A Better Way to Stop Negative Self Talk


March 27, 2013   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Admit it.

You’ve tried everything and still your inner gremlin is destined to outlive your earthly existence.

You’ve tried resisting it.

You’ve tried ignoring it.

You’ve tried to replace it with a more positive, cuddly gremlin. You’ve even tried intimidating it.

Nevertheless it persists, immortal and ever present, torturing you with negativity, doubt, and using its familiarity with you to exploit your deepest, darkest fears.

You ask yourself what you have to do to evict this little monster from your brain.Well, if you’ve tried everything else, I’d like to suggest a different solution for you. Instead of trying to resist your gremlin, why not embrace it?

Impossible? I beg to differ.

Here’s a three-step plan to developing a positive relationship with your inner gremlin.

1. Recognize Your Inner Gremlin is a Part of You

We completely forget our inner gremlin is not actually a gremlin, but a part of ourselves.

Essentially, all of those arguments you’ve been having with it were arguments with yourself. Instead of having an antagonistic relationship with yourself, wouldn’t you rather have a compassionate and understanding relationship?

I truly believe that our inner gremlin isn’t trying to hurt us. Since we’ve established that our inner gremlin is a part of us, it seems silly that we would hurt ourselves on purpose. I believe it’s trying to help us in the only way it knows how: by scaring us into submission so we don’t have the audacity to do anything that might hurt ourselves.

It might be a crappy companion, but its intentions are good.

Step 1: Recognize that your inner gremlin is not some evil furry creature bouncing about your brain wrecking havoc. It’s an extension of yourself, and I think we can all agree that you deserve kindness and compassion.

2. Identify the Source of its Concerns

You might be wondering how this evil demon could possibly be trying to help you. It’s true that I was skeptical about this revelation myself until I really thought about it.

There are lots of reasons your inner gremlin may want to intervene into your life.

Here are a few of them.

1. Keeps You In Alignment With Your Beliefs (Especially When Those Beliefs are Limiting)

When your Gremlin sees that you’re about to do something that goes against your own rules, it steps in and stops you. After all, they are your rules whether you set them consciously or unconsciously.

For example, if you feel like you ‘should’ look a certain way, then your gremlin is going to make sure you never forget it. If you feel like you ‘should’ have a certain career, your gremlin isn’t going to let you do anything else without putting up a fight.

Your Gremlin follows your lead. If you believe you ‘should’ do or be something, it’s going to push you hard to make it happen. When you become or do these things, you’ll finally feel better about yourself (or so your gremlin seems to think).

2. Accomplishment Via Whip Cracking

Unconsciously we rely on our gremlin for tough love motivation. This can work as long as you never mess up. Ever.

For most of us, mistakes are inevitable. We do the best we can with what we have and what we know, but no one knows perfection.

Your gremlin doesn’t split hairs. If you aren’t achieving what you believe you should achieve, or if you’re failing, it’s going to let you know in a big way.

3. Softening the Blows of Rejection and Failure

Your gremlin figures that if they tell you that you’re unable to do anything, then you either won’t do it or you’ll at least be prepared when you fail. When you don’t try anything, you never have to fear failure. However, you also never know what success feels like

Again, if you’re going into an uncertain situation, your gremlin is ready to prepare you for rejection by telling you how stupid, ugly, useless, and unimportant you are. By getting the worst of it over with, you’ll be prepared for whatever rejection comes at you from anyone else.

Step 2: Take a moment to listen to what it’s saying. Write it down and try to see it from an objective perspective. Ask yourself what form of pain or what kind of negative situation it wants to prevent you from experiencing. Once you identify what it’s trying to protect you from, you’re ready for the final step.

3. Talk it Down by Reaffirming Your Capability

Instead of yelling at your gremlin, ignoring it, or blowing bubbles filled with positive words at it, I want you to have a heart to heart with your gremlin.

Before going into this conversation, understand that its intentions may be misguided, but they are good. Treat it like an overprotective sibling or friend. Don’t get mad at it, have compassion and empathy for it. It’s scared for you and it doesn’t want you hurt. It’s touching really.

Once you’re in the right frame of mind, you’re ready to confront it. Go deep into your subconscious or wherever you believe your gremlin lives, and tell it that you truly appreciate its concern, but you can handle whatever it wants to save you from.

Continue by telling it all the reasons its worry is unfounded and why everything it’s saying isn’t true. If you couldn’t tell yet, it’s a form of positive self-talk, but instead of talking to your ‘self’ as you perceive it, you’re talking to your ‘gremlin-self.’

Finish up by letting your gremlin know you’re glad it’s there for you, but you really don’t need its help, and you’re more than capable, worthy, and intelligent enough to get through things on your own.

Don’t stop until it’s thoroughly convinced.

Step 3: Talk to your gremlin and let it know how much you appreciate it watching your back, but you’re more than capable to face life full on, without it’s help. Convince it of your capability, and watch as it fades away, no longer of any use to you in that moment.

Written on 3/27/2013 by Liz Seda. Liz is a corporate dropout turned lifestyle designer and sassy personal development blogger. To find out more, go to her blog at A Life on Your Terms and download her exclusive members-only Life Lovers Guide to the Galaxy. You can also find her on twitter at @elizabethseda. Photo Credit:

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