Reply To: Ask the experts
JoAnn — That’s such a normal experience you’re having with the gremlin. Keep in mind that your gremlin knows exactly what to say to prey on your fears and anxieties, so it can feel incredibly difficult if you find yourself “debating” with the gremlin (as in, trying to prove it right or wrong). Because the gremlin is manipulative! So it’ll try to convince you it’s right, and sometimes you might start to believe it. So instead of trying to prove the gremlin wrong, try bringing compassion, understanding, and reassurance to your gremlin dialogues. The same as you would with a scared child. It’s OK if this is challenging and/or uncomfortable at first. You’re practicing a whole new way of talking to yourself.
It’s also perfectly understandable that you have an assumption about not being liked/accepted. If you haven’t felt accepted in the past, it’s easy to feel like it’s not likely to happen wherever you go. It can be really helpful, though, to remind yourself of 1) all the ways this current situation is different from past situations (totally different people, different work culture, you’ve grown/evolved, etc.), and 2) all of the executions to that experience (the close friends you have made over the years, the people who were friendly and approachable, etc., even if they were more rare). Sometimes, too, assumptions that have perpetuated for a long time turn into gremlins — for example, it might start out as “people don’t like/accept me,” and then turn into “I’m not likable.” At that point, it’s helpful to try something like a gremlin dialogue or the Forever Box exercise from the Week 1 live hangout.
I want to applaud you for taking your time with Week 1 and getting as much as you can out of it. It’s important to go at your own pace with this course! Thanks again, as always, for sharing your experience and asking for the support you need.