This came to me awhile back when I was stuck in one of my periodic bouts of negative self-talk. “You are the only YOU the world’s got.” And: “You are the only YOU you’ve got.”
The first part of that wasn’t very persuasive at first. After all, the negative self-talk voice had been telling me I was a waste of oxygen who was just taking up space in the world. So in that case, logically, what would it matter if I’m the only “me” the world’s got?
But somehow the second part of that really grabbed me. It was like, “OK, you might think your efforts are pathetic and not enough, and you might lament the fact that you’ve got so many character flaws, mental deficiencies, etc., that make you not an ideal whatever (activist, citizen, artist, writer, friend, etc.) — but the fact is that in this moment, all you have to work with is what you’ve got in this moment!”
In some weird way that sunk in. Because, like, I’m here on the planet and I’m not planning on going anywhere else til it’s my time, so what option do I have other than to be me?
This made me feel better, and the volume of negative self-talk dropped to a dull background murmur and then went away, as I continued whatever task I was working on.
Since it made me feel better, I’m posting it here in case it helps someone else.
Ideally, no one would ever talk badly to themselves. (Do as I say, not as I do!) But given that I sometimes do, it’s good to know I can get something useful out of it! In permaculture design we call this “obtaining a yield” or “turning problems into assets.”
Another yield I’ve obtained from the periodic assaults of the negative self-talk voice is a bit of healthy stubbornness. I now talk back to that thing a lot, or I just endure its rantings which eventually die out or get repetitive, and meanwhile I keep plugging away with whatever I’m doing. And by gosh it gets done, be it a blog post or a jury-rigged curtain rod or a tedious errand or what have you.
Lately I notice the mean voice is losing its power. It’s all bark and no bite. And meanwhile I’m still here — the only me I’ve got. And here to offer love and support to YOU!
P.S. If this post struck a chord in you, you might also find my recent post “Building Frustration-Tolerance” helpful.