Be kinder and gentler—to yourself

Let Love have the last word.

Over the years, I've been involved in ongoing conversations—with myself. I recollect various experiences, remind myself to buy a new bottle of dishwashing liquid, make a mental note of someone's favorite candy or flowers, promise myself a few quiet moments, talk myself into attacking a chore I don't especially enjoy. Usually nobody else hears these conversations, but people certainly see the results of it. Virtually everything I do or say throughout the day begins with a conversation with myself.

One holiday while I was in the kitchen preparing a meal with a friend, however, my conversation with myself actually became audible. I berated myself aloud for failing to wash the glasses before setting the table; I scolded myself for spilling some flour; I criticized my choice of bread for the stuffing. None of this seemed at all remarkable to me, but it did to my friend. "You talk so harshly to yourself," she remarked. "You'd never talk to someone else that way. Why are you beating yourself up like that?"

Long day?
August 30, 1999

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