Our inner saboteur is derived from feelings of unworthiness, a topic that has consistently come up throughout this book. Our inner saboteur is like a thief waiting in the night. However we self-sabotage, you can be sure that we do it right at the moments when wonderful things are unfolding and happening in our lives. As if to say, “You don’t deserve this, I’m going to steal it away.”
Self-doubt, insecurity, arrogance, among others, all present themselves as our inner saboteur. This disruption stems from our own fear. It’s what happens when we wait for the other shoe to drop. Or when we’re feeling at peace, but imagining the darkness around the corner. It shows up and sometimes we aren’t able to name it. We just think we’re sad or lonely, and we may not realize the depth of its roots. Desai calls on us in these times to be mindful of our loved ones. When we are acting out of alignment, when our inner saboteur has taken over, oftentimes those who want what is best for us will notice before we do. They may caution us that we’re not acting like ourselves, or in our best interests. In these moments, it can be tough to hear these things, let alone act on them. But he urges us to accept them, to listen, and to call on them as we navigate through a difficult personal time.
Desai states that it requires courage to face down the inner saboteur. I love this reminder. Courage is one of my favorite virtues, so I’m glad he mentions it here in this chapter. Choose to face your fears, self-doubt, unworthiness, insecurities, or what-have-you and choose to be happy, spacious, grateful, open, deserving, joyful. Once our courage steps in, there’s no place for the saboteur to go. When we accept our peace, fulfillment and abundance with courage and knowledge that we deserve it, the saboteur doesn’t stand a chance. It can’t steal it away.
Lastly, Desai gives us some tips for keeping our inner saboteur at bay. It’s an ongoing, never-ending process. He states that the secret is to remember the truth of life — that it is always unfolding. It might not always be rosy, but it is always purposeful. The negative doubt of our saboteur will creep in when things are high or low and the key is to remember that whatever we’re experiencing, it’s the means through which we get to love one another. His examples: your broken heart allows you to help someone whose heart has also broken. Your loneliness helps you support others who are suffering similarly. The traumatic experiences are how we are of greater service to others. They’re going to happen. And they’re just as important as the joyful experiences. Trust that flow of life, and you’ll never have to wonder if the other shoe is about to drop. You’ll never have to wallow in self-doubt or unworthiness or the other tools of our saboteur.
I find this chapter really interesting, as I’ve always been fascinated by the ways we self-sabotage, especially in relationships. And, again, it stems back to unworthiness. If we do it to ourselves, we avoid giving others the chance to hurt us. If we do it to ourselves, we’re in control. If we do it to ourselves, we can stop defending that we’re worthy, stop trying to prove that we’re good enough. This behavior truly is a thief in the night. It’s stealing our joy, and we must discover how to face it, and tame it.