Your fears, or as I like to call them your Gremlins, pop up throughout your day to day life. It is that little voice inside your head telling you you aren’t good enough, smart enough, brave enough, likeable enough, worthy enough, etc. Your fears hold you back from taking risks, seeing new opportunites, or being open to change.
Fears have the ability to change and manifest, so they aren’t always the same. Oftentimes people feel fear when they experience stress, anxiety, worry, or self-doubt.
We are brought up thinking that fears are bad, negative, and scary. What we don’t talk about is that fears have been self-created to protect us. And that once we recognize their value, we can transform them into empowering companions.
Wait, what? That sounds like crazy talk.
Read on to learn more….
Steps to Befriend Your Gremlin:
Identify your Gremlin: When am I afraid? A simple question but not always an easy one to answer and pinpoint. I suggest writing down when fears creep up and what triggers them. What does it feel like when fear has control and power? Does it show its face when you are at work? Or out with friends or family? Does it emerge when you are by yourself, or in a group setting? Are you thinking about making a change in your life but you are afraid of failing? Or maybe you are afraid of what others might say or think of you? Are you afraid that you might be making the wrong choice and then you’ll have wasted your time? Do you often find yourself experiencing FOMO (fear of missing out)? Writing down or recording on your phone when these Gremlins and insecurities pop up will help you zone in on the actual fear and the cause of it.
Name the bugger: Once you identify the shape-shifting Gremlin, sit down and think of a name to call it. It can be as simple as calling it Sam or Sally or as creative as calling it something totally made up. My Gremlin is named Pleasey: I like to think of her as the 8th dwarf from Snow White. I know it’s a bit farfetched but it works for me. By identifying and naming the inner critic and naysayer who is holding you back, you reduce and shift its power. You call it out of the shadows where it is lurking.
Find the source: Fears and Gremlins are created by us. Yes, we create our own fears. Learning to pinpoint when in your past your Gremlin was created and what its purpose is helps you identify how it has been holding you back and therefore protecting you from getting hurt. Often times our Gremlins are created during our childhood years when we experience moments of embarrassment, pain, distrust, etc. After experiencing those scarring moments, our Gremlins set out to never let that happen to us again. It’s a protective measure to safeguard against past negative experiences, but it also prevents us from living to our fullest potential. Back in college I was once told by a professor that my writing was ‘too chatty’ and not scientific enough. I was docked half a grade because of it which felt harsh at the time and bruised my ego. Ever since then I have had a fear of writing, especially writing articles or advice designed to be posted on social media. Creating, writing and posting this blog has taken a lot of energy, pep-talks and self-motivation. But as you can see, I am finally putting my fear aside and putting myself and my thoughts out there.
Visualize: Now that you’ve identified what triggers your Gremlin, have named it, and figured out its source of creation, the next step is to ask yourself, “What would I be like if I didn’t have this Gremlin holding me back? What would I be able to accomplish, achieve and experience?” By closing your eyes and taking a few moments to visualize and ponder how you would like to react, live, and think in your ideal world, it takes away your Gremlin’s hold on you. You can actually shift its power, and by doing so make it your ally.
Become friends: Yes, really, you can be friends with your Gremlin. Remember, your Gremlin was created by you to protect you. It doesn’t mean you harm. When you might be pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, and you feel your Gremlin creeping up, remember to call it out, thereby recognizing its presence and thank it for the message and warning it is providing you. Tell yourself and your Gremlin that everything is fine, that you are actually confident and ready enough to handle things on your own. You don’t need it to protect you. At that moment, your Gremlin stops being a source of your fear and becomes your companion.
Learn how to incorporate these 5 steps in turning your fears into your allies, and you will be surprised at how much your world and mindset will change. Doors will open, new experiences will be had, and you’ll feel a renewed sense of freedom and empowerment.
Still feeling skeptical and unsure about how to tame your Gremlin? Reach out! Let’s get your Gremlin and the source of its power out in the open and work together to alter its energy.