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Have you ever thought about how you treat yourself?

Notice Your Internal Dialogue

Most of us have an internal dialogue running in our head all day long. Sometimes these messages are positive: “Great job on that workout!” “You’re going to rock this test!” “You look awesome today!”

But more often, at least for me, the messages are negative. “Ack, you’re such an idiot!” “I can’t believe you did [fill in the blank] again!” “Why can’t you just get it together?”

Treat Yourself Like a Friend

I was listening to a talk recently about self-compassion by psychologist Kristin Neff. One of her main points was to treat yourself like you would treat a friend.

Take some time today and pay attention to the things you tell yourself. Would you ever say these things to a close friend? Probably not. A lot of the things we tell ourselves would be inappropriate and rude if we said the same thing to someone else.

Sometimes we might think our negative self-talk keeps us in line, or motivates us to do the right thing. But treating yourself like a friend doesn’t mean you let yourself off the hook if you are doing something that is hurting yourself or someone else.

Think about a time when a close friend told you they were struggling with something. You probably didn’t want your friend to stay stuck in their pain. You probably tried to encourage or help them in some way. But you probably did so in a loving and supportive manner, understanding and empathizing with their struggle.

We should have the same goal with how we treat ourselves. If you are struggling with something and want to change, that’s fine. But how could you treat yourself with compassion, love, and encouragement? How could you support yourself, even as you want things to be different?

You may find that if you treat yourself like a close friend, you will feel happier and more at peace. You might also find you have more energy to change the things you want to change.

Discussion

Keep track of your internal dialogue for 20 minutes. What kinds of things do you say to yourself? What would it be like to treat yourself like a friend?

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