Self sabotage, the sneaky voice that so often pops up when we are trying to explore new ideas, start new projects or when we step out of our comfort zones to follow our passions and dreams. It is the little sabotaging and negative voice that tells us that we do not have enough experience, knowledge, support or discipline or that we will simply never achieve our goals. It is difficult to find the motivation to move forward, when our negative voice keeps holding us back by sowing discouragement.
How do we then move forward, take new challenges and reach new heights if we are constantly discouraged by our negative voice?
The key here is to identify the negative voice, disable it and move past it. Unfortunately it is not always as easy as it sounds. We will need to look into the issue and take it step by step.
Firstly it is a good idea to become aware of the negative voice and to understand what the negative voice or anti-self is. Essentially the negative voice was formed during childhood by negative comments which we received or were constantly exposed to. For example, if your parents continually told you that you are slow or uncreative or that you should not embarrass yourself. Or comments which you frequently heard, such as your parents or a role model constantly criticising themselves, their bodies or actions. (I’m fat, I’m so stupid sometimes, I’ll never be that great, I’m useless) Your negative voice then repeats these comments to you throughout your life and it can paralyse and discourage you from reaching your full potential. It is helpful to write down in which situation the negative voice strikes, because this will give you some insight into where it comes from and where its root lies.
Secondly it is important for us to realise that this anti-self is not speaking the truth, no matter how logical is seems to us. It is also important to realise that this voice does not have to control us, but that we can learn to control the voice. It can also happen that we do not even realise that it is a negative voice, that we already believe it to be completely true and that we are living our lives according to this lie (negative voice). In coaching we can call this a “limiting bedrock assumption”, something which you assume about yourself. Here are some examples of limiting assumptions: I am not valuable. I don’t deserve to be loved. I am not good at anything.
Lastly it is necessary to replace these negative comments with positive ones (the truth), which will enable us to move forward. Coaching can help us identify the negative voice or limiting assumption which is holding us back and how to overcome these in our daily lives and thought patterns. This is not a once off exercise, but an exercise which we will need to repeat until the negative voice is overwritten and silenced by the truth. Your brain has developed a negative voice which will always pop up when you walk a certain path. It takes time and repetition to override this path in your brain, but it is not impossible.
I encourage you to keep a diary to help you with identifying the negative voice and the situation in which it strikes. Take some time out to observe the pattern which will be revealed by your diary and consider where this negative voice originated from. Speak to your coach about it and replace the lie with the truth. It is also helpful to ask someone to hold you accountable and to enquire regarding your progress. Be motivated, stay inspired and dream big! Do not let anything hold you back!
Picture credit: Oscar Ramos Orozco