Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way
I used to get surprised whenever I’d learn that someone (other than me) judged themselves harshly, were their own worst critic or had perfectionistic tendencies that weighed them down. For a long time, I thought I was the only one or at best that no one had it as bad as me.
Then I started working on myself – reading books, attending workshops, seminars and retreats, and soon I realized that I really wasn’t alone at all. Sitting in workshops with other people – professionals of all ages, from a variety of countries, both men and women, and almost everyone could admit that they had an extremely harsh and critical voice within them nagging and judging everything they did or wanted to do. For some, the voice was incessant – it censored and edited every word they spoke and completely got in their way of enjoying life. For others, it only became noticeable in certain circumstances – some with work, others with relationships or dating, many when they needed to get up in front of people to speak or present – areas of life that challenged them the most.
I believe everyone has one of these voices (or several) just not everyone is aware that that voice isn’t their best self talking (for more on our true inner voice, click here).
Over time, I learned a lot about this voice (or voices) of my ego – a part of myself I wished I could have dissected and tossed in the trash – like an ego-ectomy. I was aware of this part of me, I understood that I wasn’t alone and that I could eventually learn to manage it quite effectively (I wasn’t there yet, I just had more hope and a better understanding).
It wasn’t until I became a coach in training that I learned several powerful methods for helping people learn to manage their inner tyrants better, self included. One of the suggested readings was a book called Taming Your Gremlin.
Learning, with other coaches, and doing exercises together where we gave a voice, shape and persona to our egos/inner-critics/saboteurs was a liberating experience that I now love to share with my clients.
This book takes a gentle, compassionate and guided approach to getting to know, understand and even appreciate what the author calls your Gremlin.
Gremlins cause all kinds of energy-sucking and life-draining issues for people, like: procrastination, doubt, anguish, worry, guilt, shame, regret, fear, self-loathing, resentment and many other challenging emotions and patterns.
The Gremlin is definitely no laughing matter, or is it? Could using humor make a positive difference?
It does and that’s just one of the ways we can learn how to dissolve its power and this book is completely geared to help even the toughest of Gremlins with a variety of reflective exercises and daily practices.
Let me share a bit from the book on how we are introduced to our Gremlins:
“You already have some sense of your gremlin, though perhaps you never have focused your awareness on him or labeled him. Your gremlin is the narrator in your head. He has influenced you since you came into this world, and he accompanies you throughout your entire existence. He’s with you when you wake up in the morning and when you go to sleep at night. He tells you who and how you are, and he defines and interprets your every experience. He wants you to accept his interpretations as reality, and his goal, from moment to moment, day to day, is to squelch the natural, vibrant you within.” Page 3.
“Your gremlin’s caution about life and living is inordinate and his methods of control are overzealous. He is not merely your inner critic or simply a part of your psychological makeup. Your gremlin is not your negative thoughts – he is the source of them. He is not your less-than-positive past experiences – he uses them. He is not your fears – he taunts you with them by creating the horror movie about your future that you sometimes watch…. One thing is for certain. As you begin to simply notice your gremlin, you will become acutely sensitive to the fact that you are not your gremlin, but rather, his observer. You will see clearly that your gremlin has no real hold on you. As this awareness develops, you will begin to appreciate and enjoy your life more and more. It is for you, the observer, that this book is written.” Pages 4-5
And that is why the subtitle of the book refers to getting out of your own way. Our own, natural, unique, special, wonderful way of being is constantly being muted and stifled by the biggest bully of them all, our gremlin. Imagine who you’d become and what life would be like, if you were your unlimited self more often. Coach’s Request: Reflect on that for a while and see what comes up for you.
It’s liberating and life-expanding.
Using simple and interactive exercises to explore your inner world and practicing methods that help you experiment with new options for seeing, perceiving and interpreting reality, you will learn a lot from this book on an intellectual level. More importantly you will learn a lot on a emotional and soulful level, which is where we need it most and where it serves us the most.
In this book you will learn:
- about awareness & presence and how to become a more effective observer of your own mind, thoughts, emotions, beliefs and patterns.
- how you respond to emotions, yours and those of others.
- how you’ve been interpreting reality and what you can do to change it for the better.
- how to accept and allow instead of resist and struggle.
- how to simply notice (become centered and aware), choose and play with options (experiment with new approaches to get out of your own way) and be in the process (knowing that Gremlin-Taming is a lifelong practice and there is no finish line).
I highly recommend this book to all who feel plagued by the Gremlin within and would like to live their lives with more inner peace, mental clarity, more compassion to ourselves and others, and who would finally like to see what life can be like if we were our natural selves.
A special thanks and tons of admiration and respect for the author Rick Carson who has helped so many people throughout the world (including me) with his loving, compassionate and wise lessons.
Pretty cool how things work out sometimes!