The End of Self-Sabotage

Updated: Feb 7

How We Learn Fear of Success


Before resolving self-sabotaging behavior, it is fundamental to understand how we culturally learn to conceptualize success. Most cultures teach a confounding message by encouraging achievement and discouraging acceptance of praise for the accomplishment. This mixed signal incidentally teaches to achieve and then reject the gift of confirmation by others. Consequently, opportunities to experience gratitude are replaced with false humbleness by diminishing or denying achievements.


How cultures inadvertently teach reluctance to recognize achievement, is the basis for my proposal that self-sabotage is perpetuated by absence of gratitude. Although conventional psychology tends to pathologize flawed cultural learning, in biocognitive science, rather than modify behavior, we identify and recontextualize the terrain that supports behavior. Applying the recontextualizing methodology to self-sabotage, rather than attributing the cause to low self-esteem, masochistic behavior or other pathological labels, fear of success as manifested in self-sabotage, is identified as a terrain that does not facilitate gratitude. Without gratitude there is no self-significance to embrace personal excellence.


Cultivating the terrain of gratitude is the antidote to eradicate fear of success and its subsequent self-sabotaging behavior. In other words, a rich terrain of gratitude brings coherence between achievement and appreciation for the gift when recognized by self and others. False humbleness is replaced with true acceptance of merit without apologies. Then the fear of success fueled by unworthiness, dissolves in a terrain of gratitude where personal excellence is sustained by the authentic humbleness of appreciation rather than engaging the pendulum of conceit or denigration.