If your best friend suffered a major setback, what would you do?
a) Be there with the Kleenex and a shoulder cry on?
b) Comfort her and let her know everything would be okay?
c) Sit down with him and help him map out next steps?
d) Call her stupid, ask her why she always messed up and tell her that things would never change?
Normally, we do a-c for a friend in trouble, and we reserve d for ourselves. We understand the need to be understanding and compassionate to others; but we reserve the meanness, criticism and outright cruelty for the person who matters most.
Sometimes, a little dose of 'tough love' might serve as motivation - a swift kick to get you up and moving. However, too much tough love becomes a paralyzing force. It immobilizes us and stops us from moving forward. It turns a failure from a temporary setback into a permanent fixture. Sometimes, we can shame ourselves so badly that we actually end up taking two steps backwards.
When it comes to your self-talk or inner monologue, talk to yourself as you would talk to a best friend. Be gentle. Be kind. Like you would with a true friend, you want to also be truthful, but there is a way to deliver that truth with grace and caring.
Be to yourself the kind of friend you would love to have, the kind of friend you already are to your friends!