Helping Nonprofit Leaders Transform Conflict

Leadership Coach and Mediator

Thich Nhat Hanh has been my spiritual teacher from the moment I saw him in 2008 at his mindfulness retreat in Nottingham, England.

I had bowed out of the program to spend some quiet time by myself. I wandered around the estate when he passed me by while he led the Sangha in mindful walking. His loving energy, radiant smile, and calm presence touched my self-criticism, shame, and low self-worth. They melted away in his presence.

When I came home, I immediately signed up for his online monthly newsletter “The Raft”. And when I started my own business in 2016, I signed up again with my business email to ensure that I wouldn’t miss any of them.

Now I get the same newsletter on two different email accounts. I faithfully open both of them, knowing any email provider will mark your emails as spam if the open rate is below a certain percentage.

It’s a useless action that’s a bit of a hassle for me, but I can’t get myself to unsubscribe from the one sent to my personal email. I don’t want to hurt the feelings of the editors and I am afraid that they would feel sad to see that they lost a reader, wondering what they have done wrong.

Last month, I finally unsubscribe as part of my mental decluttering process. I realize that staying on their email list twice was not a choice from my heart but my people-pleasing habit.

According to Shirzad Chamine, the People Pleaser is one of nine inner saboteurs. It’s the one that tries to keep others happy at all costs and uses love and care as a strategy for acceptance and emotional safety.

Other saboteurs are the Avoider, Stickler, Victim, Controller, Achiever, and the Restless, Hyper-vigilant, and Hyper-rational one. You will find a link to the test at the bottom of this email to see which inner saboteurs are strongest in you. I scored 9.4 for people-pleasing.

There is nothing wrong with inner saboteurs. They are the remnants of patterns we developed in childhood to adjust to and survive our environment when we were younger and more vulnerable.

But as we grow up and become more resourceful, we can see that the messages we heard as a child were not so much about us, but reflections of the unmet needs of those around us.

But seeing them for their function doesn’t necessarily help us realize that they are just an old habit that’s no longer useful. Because they have been with us for such a long time, liberating ourselves from their grip can be a challenge.

In my free webinar “Befriend Your Saboteur”, you will learn three steps to let your values and aspirations guide your actions instead of letting your inner saboteurs run the show. Tuesday, June 7 from 8:00-9:00 am CST.

You can sign up here.

P.S. In honor of my favorite Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, I invite you to donate to the TNH Foundation to support his teachings.

P.P.S. This is the link to the Saboteurs Test.

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