PART 1: INTRODUCTION
Letting Go of your inner Saboteur is important work for us all to do. Our saboteurs are inner agents specializing in self sabotage.
An unsettling classroom experience near the start of his second year in his Stanford MBA Program caused a personal crisis for Shirzad Chamine and led him to the work he’s doing more than a quarter century later. It was about to teach him a life lesson about Letting Go of your inner Saboteur. The 1987 class was Interpersonal Dynamics, nicknamed “Touchy-Feely” for the way it has highly analytical students explore the softer side of business. One day, students took turns telling their classmates how each was coming across, and one after another, they told Chamine that he gave the impression of constantly and secretly judging them — even a classmate whom Chamine greatly admired. It became clear, his genial façade wasn’t fooling anyone.
Devastated by this feedback, he panicked that he had no clue how to change. Within two weeks, though, Chamine, who had grown up in a turbulent, emotionally abusive home, had a helpful insight. Noticing judgmental behaviors that he thought others might be using as well in an effort to disguise insecurities, he poured out his thoughts into a five-page typed letter to first-year students. The letter touched its audience, especially the many students stressed or saddened by academic and social pressure — so much so that 26 years later, it is still in circulation among students. After receiving “tons of thank-you letters,” the 1988 graduate knew he was on to something. “That’s when I felt reassured that ‘the judge’ tends to be universal,” even if not in the extreme form he saw in himself. After more reading and soul-searching, he came to think of this judge as what he calls a Saboteur, one of several figurative villains that he says in his work Letting Go of your inner Saboteur, that can reside in normal human minds.
Your mind is your best friend, but it is also your very worst enemy, calling the best-friend part your Sage or Higher Self, the voice of authenticity, calm, and positive emotion. The Saboteurs — which, besides the Judge, include such instantly recognizable types as the Victim, the Avoider, the Hyper-Achiever, and six others — undermine you by triggering anger, anxiety, shame, regret, and other negative emotions. Pretty much all your suffering in life may eventually be self-generated by your Saboteurs.
In this course at Pathways we will learn how to recognize these saboteurs, which ones apply to us specifically, and then how to change the patterns that have become so deeply engraved on our subconscious thinking, feeling and behaviour. Once we admit we are powerless over how we do life in reality and truth, we can start to let go. Then it is time for change.
Consciously Letting Go of your inner Saboteur
Our Saboteurs originate in our youth as part of our protective mechanisms. Saboteurs start off as our guardians to help us survive the real and imagined threats to our physical and emotional survival as children. By the time we are adults, we no longer need them, but they have become invisible inhabitants of our mind. Our Saboteurs’ patterns of thinking, feeling, and reacting become soft-coded in our brain through neural pathways. When these neural pathways are triggered, we are “hijacked” by our Saboteurs and feel, think, and act using their patterns. Saboteurs are your invisible agents of self-sabotage. They represent your brain’s automatic mental habits with limiting beliefs and assumptions about how to handle life’s challenges. They include the Judge, Controller, Avoider, Victim, Stickler and 5 others.
Your Saboteurs cause much of your stress, unhappiness and negative feelings. But the good news is that you can learn to meet your challenges by activating a different voice and region of your brain that performs far better while producing positive feelings like curiosity, empathy, creativity, and peace, with a laser focus on action.
According to the Greek myth, Sisyphus is condemned to roll a rock up to the top of a mountain, only to have the rock roll back down to the bottom every time he reaches the top. The gods were wise, Camus suggests, in perceiving that an eternity of futile labor is a hideous punishment. There is much in the persona of Sisyphus that reflects depression-related transformations of personal character defects – his dishonesty, manipulation, disregard and injury of others, and who could not recognize in Sisyphus’ repetitive attempt to get the stone to the top of the mountain the emotional sufferers compulsive attempt to gain mastery over his or her drug consumption. One can actually imagine Sisyphus’ thoughts and promises as he re-enacts each climb: This time will be different. I just need one more chance. I will stop after this one last effort. Sound familiar? This surely is a type of hell on earth. So why do we keep repeating the cycle until it becomes addictively repetitive?
Find out more about Letting Go of your inner Saboteurs and send us an email for a free mini assignment you can do, or use at home. It includes online links and profiles of each saboteur. Letting Go of your inner Saboteur’s is great personal work for anyone to do. Sign up for our courses, get your membership and connect with www.markllockwood.com more deeply.