Decoding the Message of the Saboteur

I recently wrote a list of wants and needs. It was a great deal of fun and a bit scary to admit to myself and share it with others.

Here’s the next step. Right down your commentary. What does your inner critic say? What would the saboteur have you believe?

Some of my negative commentary –

  • I want too much and this means that I’ll be disappointed.
  • I want the wrong things and this means that others will reject me, leave me, and call me names.
  • I’m not capable of getting what I want and this means that I shouldn’t even bother thinking about it.
  • I’m not capable of enjoying what I want if I get it and this means that I’ll always be dissatisfied and critical.
  • If I do get what I want, I’ll just keep thinking of other things that I want. So why bother?

My feeling after writing this list? Ugh. When I wrote my wants and needs list I felt great. A little nervous but energized and alive. Writing this list I feel heavy, depressed (as though there is a weight on me), and sort of hopeless like I just want to go read a good romance novel, eat sugary snacks, and take a nap. I see that “I’ll be disappointed no matter what so why bother?” as an underlying theme in this commentary.

When I step in to soft, deep inquiry I hear more phrases:
– There’s no point in trying for what I want.
– Don’t even go there.
– I’ll be disappointed (and disappointing) no matter what happens.

Wow! Something shifted for me as I wrote “I’ll be disappointed (and disappointing) no matter what happens.”  I had the thought “Then what am I so worried about?” If I’m going to be disappointed (or if some part of me is going to be unsatisfied) no matter what I do, then that’s a relief. I no longer have to try to figure out just the right thing to do so that I’ll finally be satisfied, feel like enough, or think “yes this is it!”. And if I’m going to disappoint someone else (or everyone in some way) no matter what I do then, similarly, I can relax.

There is no magic behavior or magic phrasing I can use to have everyone around me like me, love me, appreciate me (or like, love, and appreciate themselves or the situation). Knowing that I am going to disappoint and be disappointed, I can get on with living my life the best way I know how without the preoccupation of trying to create situations where I  feel perfectly satisfied or completely avoid others disappointment.

These insights came through my compassionate presence using tools from The Work of Byron Katie. I can help you have real and lasting shifts around your negative self-talk and core judgments as well!

by Kassandra Brown, Parent Coach

Watch Out! You’ll Hurt Yourself!

Both of my children were able to my satisfaction to use a knife to cut when they were two years old. Some people found this freaky and were very concerned. My mother was one of these people but when she took a closer look she realized a few things that made her feel better.

  1. My children had seen me use knives from their place in the sling or wrap almost since birth. I wore my kids in the kitchen and they got to see what was going on. They had an intuitive sense of what a knife was for.
  2. When kids are small, they don’t have the power to slice off their own fingers. A slip while cutting meant a knick on the finger not the loss of a limb.
  3. The knives I gave them had rounded ends. No sharp points for stabbing.
  4. The added sense of competence and confidence my girls had by being able to cut their own bananas and cheese or to help me make dinner by cutting mushrooms and carrots was tangible.

In the beginning I’d hold their hands or they’d hold mine while we cut something. I’d watch them and help them get their fingers out of the way. I didn’t just turn them loose with the tool and watch them flail. I helped them learn how to use it. You may or may not agree with me that kids are able to learn good knife skills at a very young age, but I hope you will agree with me on this point.

If we don’t let children practice and fail and try again and succeed, they will not learn new skills.

If we let them play and practice and learn with us, then they have a greater chance of being interested in us, our activities and our lives. In the long run, this leads to more connection and ease of communication. And that’s good news for everyone.

by Kassandra Brown, Parent Coach