The Secret to Managing the Saboteur – But You Won’t Like It

Saboteur 3Is there anything worse, really, than the Inner Critic ranting at you about one thing or another?

Not for me.

Here you are, trying to stick to your fitness routine and then – BAM! Your little inner rascal puts thumb on nose, waves its fingers at you, singing that universal obnoxious ditty – “Na na na na na, you’re not gon-na ma-a-a-ke it.”

You really want to feel stronger in your body and stick to your plan and yet too often you can sense the cloud of self-sabotage waiting in the wings like some foul smell.

That Saboteur just loves to ruin it. Suddenly, for two days in a row, you don’t feel like going to the gym. And you know that after three days, it will get harder.

Or you’ve been losing weight steadily and then you get on the scale and you are 2 pounds down – ONLY! What? After all that work, depriving yourself of desserts, going to the gym, that’s it? 

“ This is not going to work,” hisses that S.O.B Gremlin. “Who’s going to look at you anyway? May as well give up. You’ll always be alone.”

I have had those very same conversations and worse.

You Are Not a Victim

Let’s get really clear here. You are in charge. Yes. You.

However, you’ve had a lifetime’s worth of practice, entertaining your negative inner voices, haven’t you?

As soon as they come, what do you do? 

Let’s say your friend were talking to you and saying, “You’re such a loser. You’re not enough. You’ll never make it.”  How long would you be in that relationship? Hopefully not at all.

The Saboteur is there for one reason and one reason alone – to keep you exactly where you have always been. It loves the status quo.

Don’t bother to ask why, because you won’t get any answers that will satisfy you or make it go away. For that, you need a different tactic.

Observe Your Thoughts

Thoughts just are. They come and go all the time, some days, louder and darker than others. Some days our inner self-talk is kind or benign.

Imagine a concert at a large stadium, and what it’s like getting out at the end. Pretty congested. Maybe you’re not even sure which way to go or you feel claustrophobic.

Now, if you are in a helicopter watching the masses below, you are able to see the lay of the land and the individual streets and how you might find your way.

Up and away from the crowds, no longer pushed and squeezed, detached from the scene below, there is breathing room and spaciousness.

Your thoughts need to be treated that way too.

You can watch them as they show up, then step back and away as if you were in a helicopter.

See them. Notice them. Hear them.

And you don’t have to believe them.

In fact, pushing away, seeing the un-truth and coming up with a thought that’s life-supporting rather than life-destroying – this is your job.

It’s your job to bring lovingkindness and compassion to yourself so if you hear that voice making you feel hopeless, you watch it, notice, and tell yourself the truth.

Saboteur 2I can tell you that these voices get quieter as you get present and conscious to what is going on and as you observe and notice them.

Then, as you step back and witness those thoughts, you are less likely to identify with them or take them seriously. 

And because you understand how the Saboteur works, how married it is to having things stay the same and never change, you can see the lie, you can name the lie, and you do not have to give in.

You know that the Saboteur-Tyrant wants to keep you in your place, and that’s not where you want to be.

You can tell the Saboteur, “I may not be where I want to be yet – and I’m on my way.” You are in charge because you are not your thoughts.

You are the witness and observer in that natural, neutral place that is your heart and not your head. And in any case, YOU are in charge.

You do not have to let your Saboteur bully you under any circumstances. If the voice isn’t kind and loving, look for the lie.

Look for what’s not true about what it is saying.

That’s Not Easy, You Say?

Oh yes, it is. It gets easier every day that you practice Presence, awareness and staying conscious. You need to notice what that voice is saying.

It gets easy because you get to practice.

Now if you were a professional classical musician playing for an orchestra, you would be practicing daily even after years at it.

If you were a writer, same thing. Every day, for a set amount of time you would be consistently writing.

If you were an architect, how long do you think mastery would take? Years. Yes. And practical application. Yes.

Plumbers, cooks, photographers are not born knowing what to do.

So why do you think that managing your mind would be less work than that? Not so.

Anything and everything that you and I ever wanted to BE and DO takes time and practice, and lots of it. To get good takes perseverance, dedication, and keeping the purpose in mind.

(I told you that you wouldn’t like what I had to say.)

We like everything to come easy, like instant coffee, which doesn’t taste all that great.

Cinderella in BluePractice – that’s the secret.

Mastery is a journey.

Growing up and into who you really are is a process. You don’t give up today just because you don’t feel like it. You are in it for the long haul.

Your negative voices are internalized and they need better and truer ones to replace them, so you can offer a the truth: “ I know that I am on the right path and I will make it for the sake of what matters most to me. I am enough and I am doing this. One small step at a time

If you know that the Saboteur is only there to keep you stuck in your (not-really-so-comfortable) comfort zone, then you can stand back, detach from the thoughts and observe them.

Decide that you will learn how to do that so that you can be in charge and not be on autopilot.

The Saboteur wants to keep you in your whiny, victim-y, complain-y place because then, you don’t have to make the effort to keep your eye on the purpose and on the impact that you want to make in the world.

This way, you won’t have to flex those Leader muscles and stay the course for the one wild and wonderful life you can have.

So keep a vigilant eye. And better yet, a vigilant body. Because the Saboteur’s words will have an impact on your physical body.

Suddenly, you’ll feel bad, your gut tight, your heart tender.

Notice what you might have been telling yourself.

And then watch your body relax again as you soothe yourself with a truer and more positive truth. You want your better life and you are worth it. You simply have to have your back and stand up for what you want.

Know what you want. Make up a better story for yourself. Listen to a different inner voice, a helper, someone other than the Saboteur. Dream up a kind and loving Wise Woman.

Use your imagination. You’ve been using it all this time and casting spells on yourself that are disempowering. Make something up – new and life-giving. 

Cultivate lovingkindness, compassion and the observer stance that will give you freedom.

Ask for help to learn how to make this a great life for yourself. You don’t have to do it alone. Book a complimentary Clarity Session here.

Over To You

  • The Saboteur usually collects the same evidence against you and tells you the same things. What are they for you?

  • What will you do to remind yourself of your commitment to stay the course? How can you  summon up the Inner Wise One to speak to your Saboteur? If you have a plan, you will succeed.

  • What do you need help with to make this massive change?

Please Pass It On

If you liked this blog, please share it. Click on the icons below. And leave a comment. Write. Tell me what you think and ask questions. I will respond.

When you write, readers learn that they are not alone.

Be vulnerable. It looks good on you.

 © Miriam Linderman 2014

Top Photo credit: Doug Kline / Foter / CC BY
Middle Photo credit: Marco Senche / Foter / CC BY-SA
Bottom Photo credit: Tokissi / Foter / CC BY-ND
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  1. Dear Miriam, thank you so much for this wonderful message! It is exactly what I needed.

  2. April, I am so happy to hear that. It will get easy, and you will be able to shift your thinking quicker and quicker.

  3. Fantastic article! I love the reminder that this is a process….a process that takes time and patience. Thank you for articulating this so beautifully!

  4. Barb. Everything takes time, doesn’t it? Glad to hear your comments.Thanks.

  5. Great article, Miriam! I love the helicopter metaphor. We have to try to see our own thoughts from outside ourselves so that we can see them objectively and from a wider angle. I also love the S.O.B. Gremlin pics…lol

  6. Lauren, so glad the helicopter metaphor connected! And I was beginning to wonder about those Gremlin pictures and if they were scaring readers away! Thanks for the feedback.

  7. Suzanne Van Elslande October 15, 2014 — 8:52 am

    Thanks Miriam!! I really enjoyed this, as I do everything I read of yours. I especially like the kind and loving wise woman concept. It’s much warmer than the HP (Higher Power) vision I’ve been working on. I need one of these to offset that inner critic. I know I need to be mindful of what I allow my mind, and that yes, I am in charge of that. Thank you for sharing this!!

  8. Suzanne, I’m so glad that you are inspired. We’ve dialogued so long with the critic that of course it’s deep within. Now, we build a new muscle that builds a relationship with the Inner Wise Woman or Wise Man to hold the inner child and soul-bird when we need it. XO

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