How many of you had the experience growing up of being told in various ways to limit yourselves from being all you can be? The movie “The Incredibles” is a wonderful metaphor for this. In this movie, the superheroes – the people with extraordinary powers – are restricted from using their powers.
When I was growing up, I was not supported in being all I could be. “Boys don’t like smart girls,” “People will be jealous of you.” I learned to hide good grades and talents, for fear others would be threatened. If I wanted to “fit in,” I needed to be like everyone else. Being extraordinary was considered “weird.”
In the movie, the superheroes are finally allowed to use their powers because they are needed to save the planet. This, too, is a metaphor. We are each extraordinary in our own ways, and this planet needs each of us to fully express our gifts and talents. We need extraordinary people to step up to the plate to guide us away from fear, greed and manipulation and into caring, compassion, and personal responsibility. Fortunately, many more young people today are encouraged to be all they can be.
At the end of the movie, a horrible monster arises from the earth, saying something like, “We are the underminers. We undermine happiness, peace and joy. We are always beneath you.”
Who are the underminers?
Underminers are both within and without.
Outer underminers are those people who do not have your highest good at heart. They are the people who want to use you, blame you, manipulate and control you, and try to limit you. They are the people who are threatened by you being all you can be. They are the people who want you to care-take them rather than take responsibility for yourself. These people can be family, friends, or co-workers – anyone in your life who does not support you in being all you can be. It is sad and lonely when the people who say they care about you, instead do all they can to control and limit you.
However, as adults it is the inner underminers who cause the most damage. The inner underminers are the wounded parts of ourselves that hold our limiting beliefs – the lies we learned about ourselves, others, and God. These underminers shout lies to us that cause our fears and anxieties and keep us from fully manifesting all that we are.
Paul is a very competent man, yet every time he gets a new idea of something he wants to do with his work and his life, his underminer says, “You can’t do it. You will fail.” His underminer keeps him immobilized and “safe.”
Julia is a talented writer, yet has never submitted her writing for publication. Whenever she starts to move toward submitting her writing, her underminer shouts, “No one will listen to you. No one wants to read what you write.”
For a long time, Joanna has wanted to leave her job and go back to school for further training. Yet whenever she contemplates this, her underminer sneaks in with the lie that stops her every time: “If you leave your job, you will never find another one. God will not support you in doing what you want to do.”
Robert is unhappy in his relationship. His girlfriend, Marian, just wants to be taken care of. She is often very angry at Robert when he wants to spend time with friends or even time alone, and does not support him in what brings him joy. She is an underminer, yet it is his inner underminer that keeps him from leaving. “You will end up alone and be more miserable than you are now.”
Suzanne was the “smart one” in her family, while her sister was the “pretty one.” Her parents undermined her by telling her over and over that she needed to learn to take care of herself because no man would want her. Now, a successful and attractive woman, Suzanne’s underminer constantly tells her, “You will always be alone. You are not meant to have a relationship.” Because of her underminer, Suzanne approaches relationships with a chip on her shoulder, creating the rejection she is hoping to avoid.
“You can’t.” “You will fail.” “You are inadequate.” “Who do you think you are?” “You will end up alone.” “You are ugly.” “You are alone – God does not exist.” “Spirit will not support you because you are not good enough.”
The underminer – undermining your happiness, peace and joy. Why not be a superhero and stop listening to the underminer?