The Voice of Self Sabotage

You really shouldn’t have published all that.  You’re totally going to get sued.  At least twice.  Everyone hates you.  Everyone hates your writing. The Rabbi is going to call any minute and tell you to take it all down.  To erase all of it.  It’s not a good idea.  He is mad at you already and he doesn’t even know about the dumb blog.  The Rebbetzin too.  Why are you being so vulnerable?  You are crazy.  This might make you rich. Money is bad.  People will think you are just trying to make money. You are so full of yourself.  Why can’t you write about anything other than yourself?  Do you think people really care about your crazy inner monologue?  And back to the suing thing.  You’re really going to get in trouble  The rabbis will ban you.  You will lose everything.  You already have once.  Stop now.  You suck.  Being a real published writer is too hard.  You’ll never make it.  No one will buy anything.  You shouldn’t waste your time writing anyway.  You have seven loads of laundry to do and Pesach is coming. What’s wrong with you, Rina, seriously?  These people think you’re oversharing; they’re being nice about it, but it is way too much. Your mom’s your mom, and of course she’s saying that; she’s you’re mom!  What on earth are you doing?  You’re going to regret this. You’re going to fail miserably.  You’re going to make a fool of yourself. You already have. Stop now. Erase. Delete. Rewind.  There’s no way to do this in a kosher way.  You’re asking for trouble. TROUBLE.  Stay out of trouble, Rina.  Come on. Changing the details and fictionalizing the facts will ruin the whole story.  It won’t be good anymore.  It’s barely good anyway.  This is private, so private.  Why on earth are you doing this?

End Quote.

That, my friends, is the Voice of Self Sabatoge.  It has many names.  The Inner Critic.  Rori Raye calls it The Nasty Voice.  Rivka Malka calls it Your Sabateurs.  My mama calls it The Devil.

I’m going to call it the Yetzer Hara, the Evil Inclination. I don’t want to write too much about what that means, but it’s the part of you that wants to screw everything up, the part of you that wants you off the path.

I got an email over a year ago that has stayed with me.  It changed my perspective on the Yetzer Hara and on trials in general.  It was “A Letter From Your Yetzer Hara,” and I’m including it at the end of this blog.  This email message framed the Voice of Sabotage, the Yetzer Hara, as an Agent of Hashem, an Employee, hired like a boxing coach for life – to hit you and hit you and hit you.  To make you stronger.  To train your greatest strengths out.  This goes along with my belief that even evil comes from Hashem.  Emuna.

Some gurus say, don’t fight with your Inner Critic.  Just listen and love it.  Rori Raye says listen to it and feel the feelings around it, and say gently with love, “I hear you.  I accept you.  I love you.  I will never abandon you.  But I’m in charge here and I’m not going to do what you want.”

Cute old ladies from my past would say, “Get under my feet, Satan!”

Whatever works for you!  I’m learning what works for me.

I’m seriously off to laundry and Pesach prep now!!!

Love,

Rina

Here’s the Letter from the email I got.  If anyone knows its author, please let me know so I can credit them.

A LETTER FROM THE YETZER HARAH

To my star pupil,

I am writing this letter to let you know what I think of you. Up here in heaven things are not like they are down on Earth. Over there, people only know what they can see. If they see a person is “successful”, they think that he is the greatest guy. When they see somebody struggling, they think he might be one of the weaker elements.  

Let me tell you something. Hashem gives every person certain abilities that nobody knows about down where you live. Some people are capable of tremendous things, while others were put there for much smaller purposes. Only Hashem in His infinite wisdom is able to give every person exactly what he needs, to reach his potential.   

I am very misunderstood. Most people hate me, and I don’t really blame them. Most people think that my job is to make sure that they fail in all aspects of Mitzvos, and that I rejoice every time they sin. This is the furthest thing from the truth. Did you ever watch a boxing coach train his student? It is really a funny sight. The coach will put on gloves, and fight against his student. At first, he won’t hit him so hard, or throw his best punches. But, as the student gets better and better, the coach will start to fight him harder and harder. He does this so that the student will improve his skills, and become the best boxer he can be. 

This is where it gets strange. Every time the coach knocks down the student, the student gets yelled at!! But finally, when the coach threw everything he has at his student, and not only does he withstand the beating, but he knocks the coach down, there is nobody in the world happier then the coach himself! This is exactly how I feel. If you fail right away, and don’t even try to fight back, I see that there is not much talent to work with, and so I take it easy on you. But if you get back up swinging, I realize that I may have a real winner here, and so I start to intensify the beating. With every level that you go up, I increase the intensity of the fight. If you finally deal me a blow that knocks me out, I will get up and embrace you and rejoice with your success.

Sometimes my job is very disappointing. I see a person with a lot of potential and I start right in on him. He fights back for a while, but when the fight gets too tough, he quits and just remains on whatever level he was on. (And he usually ends up going down!) I feel like yelling at him, “Get up you fool! Do you have any idea how much more you could be accomplishing?!” But I am not allowed to do so. I just leave him alone, and go try to find another promising candidate.   If I have chosen you to be the target of my more fierce battles, it was not for no reason! You have tremendous ability! You were born into a very special family, you have Rabbeim who really care about you, and parents who would help you grow in Torah and Mitzvos. You are a very respectful and kind person.

I am writing to you now, because I have a very serious request to ask of you. Please don’t step fighting! Don’t give up! I have been beating too many people lately, and I am losing patience. Believe in yourself, because I would not be involved with you as much as I am if I didn’t think you could beat me. Know what your strengths are! A great Rabbi once said: “Woe is to he who doesn’t know his weaknesses. But, ‘Oy Vavoy’ to him who doesn’t know his strengths – for he will not have anything with which to fight.”  

Always remember one thing: you have a secret weapon at your disposal. I shouldn’t really be telling you – but I will anyway. Hashem himself is watching our “training” sessions very closely. I’m pleased to inform you that He’s rooting for you! If things should ever get tough, almost too tough to bear, just call out to Him with a prayer, and He will immediately come to your aid. I wish you the best of luck, and I hope that after 120 years when your time is up in that world of falsehood, you will come up here to the world of truth, where I will be waiting for you with open arms, to congratulate you on your victory, and personally escort you to your place next to the Kisey HaKavod.

Sincerely, and with great admiration I remain,

Your Yetzer Hara

inner critic