way about me, or why he thinks I should listen to him. He could respond, or he could be stubborn. Mine are typically stubborn, so I may find myself saying things like "knock it off" to him. I watch him stop smiling his evil grin, and look away frustrated. If the thoughts are something that doesn't affect me too much, I can just tell him to go away, which sometimes may work. I can watch him turn away and walk in the opposite direction with his head held low. If the thought prevails, I can tell him more intensely to "Go AWAY!!" If there is no reason behind his accusations about me, I try to tell myself that there is no reason for me to worry about these thoughts, for they are “just thoughts”.
If that doesn't work, I have pictured myself running up to him and chasing him away. For those more intense thoughts and feelings, like those that have stemmed from childhood, I have found myself even punching or kicking him away, and yell at him to "stop bothering me!" It sounds weird, but try it! This may sound violent, but there is something to be said about winning a fight with your saboteur. I have found that I enjoy kicking him away in my mind, since its like watching a football being kicked across a field. I can even make it funny, by adding a sound to my thoughts of him saying “AHHHEEeeeeeee”, as he flies thru the sky. At that moment of watching him soar, makes him a bit less frightening, and makes me feel a bit more empowered. I take a moment to feel that inner strength within me, and watch myself walk in the opposite direction. Having a "win" against your saboteur can be very healing, and taps into the inner strength you have inside. When you have these moments, embrace them. Bring a smile to your face and take a moment to revel in the moment. Once you start having more "wins", it becomes easier and easier to deal with this inner voice of sabotage.
Remember that we have choices. We can allow our thoughts to take over, or we can do something about them.
This process has really helped me realize that those negative thoughts and feelings aren't "me", and not the person I want to be. It can separate out who "you" are, and the negative thoughts and feelings you don’t want in your lives.
Let go of your inner saboteur, chase him away, or fight him and win! Notice how you feel after you win that first round. It becomes much easier to win more rounds the more you practice this technique. Unfortunately, he will come back over and over again, and especially in the beginning. But over time, it becomes easier to recognize your own negative thoughts before you have to call on your image. This makes it easier to release those negative thoughts before they get out of control.
So who is YOUR saboteur? Who is this guy anyway? Allow yourself the freedom from negativity. Allow yourself to be more empowered. Find the inner strength within you, let him go, and onward to your fabulous life!!
With peace and love.. XO
Michelle has a BS, E-RYT, YACEP, CHN, CLYL, and Y12SRL.