Notice how you talk to yourself, because more than likely, it’s awful
And now, a little snippet of the new book:
Spend a day just listening to your internal monologue. If it helps, and there is no one around you (or they’re super cool and you explain ahead of time what you’re doing), say it out loud. Every thought you have about yourself.
• Why aren’t you doing your work? You are so lazy.
• Oh, you have a UTI? Wah wah, no one cares.
• You’re sad about this? The same thing you’ve been sad about for months? Pathetic.
Would you say these things to a dear friend? Would you say them to a coworker? Would you say them to someone you absolutely loathed?
I sincerely hope not, because that would be cruel and completely unacceptable as a form of human interaction. Here, I will pause to remind you that you are, in fact, a human. Self-abuse is still abuse.
My friend Jo once told me something that I still think about, something that feels like complete audacity to even attempt, but I wish I would.
We were talking with a few other friends about the ways we hurt ourselves. She said that for the past five years, she has been working on treating herself like her soulmate. She says she tries to make decisions for herself out of love, never fear or pride; that even when she doesn’t feel like it, she works hard to bestow upon herself the affection, goodwill, and support that she would her own beloved.
You will always be with yourself. You will change and learn and grow but will never be someone other than who you are. You are your own Wilson, Tom Hank’s sole companion in 2000’s survival epic Cast Away.
Like every other human being on the planet, there are fantastic and wonderful things about you, and there are things you can work on. But as long as you’re doing your best — and most of us are at least trying, most of the time — then you should think about cutting yourself some slack when things don’t go exactly as you hoped they would or work out perfectly in your favor. It is about as useful as expecting, through the magical power of self-doubt and anger, that you will wake up one day able to fly.