It seems strange to think that our traitors have a purpose other than to make our lives difficult. Strange, but true. And the purpose is generally a good one. Boil it down, and the traitor is here to protect us. Traitors are doing their best to protect us from pain that comes from feeling left out, less than, not enough, too this, not enough that; all of the stuff we humans worry about. They attempt to keep us from situations in which we will feel humiliated, rejected, or ignored.
That all sounds good, but the problem comes in when these traitor characters are keeping us so safe that they don't let us grow and stretch ourselves. They try to keep us in a small box. That box might have fit when we were kids, but now it is too constricting.
One way I think about these traitor characters and what their real purpose is has to do with what our deepest fears and concerns are. For instance, let's say you have a traitor character who gets you to turn your work in late, forget to do things you promised, and generally falls short of people's expectations. That doesn't sound like a character that is protecting you. Yet, if we ask that character what is behind those actions, the answer could be: “If they have lower expectations of me, then they won't give me more responsibility, and I'll save myself from messing up and failing.”
You might have a traitor character that always wants you to be perfect. As a result, you always do a great job, but you suffer in the process. The quality of your life suffers, and you don't spend the time you want with family and friends. If you ask this traitor character what is so important about being perfect, you might here something like: “If I do anything less than perfectly, I won't be satisfied, and the others, who expect me to do a good job, will be let down. If they are let down, they won't keep asking me to do this great stuff, and soon I'll end up with nothing. No work, no friends, and I won't have people's respect. That would be the worst. I'd feel like a failure.”
Even though these two traitor characters present as very different, they are both protecting you from failing or, at least, feeling like a failure.
Consider that everything we do is for a good reason for some character inside us. The secret is to find out what that good reason is. The practice this week addresses this.