With Halloween approaching, it seems like a good time to talk about those ghosts and ghouls that haunt us and keep us from achieving our dreams. I am talking about those negative voices in our heads, you know the ones that tell us we are stupid, lazy, fat, not-trying-hard-enough. Yeah, those ones. Those voices keep us from choosing growth, change, and transformation. In fact, their job is to prevent change, to keep us “safe”…which often equates to stuck. So, when we are creating change in our life or are going through transition in career, relationship, or life they are especially vocal.
I call these voices saboteurs, because they tend to sabotage our dreams and stilt our growth. These saboteurs have lots of excuses and they sound very rational, but they are not to be trusted. They do not have our best interests at heart. Yes, they think they are helping, they think they are protecting us from loss, rejection, pain. “If you don’t try for that promotion you won’t feel bad if you are passed over”. The problem is if you don’t try for that promotion, you will never get promoted. See the problem with listening to the saboteur? The saboteurs keeps us small, scared and unwilling to try, to grow, to achieve.
There are several ways you can deal with these goblins in your life. You can simply ignore them and try to focus on something else. It is often helpful to focus on your dreams and goals when a saboteur rears its ugly head. Another strategy is name and personify them. This can give you a way to identify a saboteur when it shows up and deal with it rapidly, before its voice starts to sound deceptively like your own. It is also helpful to identify and cultivate the positive voices in your head and to dialog with them. Just as we each have several negative voices, each of us has a host of positive voices or internal allies, such as the part of us who can appreciate everything, even in challenging situations, or the patient one, or the curious one who, like a child can see any situation with joy and innocence.