Releasing Your Inner Saboteur: Toward Graceful Acceptance of Your Good Fortune

The MindBody Self

In my professional work I have been very interested in discovering why intelligent, psychologically healthy people have difficulties accepting their good fortunes. Why they seem to be invested in ruining what they work so hard to achieve. No, it’s not because they are masochistic or ungrateful. The culprit is what I call the inner saboteur: A response to triumphs with fear and trepidation. The inner saboteur is a learned response that initially functioned to rationalize failure with assimilated unworthiness from our dysfunctional cultural editors: People with power to instill their disempowering myths as if they were truths about you. It could be a shaming parent, an admonishing teacher, an arrogant health professional, or a fear-mongering clergy. As you can surmise from my examples, these are people that their cultures give them power to weave realities within their respective contextual domains.

As we unwittingly incorporate the cultural editors’ myths about us, they gradually erode our worthiness, and become reasons to explain away our shortcomings as if we were powerless victims of genetics or personality flaws. This initial function to excuse our mistakes and failures works well as long as we choose to remain in helplessness consciousness, but more important, it gives birth to the internal saboteur. From then on, since gracious acceptance of good fortune requires worthiness, the inner saboteur surfaces to kill joy and welcome misery: Thus, is the genesis of our inner saboteur.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Now that we identified the culprit, how can we ban it from our cultural self?

- Pay attention to the negative stories you rerun in your head about yourself.

This observation will identify the fabric of self-defeat woven by your inner saboteur. Once you notice the script; stop, take a deep breath, and observe where the tension is manifested in your body. It’s there, if you mindfully observe. After witnessing without attempting to get rid of the tension, bring a memory that contradicts the myth woven in your script. For example, if the rerun says “failure,” bring a memory of resounding success, and allow the emotion to be embodied (manifested in your body). Then, replace the defeating script, with a new story of the worthy self. Give credence to the story by living its essence and finding coauthors that support it.

- Accepting good fortune graciously.

When something positive happens, keep an eye on the inner saboteur. If it surfaces to dissuade you of your joy, be ready to counteract with empowering narratives from your past. It is not about you deserving good fortune it is rather that you are the generator of your place in a world where love is the rule and misery the exception.

Before you declare my suggestions New Age platitudes, consider that empowering scripts have an immune enhancing effect (increases IgA antibodies, anti-inflammatory molecules, and oxytocin) versus helplessness reruns having the opposite psychoneuroimmunological effect that suppresses the causes of health.

As you begin to replace negative myths about you with evidence-based worthiness action, your biology will follow the new consciousness that you choose to live and the grateful acceptance of your good fortune. Enjoy your new cultural self, free of the inner saboteur that robs your joy.