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Voice of the Gremlin

By Alana Tobin

Live Your Heart Story

'Gremlin' is a well known term in coaching circles representing the 'inner critic,' a personification of the negative inner voice. Gremlins are conceived through the passing along of negative or self defeating messages which have been internalized throughout life. Well meaning parents, teachers, siblings and associates who like our selves are challenged intermittently with the voices of the gremlin have (unconsciously) past these along. When the voice of the gremlin overpowers our authentic voice, it can feel difficult to go after what we most desire, as we are plagued by self doubt, fear or feelings of low esteem.

The negative thoughts of the gremlin discourage us and can have us believing we are not capable or worthy of being, having or doing what we desire to experience in life. At times, it may appear and feel as though there are insurmountable obstacles blocking us from realizing our goals; such as: writing that book, starting a new business, losing weight, healing a relationship, or.... Gremlins may discourage you from speaking up for yourself, or might have you denying your own needs in order to make it easier for everyone else. Through minimizing risk you may pass up important opportunities to excel in life by nursing feelings of low self esteem. Familiar messages such as the "I'm not good enough" or "I can't, shouldn't or won't succeed," are expressions of the gremlin and at times they may even go so far as to sabotage your progress by evoking negative fantasies where you envision a 'worse case' scenario until you catch yourself and snap out of it.

My role as a coach involves co-creating a space for an individual so they can remember their innate magnificence especially at times of transition when they may forget or lose touch with their authentic nature and the truth and power that is within. When moving into new territory, as in committing to a new life venture, these gremlins emerge because they are invested in keeping you safe and protected from imagined threats and failures. If we resist the voices of our gremlins we may 'white knuckle' it through life's challenges, however I have found their influence grows when we choose to deny or ignore them. A gremlin's influence can be so compellingly powerful that it becomes difficult to distinguish between the gremlin's voice and what our own heart is communicating. Without a supportive structure, it can be impossible to keep your vision for your life in clear sight. As a life coach I ask powerful questions in addition to utilizing a variety of empowering tools to assist individuals in remembering and accessing more of their own inner wisdom, creativity and power. Have you ever had the experience of being chased in a dream and it seemed the harder you ran from a shadowy pursuer, the harder it was to shake them off?

Dream interpreters suggest that if you have such a nightmare, if you make a conscious intention before going to sleep, to turn around and face your opponent head on, rather than running away, that the frightening dream figure will often appear in another form; more allowing for you to connect in a new way. Often in dreams, parts of ourselves that we may not easily accept do their best to get our attention; even scaring us into submission so we will listen more closely to our deeper pain and the needs that lie beneath it. Through acknowledging rather than ignoring the gremlins, we allow ourselves to gain important insights and opportunities to gain significant breakthroughs facilitative of us reclaiming buried treasures once left behind.

In a coaching session, I asked a woman if she would be willing to meet her gremlins through a creative process. She agreed and a powerful healing experience ensued. This woman decided to meet her gremlins head on, and even though at first it felt difficult for her, she committed herself to draw pictures of her gremlins on a few sheets of paper. After each drawing was complete her intuition gave her little messages which she wrote at the bottom of each page. Each message conveyed a feeling and once she set about connecting the dots to these emotive messages...memory was triggered allowing her to remember a time as a child where a teacher had told her she couldn't draw. Over time her gremlins had limited her in sharing her art with the world, yet once she decided to meet them and her hurt feelings, emotional release provided her with rich insights and genuine healing. Through allowing her gremlins to emerge in a space of compassion, she opened to a process of reclaiming and reintegrating her creative gifts and was able then to move her art to a new level.

Deep down you may find that these gremlins with their negative messages are really giving you an opportunity to become aware of something important in order that you can retrieve a part of yourself or reclaim a gift that you previously set aside. It is through nurturing authenticity and exploring more of your creative nature that you are inspired to express your 'true self' and go after your heart desires. As your authenticity grows, the gremlins voice and power also wanes and eventually there is nothing that can deter you from acting on and realizing your heart dreams.

About The Author
Alana Tobin

Over the past 27 years, As a Facilitator and Life Coach I have had the privilege to work with people who have focused upon and achieved the following types of goals: Creating a new career, achieving health and fitness goals, creating more fun in life, achieving more life balance, reducing stress, improving communication, creating more fulfilling relationships, developing spiritual awareness, mastering emotions, and opening more to creativity.


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