Towards the end of the medieval period—or middle ages—undermining was a method for bringing down a castle’s curtain wall by digging a tunnel under the surrounding protective wall. The tunnel would then be intentionally collapsed, compromising the fortress walls and foundation below the tower or castle itself. Trained soldiers called “sappers” did the undermining. (Sounds like a fitting name.) And by the way, these tunnels weren’t dug overnight; if you were undermined, it was going on for a long time and it went unnoticed. However, if the king became aware of the sappers’ undermining, he would rapidly stop it and fortify the wall.
To undermine a person is kind of the same thing—to compromise one’s protective deflector shield. Today’s definition of undermining is: “To damage or weaken (someone or something), especially gradually or insidiously.”
So, here you are. It feels like the bottom fell out again. Some sapper (or Stage Five Energy Sucker!) has attacked your dreams and left you feeling deflated. If you’re ruminating over what happened, stop doing that. If you’re crying over the fight, or blaming someone else, stop doing that. If you can’t take any more, stop taking any more.
The undermining of your dreams, goals, milestones, and beliefs is negative and heavy viral energy that you don’t have to let in. Think of it like this: if someone were trying to hand you an apple, maybe one with a big fat worm in it, and you didn’t care for the apple, you would just wince and say, “Thank you, I’m going to pass on the offer.”
Or, let’s say that you were enjoying a day in the park, just sitting on a bench in the sunshine. You notice someone scooping their dog’s doo-doo and placing it in a bag. Then, rather boldly, they walk right over to the bench where you’re seated and attempt to hand you the steaming bag of their dog’s poop. Now, I’m just guessing here, but I bet you would not hesitate to say, “You can keep that! I do not accept it.”
You need not accept undermining any more than you would accept an apple with a worm or a hot load of doo-doo. The same response works very well: “I do not accept that.”
As it relates to your dreams, undermining often comes from someone whom you were hoping would—finally—acknowledge your accomplishment, support your goal or passion, be proud of you, and validate you in your journey. It’s important for you to know the difference between healthy feedback and foundation-shattering undermining. Some people just don’t have a clue how to support you or your dreams, and they are often a family member or close friend. If you really peeled back the onion, you might find that they are either jealous of your dreams, in fear that they are losing something because of who you are becoming, or fearful that your choices are putting you in peril in some way. So, that’s what’s going on with them; it doesn’t need to be your experience just because it’s theirs. If it doesn’t feel good, you don’t have to internalize other people’s beliefs or their opinions—you can plainly choose not to accept it.
When others attempt to undermine you, let them know that the jig’s up and you’re not having it. Keep your dreams sacred from those who are unable to support your vision.
Disallow these sappers to steal your power simply by letting them know that you don’t accept undermining. You will regain your foundation and avoid the same old implosions of your past.
In responding to sappers, keep in mind that undermining is often a battle over power and who will come out on top. Don’t wish to undermine their energy in return; each side thinks they are right and undermining the sappers will not get you closer to what you want and need. You see, it does not serve your empowerment to enrage others with your response. An emotion-based response lets the other person win because they’re taking (sapping) your energy and they know it. Let’s practice some responses to those who attempt to undermine you. As we try these out, also note that when facing a sapper in your life, leave out the word “but”—it’s a word that has a way of stirring the pot that, trust me, you don’t want to stir. You can use these replacements to the word “but”: “yet,” “and,” “at the same time,” or “still.” Here are several suggestions for ways that you might respond to a sapper in order to safeguard your creation energy and fortify your foundation:
“While I appreciate you wanting to provide feedback, at the same time I don’t accept negativity around the matter of my dreams, and so I am not in a place where I will internalize other people’s doubts and fears.”
“We have some areas of our core beliefs that are not exactly aligned with one another, and that’s okay. I will not argue with you on what’s so foundational to who you are, and I do not engage with any attempt to disempower my beliefs either.”
“You might not agree with me and I know that this is hard for you. Yet, I’m not asking for permission about what I choose to create.”
“I do not accept anyone’s attempt to undermine my dreams or accomplishments.”
“It feels as though you are trying to disempower me. I had hoped that you would support my dreams. Still, with or without your support, I know that I am serving my highest and intended purpose.”
“I admire your passion for what you believe in, and yet I have to tell you that it comes off as insularly. I have my own ideas and experiences that support my beliefs. I think it’s okay that we respectfully agree to disagree.”
“I’m sure your intention is to be helpful. Yet, what I’m hearing is about your own beliefs and ideas, which are wonderful for you. At the same time, I am going to follow my truth and I have every valid reason to know that I am on the right path.”
You can cut off the access that energy-sappers have to you. Take responsibility and acknowledge that this didn’t exactly happen overnight; you’ve let other people undermine you in the past. They might believe that there is a weakness in you at which they can chip away. Not anymore. Disengage their access to your creation power. Stop emotionally reacting to other people’s doubts and fears. Do not accept being dejected from your own dreams, and practice a thoughtful response to those who would, even if unwittingly, undermine you and your vision.