Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Shut Up Gremlins, I Know What I'm Doing

I generally have a positive outlook, but sometimes - when I get criticized, lose focus, hit a roadblock or tackle something new - doubts, worries and anxious self-talk will creep into my head.  Life coach Carol Moss calls these undermining thoughts "gremlins" and they can be vicious little monsters. Here's a sampling of the nastiness my gremlins pepper me with.

Get back in your box!
Who do you think you are?
You're ridiculous.
That's not gonna work.
No one's interested in that.
You don't have the experience.
You don't deserve it.
Your opinion doesn't matter.
You forgot something.
What will people think?
Don't stand out.
Act your age, be more ladylike.
You're fat/ugly/old/irrelevant.
You don't fit in.

When those spiteful gremlins (or some real life critic) show up and leave me feeling shaky, I've got a tried and true method for getting them back in their box - I whip out my personal mantra.

 I've used this five word phrase for years and it's nothing mystical or new age. I simply repeat to myself..

I know what I'm doing. 
I know what I'm doing.
 I know what I'm doing. 
I know what I'm doing.

This simple phrase brings me great comfort, and by placing emphasis on different words, my mantra has a wide range of reassuring meanings: I'm in control of myself, my opinion is the one that matters, I'm smart, I'm following a course of action I believe in, I'm consciously choosing what's happening to me, etc. It's awesome!

"I know what I'm doing" shuts up most of my gremlins, but you'll probably find other phrases that work better for you. For small glitches, mistakes and annoyances, I frequently mutter "It's no big deal" because most of the time, it really isn't.

I also admire Amy Poehler's proclamation (as quoted by Tina Fey in her hilarious book, Bossypants) "I don't fucking care if you like it!"

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