Catching the Gremlins

For the last few weeks I’ve been reading Brenè Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection. In it, she discusses tenets she’s learned that go into what she calls, living "Wholeheartedly" — that is authentically and vulnerably. She also discusses the things that get in the way, things like shame, fear, perfectionism, comparison, the need for certainty, etc.

There are like, blog posts on blog posts I could write about the last sentence alone, but what caught my eye recently is her identification of “gremlins”. “Gremlins” is the term she uses for the thoughts that limit us. Things like “What if they laugh at me?” “What if they think I’m stupid?” “What if I have nothing valuable to offer?” “What if I’m unlovable?” They’re the thoughts that keep us from fully engaging with the life in front of us and the people around us. They keep us stifled and stunted, often hiding behind perfectionism or condescension to mask our crippling insecurities.

As I was thinking about gremlins, I thought it so curious that they often take the form of questions. Instead of coming out and making a bold statement: “You are unlovable”, they hide behind corners and cast doubts.

I think this is because there’s often no truth to them.

Sure, there’s a possibility you’re unlovable, but there’s also a possibility that all of life is an ant dreaming during a nap. There’s no real backbone or founding to them, but they’re justttt enough to stop us in our tracks. To keep us from asking that person out, offering an idea in a meeting, or taking up that new hobby.

Once we hold gremlins up to the light though, when we look them in the eye and assess their validity, we realize they’re all smoke and mirrors and we can be freed to live and engage. This week I challenge you to try to catch your gremlins, see when those thoughts come up telling you that you’re not enough, and look them dead in the eye. I promise you in the light of day they’ll be not only found to be less scary than you thought, but most likely hold no weight.