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Do you ever feel there is a part of you that is setting yourself up to fail or doubting your ability? This dastardly saboteur goes by many names, but the most common one we hear is Anxiety. 


When you boil anxiety down to its core, anxiety is communicating “I can’t”. I can’t make that speech.. people will laugh at me; I can’t take that test… I am going to fail; what if I get sick… I can’t handle it. Now this “I can’t” statement can be incredibly useful; I can’t get into the lion’s cage…they will eat me. However, this saboteur voice can begin to pipe in on things that are not only safe but quite good for us.


When we have one voice (our confident self) telling us that everything is fine, and another (our saboteur) screaming that we are in grave danger, we need to start expending energy to manage this conflict. As we get more worn down and as the discomfort of these conflicting worldviews increase, it becomes easier for us to just listen to the saboteur voice and put an end to the alarm bells. The whole process seems inevitable; but what if it’s not.


There are ways to help quiet that saboteur and ensure your confident self has the energy to make it’s “I can ” message as loud as it needs to be. 

  • Think about what gives your Saboteur power (e.g. lack of sleep, staying inside all day, withdrawing from relationships) and work to fix those things.
  • Figure out what gives your confident self power (e.g. self care, engaging with your relationships, doing the hard things) and do those things.
  • Prepare yourself for the inner battle between the” I can” and the “I can’t”. Just like with most skills, you can strengthen your “I can” voice by practicing it. When your saboteur tells you, “I can’t’,’ combat it by saying “I can” and acknowledging it will be hard. The purpose is not to make the hard thing less hard, rather acknowledge that the situation or circumstance is difficult and lean into the challenge.  


An important thing when trying to address your personal saboteur is to acknowledge that they will never be completely gone. These feelings of self doubt and anxiety are a completely normal part of the human experience and are really important when it comes to keeping us safe. But if we empower our confident self, and stop feeding into our saboteur, we can get that pesky voice to only pop up when it has something important to say. 


This blog was informed by the Lynn Lyons work Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents




Celeste Rodrigues-Forbes MSW, RSW is experienced in the areas of anxiety and trauma, plus many more. For more information on Celeste and her work, click here to link to her full bio page.