How you are talking

photo by Roger Rössing, courtesy of Deutsche Fotothek via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Roger Rössing, courtesy of Deutsche Fotothek via Wikimedia Commons

“Be careful how you are talking to yourself, because you are listening.”
Lisa M. Hayes

One year ago, I wrote about hearing stupid remarks.  Today, I’m writing about saying them myself.  I have a double standard when it comes to what I say; I will talk to myself in ways I would never talk to another person.  I might chide myself for a careless error, or remark about how old I am getting, or how much weight I’ve gained, or what a dummy I was to forget something.

I don’t know why I think it’s okay to talk to myself that way, but I have seen many others do the same thing to themselves, so I know I’m not alone in this habit.  Perhaps it’s a way of trying to seem humble, though that would not explain why I mostly do it when nobody is around.  But I’m still hearing everything I say.  And we don’t need continual put-downs, even when they come from ourselves.

Another way I sometimes talk to myself is when I think something inside my head but don’t say it aloud.  Often, these are negative remarks about other people, or upsetting circumstances.  This can be just as damaging, maybe more.

If I send myself silent but critical remarks about other people, or gloomy prognostications about disasters that may be waiting in the wings, I’m ruining my own day.  It’s easy to be critical and reactive, but I’m never happy when I fill my head with such thoughts.  On the other hand, when I replace the fearful and cynical self-talk with affirmations of faith and hope, I feel pretty happy just to be alive.  When I decide that I like everybody until they give me a good reason not to like them, I’m find I’m surrounded by mostly nice people.

Today, I invite you to join me in paying close attention to how we talk to ourselves.  After all, we are listening — and we will respond accordingly.

One year ago today:

So many stupid remarks

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. I remember hearing a pastor say that “love your neighbor as yourself” isn’t saying much, if you aren’t loving toward yourself. That thought stuck with me.

    • Susan, I have found that to be true. The harder I am on myself, the harder I am on others. Having said that, though, the gospel of “take care of you” seems to be preached everywhere I turn lately. In today’s world, it seems to me that selfishness is way, way more of a problem than people being overly kind.

      • I agree that “selfishness is way, way more of a problem than people being overly kind” especially since the pandemic started.
        I do sometimes wonder if all those people are really that insecure, that they need to grasp, grasp, grasp for themselves because they feel so out of control?
        Not that it’s an excuse, and frankly, I think it’s a lousy strategy that no one really “wins.”

        • There are many kinds of selfishness, with almost as many root causes. I’m not so sanctimonious that I see selfishness as mainly a problem for other people. All of us have many, many reasons to feel afraid, insulted, ignored or disrespected in some form almost every day. And I think the news media and activists from all over the political map have modeled hypersensitive behavior to us, so we are far too quick to take offense. I mean, think about it: we are now told to be on the lookout for “microaggressions” and other such missteps– often made by people with good intentions– that at one time our parents, teachers and ministers would have told us to shrug off. At the same time, we fear being candid with people or speaking frankly about our own thoughts, due to the possibility of being thus labeled or misrepresented. “Us vs. them” is the continual order of the day. It’s not surprising that selfishness manifests itself in such an atmosphere. I’m thankful I did not live my early years in such a world. As I often tell my sister, it’s a great time to be old!

          • Yes, we almost all have to be old some time. I think my parents have a pretty good deal going, in the community where they live in Florida.
            On the flip side, at least one of my sons has said that he wouldn’t want to have children in today’s world.
            It’s looking increasingly unlikely that I’ll ever have grandchildren.

            • Susan, as I think you know, I never see my grandsons, and it seems sad when I reflect how much joy we could have brought each other. Still, I have some adorable nieces and nephews and I have fun treating them when I can. We can find surrogates most everywhere we look, when it comes to spreading love! And I tend to agree with what your son said. I know old people (and I count myself as one) always say this, but the world has become a very cruel place in most respects, run by robots and controlled by unaccountable mega-bureaucracies among which the governments of various nations, to varying degrees, are highly paid (bought) enablers. I give thanks all the time that I lived when I did. Our era was not perfect by any means– and there are many (including Matt) who would NOT have had many opportunities during those times. But in many ways, it was a beautiful world. I guess that is always true. But I still grieve for what humans are losing in today’s world.

              • I wonder if the vast number of people alive today contributes to people feeling less accountable for their actions (more anonymity), enabling worse behavior? I like to think there still may be the same ratio of good people, but the bad guys tend to get more press?

                • I think the bad press has a lot to do with how we see the world. But regardless of the perilous trajectory of so-called “progress,” I tend to agree with Anne Frank, who experienced the results of human cruelty to a degree most of us can hardly imagine, yet wrote “I still believe people are really good at heart.” Maybe not all people, and maybe few of us as good at heart as we should be. Notwithstanding, most of us at least try to do our best to grow into better people. And for those who seek it, divine help is always available. I really believe that.

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

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