Saga of the Saboteurs – The Avoider

silhouette of person raising its hand

Written by Katie

19/07/2022


This series is based on one of the coaching tools that I use in my practice known as Positive Intelligence.

Created by Shirzad Chamine, it’s a framework designed to maximise people’s potential by helping them to enhance their best qualities while also helping them learn how to minimise and quiet the qualities that stand in their way.

You probably already know that our minds can be either our best friend or our worst enemy.

That’s why we so often have great intentions but very rarely succeed in following through on them.

Positive Intelligence is about recalibrating that relationship with your mind so that your mind works for you more often than it works against you.

According to Chamine, the reason we don’t follow through is because we all have thoughts and behaviours that stop us from doing so.

He calls those thoughts and behaviours Saboteurs.

We change the relationship you have with your mind by highlighting, recognising and learning how to tone down the Saboteurs’ voices.

We also focus on how you can learn to dial up the volume on the voice of your inner wisdom or knowing, which he calls the Sage.

As I’ve said before, coaching is a very individual experience and so it’s not a tool that I use with every single client and sometimes I just use part of it.

I do, however, think it’s a very cool concept which is why I decided to share it.

So as you’ve probably guessed by now, this series is called Saga of the Saboteurs because I’m sharing with you the story of each individual Saboteur.

In Part 1, I introduced the Judge and I shared that absolutely everyone has one but that each person’s judge has evolved somewhat differently and so shows up differently.

The Judge is like the Saboteur in Chief and it works hand in hand with nine Saboteur minions (not the cute, yellow kind). Chamine calls them Accomplices. I like my version better.

Usually, the Judge kicks off our negative thought process and then tosses the ball to one or more of the minions so they can tag-team us.

This is where things get interesting.

While everybody for sure has the Judge, we all have different minion saboteurs. Usually 1, 2 or even 3 quite strong ones and maybe 1 or 2 more to a lesser extent.

Let’s see if, through the course of this series, you can identify yours.


Photo by Jaroslav Devia on Unsplash

So welcome to Part 2, friend.

Today we’re meeting:

The Avoider

As the name suggests, this minion is a master of not dealing with things that it deems unpleasant or hard.

I’m going to put my hand up here — I so relate to this one.

If you have a tendency of putting off unpleasant discussions or tasks while low-key hoping that they will somehow miraculously sort themselves out…..

If you find saying “no” borderline impossible and you say yes just to keep the peace…..

If you often find that you don’t want to do something or go somewhere but instead of saying so you act out………

If you think by not doing or saying certain things that are important to you then you’re less likely to hurt anyone’s feelings……

If you value balance and equilibrium over potentially “rocking the boat” because you have a different view…..

If you’d rather “not create a scene” than stand up for what you truly want or think…..

If you’re worried that by speaking your mind then other people won’t like you or want to be around you….

If any of the above just made you feel either seen or called out, then maybe the Avoider is strong in you (yes, I made a Star Wars joke, it helps break up the serious stuff).

So here’s the thing, as soon as you read that list, your Avoider probably jumped up and started whispering (or yelling depending on how strong they are)

“But putting other people’s feelings first makes me a good person!”

“What’s the point of getting into things with people, nothing good could possibly ever come out of it”

“I’m just easygoing and flexible, I don’t have strong opinions about most stuff so it’s not worth fighting those that do”

“Y’all, somebody needs to keep the peace around here — it might as well be me.”

Sound even vaguely familiar?

That’s not surprising, the Avoider needs to justify their existence.

But what the Avoider isn’t telling us is the toll that being that person takes.

Because, if you’re honest, you can feel the weight of all the anger and resentment that you’ve suppressed.

You can feel the constant anxiety that you have to live with because even though you’re ignoring the thing, your subconscious is taunting you that it still exists and is probably growing in size while you ignore it.

Your even-tempered demeanour is a façade, one wrong word, and the mask will crumble and you’ll be revealed as the mass of anxiety you actually are.

I’ve been there, friend, and you could not pay me to go back.

See the Avoider stops us from growing because for as long as we’re not learning how to constructively deal with conflict and negativity, we’re denying ourselves the chance to see opportunities for growth, and areas that we could improve in.

The Avoider stops us from having deep meaningful relationships because people can sense that we’re holding back and that makes it look like we’re only interested in presenting the best version of ourselves which often doesn’t feel like the most authentic version.

How do you truly trust someone you don’t feel like you know?

By learning to mute or dial down our response to negativity, we also, inadvertently mute and dial down our responses to the positives in our lives.

The Avoider is literally out here stealing our joy.

Like the Judge, the Avoider in us evolved to protect us at a time when we needed protection and avoidance was the only way we knew how.

Are we still in that place friend?
Or is it time, maybe, to start to tell the Avoider to tone it down?

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