This second guessing is a form of self-imposed stress. It happens when our self talk is full of should, could or would. “If I were good sister, I would have called my sister last night. If I were a good Mom, I would have studied with my daughter today. If I were a good spouse, I wouldn’t have become impatient with my spouse. If I were a good boss, I wouldn’t have been so critical just now.” Funny how “good” rhymes with should, could and would.
Self-imposed stress can be the most debilitating of all. The enemy within, it saps us of energy, deflates our ego and causes our self-esteem to plummet.
Remember, nobody is capable of giving 100 percent, 100 percent of the time. It’s not humanly possible. We can only do our best in each moment, not someone else’s best, and accept that we won’t meet everyone’s expectations, including our own, all of the time.
Here’s the real opportunity, a little known fact. Those never-ending critical voices that swirl around in our heads are really only interested in helping us be “good” at one thing. They are called Gremlins and their prime objective, hard as it may be to believe, is to keep us safe by keeping us small.
These unwitting saboteurs perch on our shoulders and shout into our ears things such as, “A good friend should have . . .” or “A good employee could have . . .” or “A good spouse would have . . .” Contrary to appearances, Gremlins are actually misguided allies trying to protect us. Though their tactics are sneaky and complex, there are sure-fire ways to convert them from our biggest saboteurs to our greatest allies. We’ll explore the complete multi-step Gremlin conversion process in future blogs, meanwhile, you can start making inroads with this simple first step.
Laugh. The next time your Gremlin shows up, acknowledge his presence, and laugh. Tell her there’s no room in the inn. Nothing takes the wind out of the sails of a bully like being laughed at. So, go on, laugh yourself silly.
The next time, and every time, the voices of ‘shoulda’, ‘coulda’, ‘woulda’ come to call, laugh, thank them for the entertainment and invite them to invest in a more constructive way to contribute to your life.