Talking to Yourself

If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.

- Marcus Aurelius

Talking to yourself is weird. We all do it, but seldom do we acknowledge this peculiar activity to one another.

My inner voice weaved cruel lies and ugly fictions about my self-worth. It whispered sinister myths and nasty fabrications about the horrible future that lay in store for me. I never questioned that voice. Because that voice was me. I could hardly argue against it, for I would always be arguing with myself!

It took a decade of therapy before I understood that the voice in my head, is not necessarily my own.

“Hey guys, you’re sort of confusing me, so, be gone!”

“Hey guys, you’re sort of confusing me, so, be gone!”

How do you talk to yourself?

Are you stern? Judgmental? Condescending?

Would you talk in such a grim manner, and in such a brusque tone with a close friend?

It is so very easy to be hard on ourselves. When we come up short, that is an obvious testament to our lack of worth and ability. Yet, when a friend fails, we are there to remind them that failure is impermanent, and that they can do better next time.

Maybe, you have such high standards that it is impossible to reach them 100% of the time. Consider that even the best professional baseball players fail to get on base 70% of the time.

The NBA has the 50-40-90 club. Only seven players in the history of the NBA have made 50% from the field, 40% of three-point attempts, and 90% of their free throws. There is no such thing as the 100-100-100 club. It is within the realm of mathematical possibility, but in the real world, uncontrollable variables wreck havoc on those seeking perfection.

Yet, these players, these elite performers, are paid hundreds of millions of dollars even though most of them fail most of the time. And we have the gall to expect perfection for $50,000 grand a year, or to meet some college entrance exam standard.

Treat yourself like a professional athlete - take your shots, adjust for error, and banish the critical voices in your head. They’re imaginary anyway.