It happened New Year’s Day. I was doing a lunge in my yoga class and felt my left hip click twice, moving it out of joint. I remember feeling surprised because that rarely happens, but I finished my class. Later that evening the pain set in. By the next morning, I couldn’t lift my left leg without scooping my hands under my thigh. My hip flexor really hurt.
I felt angry at my body for letting me down. Didn’t it know I wanted to ski and go hiking? I got advice from friends and family: ice it, don’t exercise, exercise, quit yoga altogether. Google told me I had weak glutes. My osteopath said it was the result of my loose hips and underactive core.
To sum up, I felt like my body misbehaved and I had to bring it in line. I was in charge of my body, not the other way around. And when I say “I” what I really mean is, “my mind.” So much for connecting mind, body, heart, and spirit. In that moment of vulnerability, I wanted control and naturally my mind – and my saboteurs – stepped up.
Saboteurs Want to Be Right
- Judge Judy – This is your fault. You should have strengthened your mid-section more instead of over-working your hip flexors.
- Barbie (perfectionist) – Your body is falling apart. This is what happens as you grow older.
- Time Gremlin – You don’t have time for this injury. Move on!
Unfortunately, saboteurs never go away, either in good times or bad. The trick to understanding them is knowing their inner talk never ceases. In fact, if you have a change of heart, saboteurs will try a different tack just to keep your mind engaged in endless debate. As I’ve said before in this newsletter, saboteurs don’t want resolution; they just want to be right.
Here’s what I did. It started with me recognizing those saboteurs talking. The first one I recognized was the Time Gremlin. I felt extremely frustrated I couldn’t do my regular exercise and insisted on doing a long walk plus yoga one day which worsened my hip. Then Judge Judy emerged, when I began blaming myself for my injury. At that point, I could identify the perfectionist, Barbie, detailing to me my imperfect body.
Responding to Saboteurs
I had the tools to de-hook from my saboteurs’ provocations:
- Banish Judgement
- Shift the narrative from Victim to Heroine
- Be kind to myself – applying The Platinum Rule
Frankly, I used all three of these tools to adjust my perspective on my injury.
Eventually I asked myself, How would I treat a friend with the same injury? It’s obvious to say but I would never treat a friend the way I treated myself. That’s the destructiveness inherent in saboteurs and why it’s so important to recognize them.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? My purpose in writing this newsletter is to share the tools I’ve applied in my own life using a very real, very recent life experience. Getting out of joint reminded me how to get aligned again.
I’ve learned it’s not about what happens to you but how you respond to it. Just because I had an initial negative reaction didn’t mean I was a failure as a person (which is what Barbie would tell me). Once I gave myself the time to respond, I could be less judgemental toward myself and bring myself back to a more loving state.
Header Photo Photo by Alex Shaw on Unsplash, Barbie Photo by Elena Mishlanova on Unsplash