Why Do Our Saboteurs Crop Up When We Make Changes In Our Lives?

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Signature:baed3687aecc9fc02b05e033f52ab04b5ac34144c6f0702c4e0cfe36f9d34041We all have them – gremlins, an inner critic, a ‘heavy’ whose purpose is to keeps us from making mistakes and helps us please – and avoid – upsetting others. The problem is that because these gremlins have been with us since we were very young – they have a habit of over-reacting. And not only do THEY over-react, but WE take them so seriously!

“Ooooooh, now look what you’ve done! DON’T do that! NO! You did WHAT? What are you playing at? Bad boy! Bad girl! You’re so LAZY! Get up and DO something! Who do you think you are? You should be ASHAMED! No? You’re so SELFISH!”

How do we feel after saying that to ourselves? Pretty crappy! Welcome to your saboteur…

Why your saboteur crops up when you make changes:

One of the biggest ironies (and difficulties) in our personal development is that in order to learn, grow and achieve our dreams – we need to get OUT of our comfort zone and take risks. BUT, the MORE we step out of our comfort zone, the MORE our saboteurs crop up.

Well, your saboteur is simply afraid. Afraid you will be rejected, abandoned, fail, get into trouble. It is trying to protect you – and the only way it knows how is what was modelled by the adults around you when you were little. (Yelling) “STOP! Take your finger out of that electrical socket now!” (Threat) “If you don’t put that down/stop crying NOW I’ll…” (Anger/Shaming) “What did you think you were doing? Have you any idea…?”

This is how your saboteur learned to talk to you when you were small. The problem is now you’re all grown up – and the saboteur is still behaving as if you were 4 years old, and what you’re about to do will endanger your life or get you into trouble with people you need to take care of you!

How to handle your saboteurs and gremlins:

Your saboteur focuses ONLY on the NEGATIVES – and pulls you into a world of fear. It’s easy to focus on the negative side of risk – getting hurt, someone getting angry, losing money, a job, love. The list goes on. But if there was ONLY a negative side to taking risks, we wouldn’t do it!

To handle your saboteurs and gremlins, you need to 1) recognize your personal saboteurs/gremlins when they crop up and 2) reassure your frightened saboteur that you CAN and will HANDLE it. After all, you’re grown-up now.

You may need to say something to your gremlin like, “I KNOW what I’m doing so you can relax” or “I can see you’re scared, but I HAVE this”. But you WILL need to step up and let your gremlin, critic, saboteur know that yes, you KNOW you’re taking a risk – and crucially – that you can HANDLE any negative consequences.

To take risks (and learn and grow) we need to be AWARE of the negatives, at the same time as we FOCUS on the POSITIVES.

Asking for a raise at work? Of course you can handle a “No”. It might hurt, but you CAN handle it. Maybe it’s you saying no to your mom or your boss. Yes, they may be hurt, upset or angry. Yes, it might affect your career. But you CAN handle it. Telling someone how you really feel? Yes, it’s scary to be vulnerable like that, but you CAN handle it.

And if we ARE rejected? If we really do hurt someone’s feelings? If we are judged? Well, that’s the joy of risk-taking and stepping out of our comfort zones. Taking a risk is simply the balance between a required and an unwanted outcome – you might ‘win’ and you might ‘lose’. Exciting isn’t it!

And that’s your journey. If you don’t try, you won’t learn and move forwards. We MUST take risks. And if your saboteur is showing up more than usual? It’s a sign that you’re finally growing up and leaving home! CONGRATULATIONS.

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2 Responses to Why Do Our Saboteurs Crop Up When We Make Changes In Our Lives?

  1. Reem says:

    one of the best articles about saboteurs online. love this blog!

    • Emma-Louise says:

      Dear Reem, thank-you! I appreciate you taking the time to comment – and that is high praise indeed 🙂 Warmly, Emma-Louise

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