You know that little (loud) voice in your head that tells you that your ideas are bad, that you aren’t good enough, that you’re not beautiful enough, that you don’t have enough… I not-so-fondly refer to that voice as my gremlin. That gremlin is only out to steal our joy, kill our dreams, and make us play small. Here’s how to say “take a hike” to that vicious, destructive gremlin:
From the book, Taming Your Gremlin by Rick Carson:
“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.”
“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.”
Gosh. Doesn’t that description just make you want to kick the crap out of your gremlin?!?!
But here’s the thing that I hope you also get out of these quotes –
YOU are WAAAAAYYY more powerful than your gremlin.
You CAN overcome his tactics! And here is how:
Notice Your Gremlin
This is the hardest step, and also the most important. We have to be able to “get out of our heads” enough to identify thoughts that are coming from and/or twisted by the gremlin. So, when you have a negative thought – perhaps about how you think your students will do on your state tests, or how the parents will like/dislike your final concert/show/open house, or how unhappy you are with how your school year has gone – just simply notice the negative thought. Focus your awareness on the thought and remember where the thought has come from – your gremlin.
Choose Not to Believe the Gremlin
Remember, our gremlin’s only goal is to see us fail, become disheartened, and lose faith in ourselves. So when you notice a thought/fear/belief that has clearly come from the gremlin (you’ll know because it makes you feel like crap, is negative, and is rooted in our fears), simply choose not to believe him.
Here’s the thing – our gremlins lie to us all. day. long. They tell us about how small we are, how unworthy we are, and how permanent our failures are.
But none of it is true.
You, my sweet teacher friend, are mighty, capable, strong, and wonderful. You were placed, purposefully, in front of your students because they need you…not the perfectly pinable, color-coordinated teacher you are comparing yourself to.
Step into that truth.
Step into your purpose, your power, and your worth. And stop believing the lies of the gremlin.
Here’s how that looks:
You think: “Dang. My students’ end of the year projects aren’t nearly as pretty as the ones this other teacher posted on Pinterest. The parents will surely be disappointed in ours.”
Then you have to say something like this: “Gremlin – shut up – I’m choosing not to believe that.”
Silence Your Gremlin
Now, silence that gremlin once and for all by consciously choosing a different thought.
For example, you may think: “My students are going to do terrible on the state test. They are poor test takers, and I didn’t even get to the last unit I was planning to teach.”
You notice the thought and choose not to believe him: “Wow – that was a terribly negative thought. Must be from my gremlin, and I’m not going to believe that.”
Then choose a different thought: “I know my students are going to do fine on the state test. They have worked hard to learn the content in this class, and they will show it. Plus, I know that these test are only one indicator of their learning – and probably a poor one at that. I know they have done well this year. I’m proud of their progress. And I’m proud of the job I am doing as their teacher.”
This may feel awkward at first if your gremlin has been running wreckless through your thoughts for a while. But hang in there. Stick with it.
It takes practice to get to ninja-level gremlin-taming. But I know you’re up for it! The stakes are too high not to.
Together, let’s rebel against the life the gremlin wants for us – the life where we stay small and silent.
Instead, let’s step into our greatness, our power, our purpose, and our worth!
You are mighty, teacher friend. And you were place in front of those students for a reason.
Bring it on, gremlin. I’m no longer a match for your negativity and fear-twisting methods for keeping me small.
Let’s do this,
What is your next move?