Friday, December 21, 2012

No saboteurs under the tree for me please!

Posted on Friday, December 21, 2012 by International Coach Federation

In working with my coach recently I had an “ah ha” moment about gremlins. Usually when I have such a moment, I would be referring to my own gremlins, or saboteurs, whose voices sound in my head telling me things like “I should be better at this” or “I should avoid trying this because…”.  But this time, it wasn’t my own saboteur that I became aware of.  It was the saboteur of my family member, inflicted upon me in the form of compassion and concern! This happened a few months back, when I was explaining to this family member my desire to write a letter of apology to a friend and she was quick to say “I wouldn’t do that. You don’t know what response you are going to get, you either are going to be hurt by the response or not be able to trust the integrity of it." This was a response that came from a place of great love and concern for me on the part of my family member, and I greatly appreciate that love and concern, so I trusted that advice and followed it. But I realize now that this response also came from my loved one’s saboteur! After so much effort at listening to my authentic voice and being courageous to weed out the voice of the saboteur within me, how amazing that I hadn’t even considered the voice of the saboteur in loved ones that take on an even trickier mask; shrouded in love and concern!

Once I realized that my loved one’s concern was coming from her saboteur, I was able to look at the situation courageously again and reconsider writing that letter, which is something that I know deep down I really need to do.  It amazes me though that for three months I had pushed that idea to the back of my mind because of the way I trust the love and concern that this person has for me. I knew that she would never steer me in the wrong direction, intentionally. I trust her. The big ah-ha here is that it is one thing to trust people who love us, but quite a different thing to trust their saboteurs!

So, how do we know when we are getting good advice compared to when we are being victimized by someone else’s saboteur without even them knowing it? I think the answer to this must remain consistent with how we listen to our own voices, and that is to really check in with the message and feel our reaction to it. Does it draw us closer to what we are striving for, even if it is scary, or is it keeping us stagnant or even pushing us back from what we really want?

I think one of the greatest gifts available to us in this situation is that when we recognize the voice of a saboteur coming from a loved one disguised as concern, we can choose to move toward what we know is right for us despite it. When we do so, and act in resonance, we will experience authentic learning and grow from the experience regardless of the outcome. Then, when we do not melt or shrink into nothingness for taking this risk, we not only experience authenticity for ourselves but we also give a gift to our loved one. They get to see that their saboteur doesn’t need to work so hard, that the human spirit is a lot more durable than we give it credit for being, and that there is value even in disappointment  as long as we are willing to accept it openly. By this occurring, even without our ever talking about it, space expands within us AND  between us , opening us to the possibility of daring to be more authentic with one another and with the world around us as well. The more we show courage to live our authentic life and let our vulnerabilities be seen, the more we create a safe space for our loved ones and those around us to do the same.

This year instead of looking for that perfect gift to put in a box to give our loved ones, what if we wrapped up the gremlins that we share with one another and ship them all off to another land far, far, away…like the Island of Misfits…where they will stay forever? What if the gift we gave to one another this year was to no longer let our own saboteurs get in the way of each other’s courageous living? 

For Christmas this year, I am personally going to give each of my loved ones a big beautiful bow that has space running through it, to show my commitment to being conscious of needing to silence my own saboteurs when they are confiding in me and replace them with space to hold their courage and creativity. What gift do you have to offer to those you love?

Whichever festival of light you celebrate with your loved ones, may your authenticity shine on those around you this holiday season.

Regina Hellinger
Regina Hellinger is a certification student in the final stages of certification with CTI, currently working as a coach with aspiring coaches, educators, and gifted individuals, as well as being a teacher of the gifted in Orange County, FL.  You can reach Regina at, or by Twitter @ReginaHellinger.

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