I bet that if you could sit on your own shoulder and listen to how you talk to yourself, you’d find that you’d never talk to someone else the way you talk to you. In fact, sometimes you are so mean to yourself that you’d feel like someone should step in and stop the bullying. If someone said that to your best friend, you’d walk up and punch them. But we say terrible things to ourselves every day, and we beat ourselves up for not achieving perfection. Have you ever said, “I’m so stupid, I should have…”? Well, are you actually stupid, or did you make a mistake? But say it enough times and it will turn from ‘I’m so stupid’ to ‘Sew, there I go, stupid me, can’t do anything right’.

Here’s some more.

What was I thinking?

Nobody cares what I have to say anyway.

Look at me. No wonder I’m single.

I can’t do it!

Really? Who do I think I am? Everyone thinks I’m ridiculous.

Talking to yourself like this can completely undermine good things that happen to you, or any chance you have of creating something great. You believe what you’re told about yourself – that’s why this book exists – and if you’re constantly reinforcing these negative pictures of yourself, eventually you will curl up into a psychological ball and never attempt to achieve anything again – or at least, not without a lot of positive input.

Of course it’s not just that we’re mean or harsh with ourselves. We also let ourselves off when we really need to be strict with ourselves.

One more slice of cake/cigarette /drink/round of poker won’t hurt.

I was just telling the truth, he didn’t have to get upset.

Everyone else is doing it.

I know he abuses me, but I love him.

I’m not as bad as…

Again, if this was your best friend talking, you’d step in and tell them what they need to hear. It’s time to be our own best friends, and not our own worst critics in the wrong places, and not critics when we really need to be!

Basically, nobody else is going to be as on your side as you could be. If you are cheering for the other team, you won’t get far. Be on your side, and learn to be your biggest cheerleader.

Funnily enough, when we think we’re right, we do the opposite. We justify our mistakes because we know our circumstances. But we punish others for their mistakes… because we don’t know their circumstances. That’s another interesting lesson to learn – another time. For now, just remember whose side you’re on!