You know that old adage about the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other?
Well, I have a Saboteur on one shoulder. And that Saboteur (my negative self) has been loud and in control more than I would like to admit and far more than the Supporter (my positive self) on my other shoulder has been.
How do I know?
I start every day with the same conversation with myself—“Okay, today it is time to get back on track. Today is the day! Time to get serious!” and sometimes that conversation has some not-so-nice things to say about me. I chastise myself for the choices I made the day before, but I KNOW that this is a new day and I CAN change that….. until I don’t….
And the Saboteur becomes the louder once again.
The conversations with myself continue all day. “Come on, you can have this _____ (insert anything sugary, salty and high in calories, including an entire bag of chips!)” “You have plenty of time to reach your goal. One day won’t hurt! You can start tomorrow!” “You had a healthy breakfast so these chips (or donuts or cookies) won’t hurt!” “You went for a long walk today, why not reward yourself? You deserve this!”
And the conversation then continues into the night, with me ending the day in the same way that it started—“Seriously?! You have got to get a hold on this! You have got to do something.” “Okay, in the morning I will! No more messing around!” and these things are followed by some not-so-kind things about me once again.
And then the next day is a repeat… the same conversations, the same behaviors….
EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
The Saboteur is very good at her job…every day she entices me to make the choices that lead me away from becoming the very best and healthiest version of me and she makes me doubt myself along the way. She does this by disguising her words in positives to trick my mind- “Tomorrow is a new day, you can start over.” Or “You deserve this” or “You went for your walk and have eaten healthy, you deserve a treat.” These and many other tricks of the mind are what the Saboteur uses to get me off track.
The Saboteur on my shoulder has been louder than my Supporter, who just shrinks away, thinking it is a losing battle at this point. But is it? Really? Is there nothing I can do to quiet the Saboteur and increase the volume and power of the Supporter?
Actually, there is! And it is all up to me!
Awareness is the first step.
I have been reflecting on this for a few weeks now, really paying attention to the voices I hear and what is driving them. And this is empowering ME! I am more aware of what is happening and who is louder- The Saboteur or the Supporter. Awareness is necessary for change to occur. Awareness is THE key to quieting the Saboteur so that I can hear the Supporter!
You see, both the Saboteur and the Supporter are part of me. They come from me. They are born of my mind, my thoughts and my feelings. They both affect my mindset and are affected by my mindset. They both affect my emotions and are affected by my emotions. They both affect my thoughts and are affected by my thoughts.
These two are pretty powerful. They are me. I am the Saboteur and I am the Supporter!
I have learned that the Saboteur becomes more powerful when my emotions are at play—boredom, loneliness, worry, stress, and even joy….so many emotions at play. The less time I spend taking care of me allows the Saboteur to become louder. The more mindless I become in my daily living, the more the Saboteur takes over. And the Saboteur gains strength from my negative self-talk, my lack of belief in myself and from my stubborn self.
I have also discovered that there are some things that make the Saboteur quieter and allow the Supporter, who is naturally quieter, to become louder.
What quiets the Saboteur so I can hear the Supporter?— Forgiveness! Mindfulness—in my everyday living! Self Worth—believing I am worth it! Taking care of me! Calm! Positive self-talk! Patience (a REALLY hard one for me)! Time outdoors! Family time! Writing! Walks! And most importantly- Starting my day with these words “I am Worth It” BEFORE the Saboteur has a chance to say ANYTHING!
The power is within me. I get to choose which voice I listen to. I get to choose how I react. I get to choose to take care of me first, thus quieting the Saboteur. I empower myself when I CHOOSE!
I am in charge!!
THAT realization is so empowering!!
Though the Saboteur has been loud the past few months and been in control far more than I would like, I am a NOT a failure! I am still learning. I am still growing.
I am not perfect on this journey and I sometimes stumble. And then, awareness helps me find my way back! I may not silence the Saboteur forever, but I can make the Saboteur whisper (which is easier to ignore) and give power to the Supporter to be louder. I can use the tools and techniques I have learned through the years and pull them out when I need them.
This journey I am on, that we all are on, is not perfect! Far from it! Perfection is not important on this journey. Perseverance is. Progress is. Growth is.
I will keep on going, keep on learning, and keep on believing in me!
(FYI- as I post this, the Saboteur is whispering in my ear that I should make brownies tonight, that that would be a real treat for my husband…. And I am NOT letting that voice get any louder than a whisper!)