I remember when I met my Inner Saboteur and Diva. I was chatting with some new friends at a retreat and had an epiphany that, true to form, rocked my world. Perhaps it will rock yours too.
Before I get into that, let me give you some background. I am a happy, successful entrepreneur who is known for wearing a few hats. I'm a motivational speaker, author and empowerment coach supporting and teaching women to harness their voice, declare their worth and flourish in their careers. I'm passionate about the importance of listening to your inner dialogue, owning your truth without judgement and rewriting your story if the feelings and emotions it evokes no longer serve you. With that in mind, can you imagine my surprise when it became glaringly apparent that I, myself, desperately needed my coaching? That was a mic-drop moment.
As I participated in the retreat, I absorbed the lessons, activities and soul-stirring conversations. I began to hear - maybe for the first time - my Inner Saboteur and Inner Diva speak in a low gravel tone that sent shivers down my spine. I heard things like "You aren't good enough" and "I don't believe in you."
Let me be clear; I am very cognizant of how I speak to myself, but I never understood who was behind the voice I was hearing or that those speakers were doing so behind a beautiful mask of helpfulness and, "I got your back girlfriend!" vibes. The ultimate betrayal to my battered psyche understands now that not only did they wear that mask with pride, but I am the one that fashioned it and gave it to them with power. Oh, the indignity of that realization! I imagine it began with a furtive whisper as a child in the dark under blankets or in a lonely classroom; "Hello? Is anyone there?"
How could I have created and then conceded to these scathing attacks? More importantly, I now recognize them for what they are, so how could I allow it to continue, even one minute longer? I couldn't, and this was the birth of my epiphany.
Regaining my power, when I realized these old friends and constant companions were, in essence, nasty parts of me that threatened my happiness, I chose to relate to them differently. While they may have been with me from an early age, witnessed me performing at my best and worst, they no longer have the final say in anything I do. No matter how I look at our relationship, I only see a supporting role for them moving forward; they no longer have ringside seats to my life. Instead, various nurturing people have taken those front row center spots at my proverbial table; my faithful supporters have that privilege.
My Inner Saboteur and Inner Diva can now look forward to a life with long bouts of silence. While they probably will be chit-chatting to each other in the background, I won't hear them as loudly as I once did. When their voices begin to pick up steam, once again, I will listen but then gently explain why they are mistaken and who I truly am. I am sure they will be wondering what they did and why I am so mad at them, but that's OK. I don't need to explain my actions, thoughts or decisions to them. With a twinkle in my eye, I acknowledge that I gave them free rein, and now I have regained that power and, instead, am the driving force behind my motivation. I know. I know! That sounds cruel, especially in light of how hard my Inner Saboteur has worked over the years to protect me. I will never forget how insidiously she shared her opinion on my abilities and supposed transgressions, time and time again. Her best friend, Inner Diva, loved to finish my sentences and create whole narratives to support her instead of me. Talk about adding insult to injury! However, Inner Diva knew me so well that I often let her talk because I was too lazy or scared to speak for myself. God, what a storyteller she was. Inner Diva had a way with words and had me convinced every time.
Do you know what is interesting, though?
Despite both of their claims to the contrary, neither of them is very smart. I say that because it only took one well-crafted afternoon of conversation to dismantle years of deception; theirs, not mine. All I needed were the proper conversations with the right women at the perfect time to see them for what they are. Inner Saboteur and Inner Diva are simply the voices of my fears, twisted observations and incorrect assumptions created through the lens of a child.
I know they will never leave me altogether, but I have made it known that they must be prepared to work with me instead of against me. Whenever I'm interrupted or an attempt to silence me arises, it is them, not me, who risks being summarily dismissed. My goal today is to listen and then remind them I am in charge.
You see, part of the magic of that fateful afternoon of conversation was a recognition of my sacred voice, and it will roar on my invitation. It will drown out any protestations or vulgar platitudes that spew from their mouths. My divine voice squashes their squeaks, their throw-aways and their lies—my divine voice blankets theirs with loving forgiveness.
So I invite them to stand silently beside me as I move into my purpose. I want Inner Saboteur and Inner Diva to be closed-mouthed and opened-hearted observers of my greatness. I want them to nod their heads and look at each other with pride as I tiptoe gently and then march with knees high into a life full of fearless passion and unfiltered creativity. When I am bursting with excitement, they will be silently bursting with excitement too. When I am crying with frustration, they will be silently crying with frustration along with me. As I embrace the unknown with trepidation, they, too, will silently embrace the unknown.
I hope they are not too crestfallen, for they had their time in my head, and I thank them for their efforts in trying to protect and keep me safe.
Here are four things you can do when you meet your Inner Saboteur and Diva:
Recognize them for what they are; parts of you that are no longer needed.
Thank them for their efforts to keep you safe.
Take away their power by silencing them at every opportunity.
Use them to hone your divine voice.
A momentous thing happened that day, and it has forever changed my life.