Messages from Our Gremlins

The word “gremlin” has its origin from the Gaelic language meaning “an ill-humored little person.” In the coaching process, gremlin refers to the inner voice that tells us, “You’re not good enough.” In this simple, but powerful way, they can keep us from moving forward with our goals and dreams.

Gremlins have their origins in our past. They are really messages from others that were carried over into our present.

My gremlin is the part of me who was hurt a long time ago. The multimedia video above shows that my gremlin originated from messages internalized during very specific periods of my life. When these negative words were enforced over and over, they resulted in a fear of pain. Therefore, the real message underneath is meant to protect me from perceived consequences of failure.

Unfortunately as an adult, it fuels my fears and fosters a lack of motivation. The message begins as “not good enough” and results in another: “Just give up so you never have to feel that pain ever again.”

So what does one do?

Becoming aware of your gremlin is a great start. Realize it is not Who You Really Are, but simply a reinforced message you’ve internalized. Separate it from the rest of your thoughts and see it for what it is, an ill-humored little person whose intention is to protect you from the pain of failure.

Also realize that this gremlin is a part of you that can change. These old messages simply need to be reframed. Must the consequences of our failures lead to pain today? What else can we say to ourselves when things don’t turn out as planned? And, most important, is there really such a thing as failure?

Beginning to answer these questions for ourselves can reduce the power of the gremlin within us. In the end, all of us would benefit from creating new messages and experiences based on love and nurturing.

Writing from my core,


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