If someone spoke to you the way you spoke to yourself, would you be that someone’s friend? Would you say the same words to your child, your spouse, your friends that you say to yourself? What would happen to your relationships if you did?
If I spoke to Brian or my girls the way I spoke to myself for much of yesterday morning, I would be guilty of being unkind, dismissive, impatient, and discouraging. I would hurt them, fracture our bond, make them feel unimportant. There’s simply no way I would ever speak to them or anyone I love (and even all but maybe two people I don’t like) in the same tone, with the same words I carelessly use to talk to myself.
This probably holds true for many people. We are careful to treat other people with respect, to muster up kindness in our interactions even on days when we feel less than stellar, to voice love, admiration, and appreciation for those who light our lives with their presence. But when we get inside our own heads and begin the conversation, we are quick to harangue ourselves, to point out the imperfections in an otherwise lovely human, to tell ourselves we’re not ___________ enough. We insult, criticize, and berate. We are often our own worst enemies.
What if we took care to treat ourselves with the same compassion and respect we use in our interactions with others? What if we spoke words of encouragement, faith, and love into our own lives? What would change?
The above questions intrigue and challenge me. Could I do it? Could I speak to myself kindly? With love? Patience? Would I find more gratitude, more motivation, more happiness if I did so? I think the answer is yes. I think I’d like to try again.