So, you know what you need to do, you’ve set your goals and really want to succeed, but something keeps throwing you off course as though as soon as you get your goals wired in someone comes and cuts those wires.
It’s time to meet your Inner Saboteur!
It’s incredibly frustrating; so many well-meant goals and deeply desired journeys of change end in dust and ashes. We set out with determination and good intentions, but something very powerful is working against us. This unseen force is your Inner Saboteur.
So, who is this Inner Saboteur and why is it so keen to frustrate your plans? Well, in part, it’s our old friend the Ego. The Ego is the part of your sub-conscious life that is keen to protect you. The Ego is formed over time – usually in childhood and early adulthood – by an interaction between the events of growing up and our evolutionarily driven fight or flight response.
Events or circumstances that frightened us as we grew created habits of self-protection. The Ego learned these habits quickly and deeply and now believes them to be essential to your survival.
The good news is that we can ‘hack’ these habits and build new ones as soon as we know how to communicate with our Ego and learn how to heal old wounds and restructure our instinctive reactions.
I find it helpful to think of the Ego as a collection of Inner Children. Key moments in my childhood ‘programmed’ particular ways of responding into my day-to-day habits. The trouble is that, although these may have seemed perfectly reasonable for a 7-year-old, they don’t work for a 55 year old.
So, how do you hack these habits?
Look back along the timeline of your life (especially your childhood) and identify key times when you felt frightened or threatened. Look for events such as parental disruption, significant bereavement, turbulence in friendship groups and bullying, or disruptive house moves.
Bring into your imagination the person you were when these things happened. May their image strong and vivid.
Ask them how they are, what their afraid of, what has hurt them.
Listen for the answer and don’t judge them.
With an attitude of compassion and curiosity, allow hurts and fears to be expressed and commit, as your adult self, to always being ready to take time to listen to those fears and be ready to offer reassurance and kindness.
Your Inner Saboteur doesn’t hate you. On the contrary, she loves you and wants to protect you because she feels afraid. If you can reassure her, then the fear will dissipate and the need to sabotage scary new goals will gradually be brought under control.
Of course, by far the best way to work through this is under the guidance of a great coach, so if you’d like to work with me, you can find me in all the usual places, but especially at www.davidlinaker.com