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 ìs Incredible is a wonderful metaphor for this. In this movie, the superheroes ñ the people with extraordinary powers ñ 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, ìWe 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 ñ 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 ñ 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, ìYou can’t do it. You will fail.î His underminer keeps him immobilized and paralyzed.

Let’s say someone is a talented writer, yet has never submitted their writing for publication. Whenever she starts to move toward submitting her writing, her underminer shouts, ìNo one will listen to you. No one wants to read what you write.î

For a long time, this person has wanted to leave her job and go back to school for further training. Yet whenever they contemplates this, the underminer sneaks in with the lie that stops them every time: ìIf you leave your job, you will never find another one. God will not support you in doing what you want to do.

Let’s say someone is miserable in their relationship.  They have tried very hard to make it work, and yet it’s exhausting.  Their partner just wants to be taken care of. They are often very angry when their partner wants to spend time with friends or even time alone, and does not support them in what brings them joy. That is an underminer, yet it is the one undermined, their inner underminer that keeps him from leaving. There is a little voice that says, you will end up alone and be more miserable than you are now, so stay.

What if one were the smart one in the family, while their sister was the pretty one. What if those closest to her told  her over and over that she needed to learn to take care of herself because no man would want her the way she was.   That external voice can become the smart one’s inner voice that says they will always will always be alone. It says they are not meant to have a relationship.  Because of the voice of the underminer whispering in her soul spirit, heart, when she  approaches relationships, she does so with a chip on her shoulder, creating the rejection she is hoping to avoid.

Those inner voices whether coming from within or the outside and becoming part of our inner dialogue, such as:  You can’t anything right, you will fail. You are inadequate. Who do you think you are? You will end up alone. God does not exist, you are a mere accident of the universe (that can lead to seeing ourselves as unimportant, and life including that of others as unimportant) are detrimental.  Once we can understand and identify these underminers, with meditation, prayer, active steps each day, we can silence them and live better, have relationships.  This doesn’t happen overnight and one shouldn’t beat themselves up for these detrimental inner dialogue, nor hate others, as they may not even realize the damage they are doing in crushing one’s gifts, talents, dreams.  We can change the inner dialogue and move forward in more healthy ways with life and relationships.