I was given a piece of advice once that I try to follow. I cannot remember what book I read this in or what speaker shared the tidbit. I just remember the “aha” moment of realizing it is true. It comes back to me again and again.
Speak to yourself the same way you speak to your very best friend.
You would think this would be easy, right? As selfish as we humans tend to be, you would think we always spoke to ourselves in sweet loving voices. You would think wrong. Let me share a small example…
I was running errands a few weeks ago and had both boys in the backseat. My boys are not quiet when riding in a car, so I was trying to focus on the road while dealing with their latest argument. I had intended to turn onto Church Street, because I had a package to mail from the Post Office. I missed the turn. As I pulled into the left lane to make a turn onto Green Street instead, I heard the voice in my head. The “I messed up” voice.
It said, “Idiot!”
Seriously? If I were riding with Leila or Catherine or, well, pretty much ANYONE in the world and they missed their turn, what would I say?
“Relax. Don’t worry about it. We can go back.”
And I wouldn’t just be saying it either. It wouldn’t bother me that they had missed a turn. So what? Took maybe an extra 90 seconds to take Green Street and go around the block to the Post Office. Missing a turn doesn’t make anyone an idiot. It has absolutely nothing to do with intelligence.
The next time you make a mistake and find yourself fuming at… yourself… take a deep breath and pretend your best friend just made the same mistake. What would you say to him/her?
Say that to you.
*originally published on Middle Places