Taming the Gremlin – Believing You’re Worthy
By: Lexi Smith, Lorri Lankiewicz, and Jill Mazza
The other day a colleague got credit for having a great idea – an idea I had presented to lukewarm response several months earlier. Sound familiar? I could just feel myself boiling over with anger and frustration. Later that night, I tearfully shared this information with my husband – stammering – among other things, “It’s just not fair!” Being denied recognition I thought I deserved left me feeling – in a word – unworthy.
“That feeling,” Dr. Lorri A. Lankiewicz explains, “comes from the “Gremlin” – the inner voice that tells us we are not worth abundance; that life is not fair and that we have to endure suffering before we receive; that others deserve great relationships, nice things – but it’s selfish for us to feel good, look good, and make time for ourselves.”
Dr. Lankiewicz suggests that to get rid of this inner voice, we need to recognize it, name it, and stop listening to it. “Ok . . .” I tell her – skeptically thinking that this is easier said than done. “Naming it,” she instructs me, “means getting at the root cause.” Delving into my root cause, I find the top three names include “shame”, “guilt”, and “anger”. Others might be “family”, “teacher”, “society”, and “friend”.
I’m a very visual person, so I actually had to give my “Gremlin” some physical characteristics. She ended up looking like Medusa – with wild snakes flying out of her head. And, in my rant to my husband about how unfair life is – I was pretty much channeling this character! Dr. Lankiewicz then directs me to deflate the “Gremlin” – to take away her power to control me. “So,” I said to Dr. Lankiewicz, “Let me get this straight. You want me to tell this raging lunatic that she has to shut up because I’m not listening anymore?” “Yes,” she tells me rather matter-of-factly and adds, “then, thank her.”
“Thank her!” I practically yell. “She’s ruining my life.” “As annoying and destructive as the “Gremlin” is,” Dr. Lankiewicz continues, “she exists to remind you that there is something inside that you need to learn about and grow through in order to start believing in yourself. Once you deflate her, you can replace her.” As she is explaining this process, I’m remembering my favorite movie, Pretty Woman, when Julia Roberts’s character is recalling how much easier it is to believe the negative things people tell you about you – and how those beliefs directed her life.
Jill Mazza, Communications Coach, explains ““We can reframe our thinking by choosing to embrace inner confidence and courage. This means consciously leading ourselves through life, work, and relationships, rather than being dragged along by our Gremlins and succumbing to negative self-talk and self-defeating, emotional habits.” (e.g., my change in thinking – if someone else got credit for one of my brilliant ideas, it’s ok – because there’s more where that came from!).”
Life isn’t always fair. People aren’t always thoughtful. When we listen to our “Gremlin,” we become victims. When we deflate the “Gremlin,” we take control over our inner voice and – ultimately – we change what we believe about ourselves. And, what others believe about us – no longer matters as much.