What are You Tolerating?

November 08, 2011

So, what are you tolerating?

Have you ever been asked that question, or asked yourself that question? If I had to bet, I would bet you’re tolerating something inside of you that you didn’t even know you had control over.

But, let me back up. The million dollar question you may have asked yourself and others, “How do we obtain a better body image?” I’m sure if you read Marzipan’s blog,  you’re wanting to be or already are on the path to achieve it. The answer lies within so many facets; the media, our upbringing, whom we surround ourselves with, exercise and nutrition, even how we dress. I have come to the conclusion that a big part of it is changing the conversation we have with others and with ourselves.

It can start with managing the conversation in our minds. We all have one. If you have a brain, you have an inner-critic or what I like to call “the gremlin”. That negative voice inside your head that can range from downright nasty and mean, to simply disempowering.   It reacts and comments to everything about your life and everyone’s gremlin is unique to them.

You have grown up with it and it has changed and evolved just like you have. It may have more to say and get louder under certain circumstances. And you may be wondering why I’m talking about it as if it’s another person?

Because even though it’s a part of you, it doesn’t have to be your TRUTH.

Just for a moment, think about your morning. What went through your head when you got up and looked in the mirror? Or, think about your body right now. What goes through your mind? What are the specific thoughts? Perhaps it was:

“I’m so fat”


“Those pants make me look fat”

“My skin looks horrendous today”

Or something of that nature.  Well, I have news for you: This is your gremlin talking. Can you imagine if that were an actual person saying those things to you? Would you keep that person around 24/7? Absolutely not! So, why do you listen to this voice? Probably because it’s become so engrained in your mind, it’s become your truth. It’s become so comfortable to you, you don’t even notice it anymore. You’re not alone. At varying levels, we all do it, but there is a solution. Starting small is a key factor. Here are 3 ways you can learn to manage your gremlin:

  • Hear it. Simply notice and be aware. If you find yourself attached to a story, your first step is to realize it. And I want to emphasize this is a made up story. You may be in a place where your gremlin is committed to telling you things that are negative about your body. Making up comments left and right. The true stories about you, your character, and your worth come from your heart and your gut. Gremlin stories are always from your head. So many people are so used to hearing that negative voice in their heads, they believe it as truth and aren’t used to listening to their hearts. So, your first step is to be aware of the gremlin voice and notice it.
  • Personify it. Draw a picture of your gremlin. It could be a person, an energy, an animal, a character from a movie or comic book.  Many women see their gremlin as themselves, but a “perfect” version. Whatever comes to you, go with it. And have fun with this! This doesn’t have to be super serious.

The point of this exercise is this: when you hear your gremlin speaking, you can make it a separate entity from you. It’s gets easier to say, “Oh, that’s just my gremlin, ‘Squid’ talking.” It may sound silly (and your gremlin is NOT invited to criticize this!), but it works.  Keep in mind that however you personify it, may change over time. If the made up character isn’t working for you anymore, come up with a new one. (If you’d like an example, here’s mine)

  • Write down the lies, and the truths.  This works best when you are really stuck on a certain situation or anxiety ridden about something coming up. You can do this specifically about your body too. In one column, write down all the mean, power stripping things your gremlin is saying to you.  Don’t hold back. Next to them on the other side, write down rebuttals, or the truth. If you’re having a hard time coming up with truths, ask what your most supportive friend or family member would say about the gremlin talk. Or what would your beloved pet say?

A step further in this tool is to do all three exercises with a buddy. Talk to a trusted friend and do these exercises together. That way when you have a “gremlin attack” and are verbalizing what your gremlin is ranting about, your friend will hopefully recognize and call you out on it.

Also, just as gremlins are universal to us all, I have yet to meet anyone who has completely eradicated their gremlin from their life. But, trust me, it is manageable. Start small and you should see some changes over time.  There might be setbacks along the way, but don’t get discouraged. Keep going. You deserve the best, and it starts with you!

kickass life coachingAndrea Owen is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC), speaker and author. Andrea helps women get what they truly want by manifesting self-love and helping them step into their authentic self. She has helped hundreds of people manage their inner-critic to break through and live their most kick-ass life. Her recent ebook, workbook and accompanying course, “Kick Your Gremlin’s Ass: Manage Your Inner-Critic to Live Your Kick-Ass Life” has received rave reviews. Get in touch with Andrea by visiting her website http://yourkickasslife.com or finding her on facebook and twitter.