You know how sometimes it feels that your mind is full of contradictory thoughts? (Not just me I hope). Part of you wants to go to the gym, and part wants to stay in bed. Part of you is furious with your partner, and part of you recognises that they’re just having a hard day? Part of you knows that the new offer in your business is great, and part thinks that everyone is going to ignore it or even laugh at it.
This is perfectly normal because different parts of your brain really do work in different ways and have different agendas.
Deep inside the brain we find the most primitive part, the amygdala. This is the area of the brain responsible for fight-flight-freeze type reactions. In potentially threatening situations it reacts superfast to protect us.
Obviously this can be a good thing, but when the threat is something a bit more sophisticated…like someone criticising us, or no-one responding to an offer we put out… that kneejerk reaction towards being angry, defensive or anxious isn’t as helpful.
And, all too often it’s an opportunity for our Inner Troll to poke its nose in, and get involved.
Apart from the fact that everything it says makes you feel bad, we can often spot the Inner Troll sidling in by the language it uses:
‘No-one will want this.’
‘You always muck stuff up.’
‘This is going to be a DISASTER.’
The Troll just loves a bit of drama and all or nothing type thinking.
Everyone has an Inner Troll, but some people’s Trolls like to throw their weight around more than others.
Taming your Inner Troll
The good news is that you’re actually a lot smarter than your Troll, and, once you start to spot what it’s up to, you’re halfway towards putting it back in its box (or back under the bridge.)
As soon as you notice it’s gone off on one, ask yourself, ‘Who is it that is noticing what the Troll is saying and doing?’
The answer is YOU. Which means that you are not your Troll. Your Inner Troll is just like a collection of old voice messages that your mind replays in stressful situations.
It doesn’t mean any of them are true, or that you need to take notice of them, or do what they say.
I often see posts about silencing this inner voice, or even killing it. But the more you try to do this, the harder it tends to fight back.
Like any kind of bully, the best way to deal with the Inner Troll is not to get into a fight with it, but to simply refuse to engage or take it seriously.
Troll: No-one is going to sign up for this programme.
You: Who knows? I’m just going to keep posting though and see what happens.
Troll: Everyone else is better at this than you, you may as well give up.
You: Yeah, whatever.
It’s like building a muscle at the gym. The more often you notice what the Inner Troll is up to and refuse to get pulled in, the less you are ruled by it. Until one day you realise it was always just a silly little thing with blue fluffy hair that you were giving far too much power to.
This post previously appeared on itssamkirk.com.