Gremlins: Make Friends With Your Self-Talk

Gremlins and Negative Self Talk

How Well Do You Know YOUR Gremlins? 

Gremlins are also known as our inner critic, negative self-talk, negative fantasizing, etc. Whatever you call them, Gremlins are the keepers of the status quo.  They love to keep you locked in your comfort zone. They are also experts at blocking you from reaching (and sometimes even seeing) your greatest potential.

I work with clients on uncovering and naming their worst Gremlins.  The secret is that once you can give them a name, maybe even a face, you can begin to realize that they don’t have to be part of how you define yourself.  Say, for instance, you have a Gremlin named “I’m just not good enough to…”  What does he/she look like?  Sound like?  The more you can get to know your Gremlins, and realize they don’t have to be part of you, the more you can separate them from yourself, and then make conscious decisions about whether to listen to them or not.

How Do We Know When Our Gremlins Are Talking?

A wonderful analogy was made by a student in one of my workshops several years back that really shows the power of naming them and knowing they don’t have to control you. she compared it to the classic movie A Beautiful Mind, based on the true story of the brilliant Nobel Laureate in Economics John Nash who suffered from schizophrenia.  Similarly, think of your Gremlins like the “people” who followed John Nash around in the movie.  In the beginning, they completely ruled his life.  But as he became aware of the fact that they weren’t real, he could consciously choose to ignore them and go on doing what he needed to do in his life!  But like Nash, in order to not let them interfere, we have to be conscious of what they are saying to us.

Three Important Facts In Dealing With Gremlins

  • Everyone (no, not just you!) has this negative self-talk chattering in their head.  The difference between letting it rule us or moving on in life comes from how well we are able to recognize them for what they are ( or I should say AREN’T) and ignore their messages.
  • They never go away.  You can learn to ignore them and let them have their say, but you cannot completely destroy them.  They will learn to be quiet and harmless, but will never completely leave.
  • The closer you get to what you REALLY want in life, the LOUDER the Gremlins are!  Or if you are up to big stuff in your life—they will always be hanging around.  Remember, they like to hold you down in your comfort zone.

So how do you begin to learn to tame them?  By getting to know better the creative, resourceful, and powerful being that you truly are!  It involves becoming more familiar with your dreams, values and authentic self.  In fact, helping people to make this part of you more real is what my job is as a coach. To hold your magnificence for you, even when you forget, or get taken over by your Gremlins.

Your challenge is to begin to listen for what your Gremlins are saying to you that holds you back.  Simply begin by just noticing, not arguing or struggling with them. Once you can begin to notice them, then you can start to make conscious choices about whether to believe them or not.