frowning-faceHave you ever bawled yourself out for dropping or spilling or forgetting something? Of course you have, and I do it way too much myself. So what, right?

Wrong! Destructive self-talk is like telling God He made junk when He made you. When we berate ourselves, we start believing we didn’t just make a mistake, but that we are a mistake. We must not let our inner critic to have free reign in our minds. A good test to evaluate whether something is too harsh is, Would you have used that same tone and word-choice if you were speaking to someone else, like a small child? If the answer is No, then it’s inappropriate to speak it internally.

The good news is that you can transform your self-talk from negative to positive by staying mindful of it. When you mess up, you make a split-second decision to substitute a phrase that is gentle on yourself instead of critical. Something like, “Oops! I won’t do that again.” or pull a Captain Obvious and say, “Guess I was carrying too much.” It’s especially important to go gentle on yourself when you are under incredible stress, or the stress compounds and makes the situation harder to bear.

This doesn’t mean giving yourself a pass for being rude to others or making huge mistakes that hurt your company. It just means that we don’t need to sabotage ourselves with our negative self-talk, which will ooze out onto others as disrespect. Put the error in perspective, breathe, and give yourself a break. Then clean up the spill.