Overcoming your Inner Saboteur

We all have that irritating little voice that preys upon our fears and insecurities, aka the inner saboteur. It makes hard situations seem even worse, our successes less relevant, and failures more significant than they are. But how do you shut it out and grow out of it?

Find the Root

The first step is to distinguish what the root of these destructive thoughts is. We always assume first that we are the sole culprit. But often, this is entirely untrue. Often, these thoughts echo other people’s words, which we subconsciously accept as our own.

Maybe your inner saboteur reiterates the words of someone who is close to you or someone who is overly criticizing. It can be a voice from your childhood or society in general. But whatever it is, the important thing is to identify and make sense of it, so the next time, you can see these thoughts for what they are.

Recognize its Masks

One of the most critical steps in battling your inner saboteur is recognizing its mask. We all tend to rationalize or be real with our fears and insecurities. However, these rationalizations can often disguise mechanisms of a much deeper issue.

Saying “it is what it is”, for example, can make us feel better momentarily. However, it can also be a mask for a self-handicapping tendency. Thus, it’s essential to recognize the pattern of your inner saboteur, to identify situations in which it tends to speak up. Once you do that, you are equipped to outsmart it and shut it out.

Challenge the Saboteur

Now when you know the cause and the inner workings of your saboteur, you are ready to challenge it. Breaking the pattern of destructive thoughts takes a lot of effort. If your voice keeps saying you’re a failure, think of all the examples that witness to your successes.

However, be cautious not to fall into the saboteur’s trap. As mentioned before, it tends to conceal itself and has ingenious ways of getting its way. Thus, try to separate from it, take some distance, give it a name, whatever it takes to make you understand that these thoughts do not reflect who you are.

Go Easy on Yourself

Despite all the effort, sometimes, the saboteur outsmarts our tactics. There will be days when, despite everything you do; the train of bad thoughts will catch up. Everyone experiences this from time to time, but it’s essential not to be too harsh on yourself when it happens.

Furthermore, in such situations, you should be kind to yourself. Do anything that makes you feel good, that takes your mind off troubling things. Maybe, binge-watch a Netflix show, or exercise, whatever helps you get through the storm.

Thus, to overcome your inner saboteur, try to recognize where these thoughts are rooted in, how they conceal themselves, and in what patterns do they recur. Once you do that, you can battle the destructiveness. But always remember to be kind to yourself if that annoying voice gets too loud.

[1] “How to Overcome Your Inner Saboteur.” The Part-Time Artist [online] Available at: https://theparttimeartist.com/overcome-inner-saboteur/ [Accessed on: 16 Apr. 2020]

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