Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff’s NY Times bestseller “Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life” (Three Rivers Press, 2011)
Your inner slave driver must be tamed if you want to have a happy, balanced life.
Your inner slave driver is the part of you that’s addicted to workaholism, rushing, and going nonstop until you drop. If you don’t put in a ten-hour day, you get anxious. Also, you feel guilty relaxing or taking time off from work or solving emotional problems. In your mind, to feel calm is to feel guilt, a linkage you must first notice and then reprogram. The inner slave driver shows no mercy. Unchecked, it’ll whip you into an anxious state of physical and emotional collapse. To transform anxiety, rein in your slave driver by treating yourself with more compassion, turning down the tension, and regularly planning stress-free interludes.
Once, during an anxious period when my inner slave driver took over, I dreamed that a ceramic mug I loved with “Dance-Sing-Play” on it, cracked. This upset me because I couldn’t drink tea from it anymore. Upon awakening I got the message: to have more fun and put less pressure on myself so that I didn’t crack. Similarly, oversee your inner slave driver. Staying mindful of this voice and saying an emphatic “no” to it preserves calm.