Taming Your Gremlin:
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A completely updated edition of this classic, explaining the author's laidback but stunningly powerful methods for taming self-defeating behaviors. Through the metaphor of the gremlin, presented imaginatively in writing and in artwork by Novie Rogers, the author demonstrates ways to indentify and banish the tenacious, self-defeating aspects of personality.
Your Gremlin interprets your every experience. He has nothing good to say about you or anything you do, not to mention your dreams and aspirations. Just when you feel you've out-argued or overcome him, he changes his disguise and his strategy. Grapple with him and you become more enmeshed. What he hates is simply being noticed. That's the first step to his taming. This and many other straightforward and powerful techniques await you in Taming Your Gremlin: A Guide to Enjoying Yourself.
“I have found ‘Gremlin-Taming’ to be a unique, imaginative, and effective tool . . . I highly recommend it!” (Joan Baez )
The Book, Me, You, and Your Gremlin
This book is not intended to guide you to enlightenment, to eternal bliss, or to riches. It will, however, help you to enjoy yourself more and more each day. It is simple and practical and I hope that reading it brings you much pleasure.
Over the last 20 or so years a number of people have come to me for counseling. They have come with a variety of "presenting problems" including anxiety (experienced all sorts of ways), strange behavior, and strained relationships. While my service to them could be described in clinical, philosophical, and perhaps even metaphysical terms, the truth is that I have spent most of my time with them simply helping them improve their ability to enjoy themselves. I have had the pleasure of seeing not only individuals, but couples and entire families enhance their potential for day-to-day, moment-to-moment enjoyment, and in the process, for most of them anyway, their "presenting problems" have disappeared. Those who themselves were "helping professionals" such as physicians, teachers, ministers, and psychologists tell me that increasing their ability to enjoy themselves has contributed to an increase in their effectiveness with those whom they serve.
I am no master of the art of self-enjoyment. I am, however, a conscientious student of the process and I am steadily becoming more and more proficient not only at enjoying myself, but at assisting others to do the same.
Having commented on what this book is and is not, and on who I am and am not, let me say a word about who you are and are not. You probably already know, or at least sense, that you are not your body, your feelings, your thoughts, your personality, or even some complex combination of these variables. Furthermore, you are not the roles you play such as mother, father, wife, friend, up-person, down-person, client, counselor, all-around good person, or lowdown nogoodnik. These are just labels to describe your style of existence at any point in time. The real you is a pure life force and is not limited by your concepts and ideas about who you are. It is the real you that is able to experience and enjoy the body in which you dwell, the external physical world in which you live, and the thoughts, memories and fantasies your brain creates and stores. I do not know all that there is to know about the real you (or the real me, for that matter), but I have experienced enough to know that the real you is beautiful beyond your most creative fantasy, and allowed to do so it will guide the evolvement of your life in a manner that will feel terrific.
The real you feels wonderful all of the time; therefore, the more you are able to allow the real you complete freedom, the more you will enjoy yourself. This may sound simple. That is because it is. But it is not easy. For while you were created capable of complete and constant enjoyment, there is within you a gremlin intent on squelching your very essence and consequentlyyour level of enjoyment.
You already have some sense of your gremlin though you may have never focused your awareness on him or labeled him. Your gremlin is the narrator in your head. He has influenced you since you came into this world and he accompanies you throughout this entire existence. He is with you when you wake up in the morning and when you go to sleep at night. He tells you who and how you are, and he defines and interprets your every experience. He wants you to accept his interpretations as reality, and his goal from moment-to-moment, day-to-day, is to squelch the real, vibrant you within. I am not sure of the factors that contributed to the make-up of your particular gremlin. I am sure, however, that he was created, at least in part, by your past experiences.
Your gremlin wants you to feel bad and he carries out this loathsome pursuit via sophisticated maneuvers, which we will discuss later, and by convincing you to waste time reliving the past, worrying about the future, and analyzing the relationships between all sorts of people and things. He wants you to believe that he has your best interest at heart and that his primary purpose is to serve and protect you. His motive is actually much less honorable. He is intent on making you feel lousy. His caution about life and living is inordinate and his methods of control are overzealous. If by chance you are familiar with theories of psychotherapy take note that your gremlin is not the parent ego-state of Eric Berne's transactional analysis, the Top Dog of Fritz Perl's gestalt therapy, or the super-ego of Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory. He is not merely a part of your psychological make-up. He is a GREMLIN and his personality, like his dastardly intention, is all his own. One thing is for certain, as you begin to simply notice your gremlin, you will become acutely sensitive to the fact that you are not your gremlin, but rather his observer. You will see clearly that your gremlin has no real hold on you. As this awareness develops, you will begin to enjoy yourself more and more. It is to you, the observer, that this book is written.
The "simply" in "simply noticing" cannot be overstated. Simply noticing has nothing to do with analyzing, understanding, predicting the future, or undoing the past. Simply noticing involves only simply noticing.
Trying and Figuring Out
I hope that you will not try to figure out the gist of what I am saying, for both "trying" and "figuring out" are a waste of time. To try and/or figure out is to invite your gremlin into our relationship. Two is...
Excerpted from Taming Your Gremlin (Revised Edition) by Richard D. Carson Copyright © 2003 by Richard D. Carson
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.