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  • Darci Daniels

Gremlin Voice

It sucks. I learned how to defeat it.

A not very close approximation of what I feel like when the gremlin voice hits. This picture is actually closer to, "Boy, is this meeting BORING!"

All my life I’ve had a voice (it’s a gremlin) in my head asking the same question, over and over, several times, every day… what’s wrong with me??

It’s debilitating. It’s frustrating. It’s harmful. It's whiny.

It’s also bullshit.

So WHY does my brain keep thinking it? I know there’s nothing wrong with me, not really. I’m a messy, imperfect, complicated human being. I’m loving, I’m kind, I’m empathetic, I’m compassionate, but I’m also sometimes a judgmental bitch. I make mistakes. This is not new, and it’s also okay. Because I’m human and I’m whole.

I can rationalize away almost anyone else’s bad behavior, because I’m an empath and I always look for/see the good in people and their underlying insecurities. (If you don’t know what an empath is, I can feel what other people are feeling. It’s not just that I sympathize, I actually feel it. I’m also an HSP – highly sensitive person. It’s an interesting combo.) So, if I can give other people unending grace, why can’t I do that for myself?

What’s wrong with me?

See?! The gremlin pops up in any situation. Even when I’m pointing out to myself how caring and empathetic I am toward others. And every time the gremlin voice flits across my brain, part of me holds on and assumes the question is right, that there must be something wrong with me. Then, I feel defeated. Try running a business or having a peaceful, successful life in general when you feel defeated. It’s impossible. It’s not a good place to operate from. When you watch 2 sports teams playing each other – I don’t care what sport we’re talking about, it could be anything – what happens when one team starts to feel defeated, even before the time’s run out on the clock? Yup, they will find ways to lose, even if they’re ahead. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you’re a fan watching your team feel defeated, it’s maddening. You want to believe for them, but it’s already a losing battle.

It’s no different when it’s inside your head. The second the question is asked and I feel defeated, I’ve lost the day.

So, how do I turn this around? There has to be a lesson, and a turn-around here, right? Otherwise why would I be confessing this very vulnerable pattern?

For a while I used the statement/turn-around, “everything is right with me”. It’s a good one, as turnarounds go. It’s short, direct, and the opposite of the negative thought. But the problem is, the gremlin caught on to this turnaround, and started countering with, “Haha, you’re crazy – I can point out 10 things that are wrong with you right now! Everything is right with me – you wish!!”

The gremlin is smart. It knows how to defeat me. The question is, will I let it?

And that, my friends, is the real way I learned to get around this maddening gremlin question that plagues me daily. It’s not to try and hope the question goes away, it’s not to try and make friends with it, and it’s certainly not to have only one counter to it… Instead it’s to change the rules. To be resolute that I WON’T LET IT DEFEAT ME. The minute I decide not to let it win, I’m not defeated anymore. I’ve changed the game. The gremlin can ask the question all it wants, but I’ve already decided the negativity won’t win. Different days call for different plays (extending the sports metaphor): some days I ignore it, some days I use the simple turn-around and it works, but most of the time I turnaround the question and ask, “What is right with me?” I look for the positive. I extend gratitude toward myself and my life. I make a list of all the people that love me and would sincerely answer that question if asked out-loud with, “Nothing is wrong with you! Don’t be silly. Take a deep breath and have a cup of tea.”

Do you know what the first key to all of this is? It’s not the turn-around, it’s not deciding it won’t defeat me, it’s not having people who love me… although all of those are incredibly important. The key is I’m aware of the voice. I know it’s not ME. I know it’s a gremlin voice that is born out of fear. If you’re not aware of the debilitating thoughts that are undermining your life, you can’t change them. That’s it. Awareness is the first key. If you need help with awareness, or if you’re already painfully aware and don’t know how to counter the gremlin voice, I can help. It’s what I do. And I’ve had a lot of practice. 😊


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