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How I Talk To Myself

Jun 13, 2022

How are you doing? That is one of the most common questions we ask our friends. It is part of a routine greeting. I ask that same question every time I see my patients. Patients will then start to tell me what is going on with their health. They usually update me on what has happened since the last visit.

One patient undergoing chemotherapy for stage 4 cancer told me that he was tired. He did not feel like eating so he lost a few pounds. He also noticed his taste buds changed and there was a metallic taste in his mouth. He had mild nausea but no vomiting. He had some diarrhea. He had some numbness and tingling but not hindering his daily activities, such as opening a jar or buttoning his shirt.

One by one, I addressed his list of problems and concerns. I told him that it was normal to feel tired with chemotherapy, and some days would be better than other days. I advised him to eat whatever he enjoyed, and eat small, frequent meals. Many chemotherapeutic agents cause changes in the sense of taste and decrease in appetite. I also recommended protein shakes. Overall, he tolerated that cycle of chemotherapy decently. I encouraged him that one cycle was down, and the subsequent cycles of chemotherapy would probably be similar experience to the current cycle. I reassured him that he had a whole team behind him, supporting him, and that he was to call me whenever he had any concerns.

It is natural to have love, empathy and compassion for others, especially to people I care about. I want to support my patients medically and emotionally. I do my best to encourage my friends and family especially during hardships. Is that how I treat myself?

I don’t think I have ever thought about it until my coach asked me.

When there was a test and I didn’t get 100%, I would ask myself where the other 2 points went and why I missed them. Either I was too careless or too dumb. Before I was able to finish charting on time, I would ask myself why I wasn’t able to do it faster. When I was forgot to do something, I would ask myself why my memory cells were failing.

My coach asked me if I would talk to my 10-year-old self or a little girl the same way I talked to myself.

That was mind blowing. No, I wouldn’t talk to the little ones the same way. Not to either of them. At that point, I realized that I was very mean to myself. No wonder I felt even worse than the undesired results I got.

How would I talk to the 10-year-old me in the same scenarios?

Probably something like, you did great. You did the best that you could. Your results don’t define who you are as a person. You are worthy no matter what. You deserve love no matter what. Let’s take this experience, learn from it, and you will do better next time.

That feels so much better, more loving and uplifting. That is more peaceful and supportive.

I don’t see any advantage of being mean to myself. Yet I was doing it constantly and subconsciously. I am so thankful that it was brought to my attention of my attitude toward me. Awareness makes it real, makes it something to address. I get to choose what to do about it. I have decided to be reminded of little me whenever I say mean things to myself. It is okay to have compassion for me. That is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it is a strength to be able to lift myself up to face the world’s challenges.

How do you talk to yourself? Do you have your own back? Are you nice to you?

Are you ready to stop feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Are you ready to have more time to do what you want?


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