What if your worst enemy was your own mind?

The more you understand and learn about self-sabotaging behavior, the more you realize that often that is the case.

To maximize your chances of success — whatever that means to you — you need to be aware of your own self-talk, self-image, and unconscious thoughts.

Because if they don’t align with your vision and desires, you’ll never reach them.

In today’s post you’ll find a brief explanation of why so many people self-sabotage, as well as a collection of 70 self-sabotage quotes that will inspire you to identify all those thoughts that hinder your growth and replace them with more helpful ones.

Why do we self sabotage?

Self-sabotaging behavior is almost always unconscious. Typically, people self sabotage because deep down they believe they do not deserve happiness and success. Those who self sabotage tend to have a low self-esteem and think they are not worthy of what they consciously try to achieve.

As paradoxical as it may sound, there can be a part of you doing everything it can to experience/achieve something and a part of you that constantly prevents you from doing so. For example, you could have the desire to improve your career or relationships but then subconsciously find ways to do the complete opposite and basically guarantee failure.

Self-sabotage is very common, which is why it’s crucial that you take the time to really dig deep and make sure your mental health is optimal and you are able to love yourself — before you do anything else. What’s the point of setting goals and having high standards if you’re your worst enemy?

For a full explanation of the potential causes and signs of self-sabotage, as well as tips to overcome it, you can read my article about self-sabotaging behavior, but here is a brief list of things you can do to overcome it (or make sure you won’t happen to you in the future):

  • Learn to love yourself; accept your imperfections and surround yourself with people who love and appreciate you
  • Eliminate guilt — that voice inside you telling you that you don’t deserve a better relationship/career/friends/body
  • Practice meditation and mindfulness and increase your self-awareness; become aware of some of your unconscious thoughts
  • Take time to reflect on your past actions and behaviors and identify those who led you to self-sabotage
  • Recognize and address habits that are linked to self-sabotage, such as perfectionism, procrastination, or negative self-talk

Okay, on to the quotes…

Self sabotage quotes

Once you have identified with some form of negativity, you do not want to let it go, and on a deeply unconscious level, you do not want positive change. It would threaten your identity as a depressed, angry, or hard done by person. You will then ignore, deny, or sabotage the positive in your life.

— Eckhart Tolle

A well-defined backup plan is sabotage waiting to happen. Why push through the dip, why take the risk, why blow it all when there’s the comfortable alternative instead? The people who break through usually have nothing to lose, and they almost never have a backup plan.

— Seth Godin

There are people who are brilliant and don’t work hard, and there are people who are brilliant and sabotage themselves.

— Sarah Silverman

When we are succeeding — that is, when we have begun to overcome our self-doubt and self-sabotage, when we are advancing in our craft and evolving to a higher level — that’s when panic strikes. When we experience panic, it means that we’re about to cross a threshold. We’re poised on the doorstep of a higher plane.

— Steven Pressfield

The only reason I can’t jump in and engage in life is that I’ve told myself that I can’t. Yet I can’t help wondering what would happen if I told myself I could.

— Craig Lounsbrough

Generally, the unconscious, by denying you what you wish to manifest, is really trying to protect you. It is trying to keep you from being destroyed. The unconscious can sabotage you while all the while it is thinking it is helping you.

— Laurence Galian

If you raise your standards but don’t really believe you can meet them, you’ve already sabotaged yourself.

— Tony Robbins

The ego mind both professes its desire for love and does everything possible to repel it, or if it gets here anyway, to sabotage it. That is why dealing with issues like control, anger, and neediness is the most important work in preparing ourselves for love.

— Marianne Williamson

More than anything else, I wanted not to be alone — yet all my actions guaranteed I’d be lonely. Like wearing a vest of explosives when you’re coming in for a hug, insatiable need is a form of sabotage.

— Gina Barreca

Once you uncover the history of this pattern and trace its roots, you will see that your reaction in the present moment is really a reaction from the past, a shadow character’s attempt to protect you from reexperiencing an old emotional wound, which instead sabotages you in the present.

— Connie Zweig

The biggest disabilities are when you sabotage yourself mentally, those personal demons that get on your shoulder and you can’t shake them.

— Zach Anner

I’m doing everything I can to sabotage my career. It’s a little thing called “fear of success”.

— Jon Stewart

Self-sabotage is the proverbial hammer over the head that finally wakes us up, demanding that we pay attention. For most of us, it takes something devastating to crack us open, to get us out of our minds and into our hearts.

— Debbie Ford

I think of myself as somebody who, in a moment-by-moment way, is quite happy. But I think I’m a bit doubtful and wary of true happiness, and, like a lot of my friends, there’s been a good degree of self-sabotage.

— Patrick deWitt

Self-pity is the campsite of self-defeat. It is a dark refuge for those parts of us that would rather wallow in what we cannot be than dare to explore what is possible.

— Guy Finley

I’ve never trusted collaborations because most people in this world are not closers. They don’t finish what they start; they don’t live what they dream; they sabotage their own progress because they’re afraid they won’t find what they seek.

— Neil Strauss

Complaining becomes a habit. Focusing on the negative also becomes a habit. It’s one of the most detrimental habits you can possibly have. It can negatively impact you socially, affecting your personal happiness, but it can also subconsciously sabotage your money and success.

— T. Harv Eker

We each have our own ways of sabotaging and keeping ourselves down. Do we need to remain the victim so strongly that we pull the ceiling down upon our own heads? There is a comfort in the familiar.

— Maureen Brady

All forms of self-defeating behavior are unseen and unconscious, which is why their existence is denied.

— Vernon Howard

Stop validating your victim mentality. Shake off your self-defeating drama and embrace your innate ability to recover and achieve.

— Steve Maraboli

We sabotage our creative possibilities because the world revealed by our imagination may not fit well with the life we have taken so much trouble to construct over the years. Faced with the pain of that distance, the distance between desire and reality, we turn just for a moment and quickly busy ourselves.

— David Whyte

Self-sabotage is like a game of mental tug-of-war. It is the conscious mind versus the subconscious mind, where the subconscious mind always eventually wins.

— Bo Bennett

Self-doubt does more to sabotage individual potential than all external limitations put together.

— Brian Tracy

Other people’s views and troubles can be contagious. Don’t sabotage yourself by unwittingly adopting negative, unproductive attitudes through your associations with others.

— Epictetus

Our biggest enemy is our own self-doubt. We really can achieve extraordinary things in our lives. But we sabotage our greatness because of our fear.

— Robin Sharma

Like most other creatives, I struggle with self-sabotage, self-doubt, and feeling like an imposter more often than not. I struggle with expressing myself, because it does sometimes feel easier or safer not to.

— Jeff Jarvis

Many self-handicapping behaviors are those small, subtle bad habits like being late, gossiping, micromanaging, behaving passive-aggressively, or being a perfectionist. We may not recognize these self-defeating — and self-handicapping — traits for what they are. Or we may even wrongly perceive them as strengths. But in truth, they often get in the way of us blooming.

— Rich Karlgaard

Nothing will sabotage our happiness and success more thoroughly than the fear that we are not enough.

— Bill Crawford

I am really fascinated by self-sabotage. I think that there’s not a person I know who doesn’t fall victim to it. It’s essential to the human condition, and relatable.

— Kit Williamson

You have considerable power to construct self-helping thoughts, feelings, and actions as well as to construct self-defeating behaviors.

— Albert Ellis

Guilt and self sabotage quotes

Even people who believe they deserve to be happy and have nice things often don’t feel worthy once they have them.

— Oprah Winfrey

If you do not feel deserving of happiness, consciously or subconsciously, or if you have accepted the idea that happiness is somehow wrong or cannot last, you will not respond appropriately when happiness comes knocking at your door in the form of romantic love. No matter how much you may have waited and cried, you will not welcome love when it arrives — you will find a way to sabotage it.

— Nathaniel Branden

Guilt is a useless feeling. It’s never enough to make you change direction, only enough to make you useless.

— Daniel Nayeri

Sometimes we self-sabotage just when things seem to be going smoothly. Perhaps this is a way to express our fear about whether it is okay for us to have a better life.

— Maureen Brady

Being self-critical is good; being self-hating is destructive. There is a very fine line there somewhere, and I walk it carefully.

— Daniel Radcliffe

This is why people recklessly spend their money or don’t work as hard as they could or do things that they know are wrong. They are hindering their own success on purpose, because they don’t think they deserve it. They cut their own legs out from underneath them on purpose. They are self-sabotaging.

— Lisa Bedrick

Each of us has an inner thermostat setting that determines how much love, success, and creativity we allow ourselves to enjoy. When we exceed our inner thermostat setting, we will often do something to sabotage ourselves, causing us to drop back into the old, familiar zone where we feel secure.

— Gay Hendricks

Withholding love is a form of self-sabotage, as what we withhold from others, we are withholding from ourselves.

— Marianne Williamson

I think the key to happiness is allowing ourselves to not feel bad or guilty for feeling it, and letting it be contagious.

— Brittany Murphy

The question “is this an act of self-love or is it an act of self-sabotage” is one you must consistently ask yourself if you are committed to having all that you want and all that you deserve.

— Debbie Ford

Self-sabotage. What we do to ourselves when we think deep down that we aren’t really deserving of the rewards that come from our hard work. If this is you, you are deserving.

— Unknown

The tragedy of too many people is that they cannot allow happiness just to be there; they cannot leave it alone. Their sense of who they are and what their destiny is cannot accommodate happiness. So they are driven to find ways to sabotage it.

— Nathaniel Branden

This is how women self-sabotage and self-destruct. Unless we have constant witnesses to our hard work, we are convinced we pull off every day of our lives through smoke and mirrors.

— Sarah Breathnach

You deserve a great life. I want to see you become unreasonably happy. And you can. And you will.

— Hill Harper

Those who say life is knocking them down and giving them a tough time are usually the first to beat themselves up. Be on your own side.

— Rasheed Ogunlaru

When your heart knows it doesn’t belong there, it will continue to sabotage your future, until you make the choice you wanted, but found a million excuses not to pursue.

— Shannon L. Alder

I have a limited tolerance for feeling good. When I hit my Upper Limit, I manufacture thoughts that make me feel bad. The problem is bigger than just my internal feelings, though: I seem to have a limited tolerance for my life going well in general.

— Gay Hendricks

Ask for what you want. Believe that you deserve it, and then allow Life to give it to you.

— Louise Hay

Guilt is a profoundly conservative emotion and as such is not particularly useful for bringing about change. From a position of insecurity and guilt, people do not change or inspire others to change.

— Michael Kaufman

What is required for many of us, paradoxical though it may sound, is the courage to tolerate happiness without self-sabotage.

— Nathaniel Branden

If we could get your subconscious mind to agree with your conscious mind about being happy, that’s when your positive thoughts work.

— Bruce Lipton

We need to ascend beyond our own petty resistance, our own negative self-judgment and self-sabotage, our own “I’m not worthy” mindset.

— Steven Pressfield

Short self sabotage quotes

Having a low opinion of yourself is not modesty. It’s self-destruction.

— Bobbe Sommer

The reason I can’t find the enemy is that I have yet to look within myself.

— Craig Lounsbrough

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.

— Carl Jung

Self-sabotage is when we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen.

— Alyce Cornyn-Selby

Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your handbrake on.

— Maxwell Maltz

I sabotage myself for fear of what my bigness could do.

— Alanis Morissette

Guilt is a supreme waste of time and energy.

— Emily Giffin

Art is a war between ourselves and the forces of self-sabotage that would stop us from doing our work.

— Steven Pressfield

Much of your pain is self-chosen.

— Khalil Gibran

Anything is possible if you believe you deserve it.

— Shirley MacLaine

If you’re not careful, you can fall into a destructive cycle of self-pity.

— Victoria Osteen

Lack of forgiveness causes almost all of our self-sabotaging behavior.

— Mark Victor Hansen

Most people sabotage themselves because they aren’t mindful in the moment.

— Jillian Michaels

Human beings invent just as many ways to sabotage their lives as to improve them.

— Mark Goulston

Procrastination is hands down our favorite form of self-sabotage.

— Alyce Cornyn-Selby

I’ve spent most of my life in prison. I was a prisoner of my fear and low self-esteem.

— Gerry Cooney

The most dangerous way we sabotage ourselves is by waiting for the perfect moment to begin.

— Vironika Tugaleva

I am the greatest obstacle to my greatest dreams.

— Craig Lounsbrough

The worst guilt is to accept an unearned guilt.

— Ayn Rand