Say good morning to that inner critic with whom you share your mind. It’s your own personal Gremlin, that nasty, trifling little voice inside your head that’s constantly telling you that you’re not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, rich enough, well-dressed enough. Then, when you manage to silence that conversation, the same little Gremlin monster asks who do you think you are anyway!
For those people, the Gremlin rules your life, completely running and often ruining it.
“Do not believe all the things you tell yourself late at night.”
You may wonder if your Gremlin is out of control, and if so you will read and relate to some if not all of the items I have listed below. Here are five things to look for and use as a guide to deal with your personal Gremlin.
- Your Gremlin Compares You to Others
“You’ll never be as good at your job as he is.” “Your ass is so giant compared to hers.” “Why can’t you be cool like him, instead of being such a nerd?” No one can be nastier to us than our little friend, Mr. Gremlin. Are you one of the millions of people that hear opinions like this in your head? If you do, you can relax—it’s perfectly normal—but you do need to take action to learn how to master your little critical Gremlin and start living the life you desire.
Just because you have these thoughts—even if they were true once—doesn’t mean they’re true now. If you are really open to him, the moment your Gremlin dumps a negative thought about how unworthy you are, you immediately take it as fact. But this simply isn’t the case. What your inner Gremlin says to you doesn’t have to be your truth. You get to make a choice
- Take Time to Be Still
Your Gremlin hates the quiet and thrives in busyness and endless activity. Why? When you’re crazy busy, you don’t notice the games he’s playing in your head. All you hear are the criticisms and since you’re busy, you take them at face value. You don’t have the time to stop and dig beneath the surface, so you never notice the nasty tricks your Gremlin plays on you.
Make time for quiet, for stillness. Meditation is a really good way to hear your Gremlin and a good first step in making him a little less noisy.
- Social Media Feeds Your Gremlin
This part is related to the previous two sections. Social media is a great place to compare yourself to others; it’s like a petri dish for breeding discontent. It is also antithetical to stillness; face it, there’s always another Facebook post to read or another Tumblr post to dwell on…and don’t even get me going about Reddit. Can you see how all of this is just a delight to your Gremlin?
Give yourself what a friend calls a “digital detox.” Have one day each week (God forbid, two) when you don’t log onto social media at all. Get your partner to hide your cellphone if you have to. Yes, I have a client who does just that.
- All the Time Worrying
Your Gremlin’s true job is to keep you in your comfort zone, where you are safe from harm. That is precisely why he likes to fill your head with all manner of worries. Your Gremlin will tell you anything, dramatically overstating or overestimating risk is just one of his tools of control. That constant river of negativity is one of his second favorite tools. It uses them to direct your feelings and actions. Mr. Gremlin knows (because no one knows you better) that he can stop you from standing your ground and realizing how wonderful and unique you truly are. If you could do that, he would be standing in the unemployed Gremlin line.
When a worry arises, observe it, feel it, and then detach from it, let it go, then return to yourself—your ability to choose. If that proves too tricky to begin with, try gently turning down the volume because he works best at full volume.
- Have More Faith In Your Relationship
Yep, you really can feel insecure in your relationship if you’re involved with someone who’s not what you need them to be. That being said, most of the time, your Gremlin is convinced that you’re not worthy of love. He’s constantly on the hunt for proof that will demonstrate his point. Such a life is a grueling way to exist. Listening to your Gremlin, no one will ever be good enough, because he convinces you that you aren’t good enough.
Notice what your Gremlin says to you about your friends and relationship partners. Then ask yourself, “What the heck, is this really true or is this Gremlin crap? Is there really evidence for this?” Guess what, usually there’s not. That simple question will allow you to disarm your Gremlin and move him to the backseat of your mind.
- So, how did you do? If you have a couple of these signs, you can be pretty sure that you’ve got some work to do to control your Gremlin. When you start the process, you start the process of living the life you desire and deserve.
Frank Hopkins is a certified Professional Coach in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Frank is certified by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). He is a certified Master Practitioner (ELI-MP) of the iPEC proprietary assessment tool, the Energy Leadership Index and offers seminars on Energy Leadership. He maintains memberships in the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and the Institute of Coaching (ICPA). If you want to learn more about Frank you can go to www.frankhopkinslifecoach.com.