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.

Positive Affirmations: 3 Secrets That Get Results!

In the blog, Positive Affirmations: 3 Reasons Why They Don’t Work! I talked about the three most common mistakes I have seen over the years in creating affirmations.  This article is to take you one step further into how you can overcome these barriers and make affirmations work for you in a more consistent manner. Here are the 3 Secrets to Making Positive Affirmations work for you:

Notice your negative gut reactions and underlying self-talk.

As I said in the previous blog, your subconscious won’t let you be wrong. So the trick is to really identify those subconscious beliefs so you can begin to change them.  The best way to identify these is to listen to your negative self-talk and pay attention to your gut reaction.

For example, if you have a positive affirmation that says, “I am rich beyond my wildest dreams”, and every time you say that you hear that “little voice” in your head saying things like, “You could never be rich, you aren’t smart enough,” or perhaps, “no one in your family has ever been rich,” then listen carefully to those clues. These comments are a clue to your subconscious beliefs.  Make a list of these comments so you can deal with them one at a time.

Along with the self-talk, pay attention to your “gut reaction”. If your stomach tightens up each time you say this, then that is another clue to a subconscious belief. Spend some time exploring what your “gut” is telling you about this affirmation. Is it fear or anxiety or something else? Put these emotions on the list also.

Make sure your affirmation is aligned with what you truly want.

 The way to do this is to get to know your Authentic Spirit better. You need to know your true values, what is important to you, and what dreams are unique to you in order to create meaningful affirmations for your own unique self.  Sometimes we are influenced by friends, family or society and are not really clear on what we want for ourselves. Many times we have old outdated affirmations that were true for us 20 years ago, but not today.

Example: I had a client who kept setting affirmations about creating a successful new business, but could not figure out why she wasn’t following through on what she said she wanted. After much work on values and how they have changed, she realized that since she retired from her very successful VP job, she had actually jumped right into a business opportunity because that is what she had always done—work, set goals, be successful.  Now she realized that her Authentic Spirit was done with all that and had new priorities and goals—around volunteer work and making a difference. Once she stopped and really listened, and reconnected to her true self, she was able to re-align and become successful once again in a new way.

Remember to bring your affirmations back to yourself.

Many times we want things for other people. We hope by thinking positive we can change them. An affirmation must be about you, not about the world “out there”. You only have control over yourself.

In the example, I used in the last blog, “My husband doesn’t drink or get angry.” You could change that affirmation to something that you need to work on for yourself around this issue. For example, “I remain calm and make empowered choices.”

When you change your own beliefs,  behaviors, and perspectives about what happens, this will then be reflected in your external reality.

What’s Next?

In the next blog, Positive Affirmations: Lock them in with EFT, we will discuss the process for making affirmations believable and true for you and locking these into your subconscious in order to change your patterns of belief.

Positive Affirmations: 3 Reasons Why They Don’t Work

All your life you have been hearing about positive affirmations and the power of positive thinking. Maybe you have even posted phrases on your refrigerator or mirror that say, “I am super rich.” or “I attract only positive people into my life.” But then, when you look around your one bedroom apartment and realize you are having trouble keeping up with the rent and your boss at work is anything but positive, that gap creates even more frustration, guilt, and feelings of failure.  You try to stay positive, to believe it’s coming “someday”, but in the meantime, your life feels stuck and out of touch with your beliefs.

I have been working with affirmations and the power of intention for over thirty years and I can certainly relate to that scenario above. Does that mean we should all just give up on intentions? Should we just throw out the positive and become Debbie Downer? Of course not! There is plenty of evidence that positive affirmations work. The big question most of us have is: Why isn’t it working for me right now in this situation?

Three Common Mistakes:

In working with clients and myself on this over the years, I have identified some of the common problems with affirmations and positive thinking that make them appear to not work. Here are the top three common mistakes:

Your beliefs won’t let you be wrong.

Your subconscious beliefs, the stories you have developed about who you are, and the unique perspectives that you have held all your life are what REALLY rule your reality. In fact, your subconscious will do just about anything to make sure what you believe is validated to you in the world. It’s a mechanism we have for staying sane, but it can also work against us.

For example, if you believe that life is a struggle, that in your family no one was lucky or that everyone but you seems to be successful, then you can read an affirmation every day about getting rich and your subconscious reacts with “Right! Everyone but you that is!” You will self-sabotage in ways you won’t even notice and the minute anything negative happens your subconscious mind will spring back to you with, “See I’m right.”

You are disconnected from your Authentic Self.

Sometimes you think you want something that is really incongruent with what you truly want. You think you want to be rich or famous, but deep down your Authentic Spirit is much more interested in freedom of time or meaningful relationships or a simple life.  When your personal values conflict with what you are asking for, your actual life choices might be reflecting something different than your affirmation.

Your Positive Affirmations are based outside of yourself.

An affirmation must be about you, not about the world “out there”. You only have control over yourself. You can change your own beliefs, your own behaviors, your own perspective about what happens and then, in turn, this will be reflected by your external reality.

There is hope!

Don’t despair if you have been feeling discouraged about your positive affirmations. Take inventory of your own beliefs and see where you might fit into these categories. In the next blog, we will spend some time on quick remedies to these common mistakes and how the process of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is a great process for correcting and locking in more positive and believable statements that can change your frustration into hope and encouragement.