A Counter Intuitive Way to Implode Your Internal Critic


Understanding the Internal Critic (the Gremlin)

We all have an internal critic, that judgmental little voice that just can’t seem to find anything about us that is ‘good enough’. Relentlessly nasty.

Carson, in his landmark book Taming Your Gremlin (he calls the voice our gremlin), suggests that we ‘simply notice’ that voice. Don’t react or give it power, simply notice he says. Takes a lot of self control sometimes. I agree that to ‘simply notice’ is powerful. Not giving the gremlin acknowledgement, not being moved by it, pisses it off and it can run out of gas because I am not taking it seriously. Thing is, to do that is sometimes just really hard. What the voice (gremlin) is saying is too hard to ignore. I want to scream. I want to yell. I want to stamp my feet in frustration. The voice is throwing darts at me and they are filled with accusation that is showing me where I screwed up. That I didn’t even know then what I now know is irrelevant to the gremlin. Dart, dart, dart. Aghhhhhhhh!

Disempowering the Gremlin

I have an alternative. I have used this myself and have recommended it to some of the people I have Coached. It is not the intuitively best way, and it works anyway. Here it is. In situations where there seems to be no escape from the voice, the gremlin accuser, let it rant… and help it. Yes, help it. Repeat what it says and amplify and add to it. Get animated with it and let ‘er rip with judgment and accusation and condescension. Help the gremlin attack.

What the gremlin does is surprising. First of all, it is highly likely that you have never in your whole lifetime done anything but resist that little bugger. It is lost with this new behaviour, doesn’t know what to make of this joining it in tearing you down.

Result? It gets confused and starts to stumble around. You? Within less than two minutes you are likely to see how ridiculous it all is and start to laugh. Laughing at the gremlin is its demise. It cannot accept being taken anything but very seriously. Laughing at it tells it that you do not take it at all seriously. It implodes, evaporates, runs away hiding its face.

Nice job. You just tamed your gremlin, sent it scampering away.

Joseph Seiler MCC 2011-2022

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