John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Conversations with Ourselves

jyb_musingsOne of the most common ways we talk to ourselves —or are supposed to —is through “Positive Self Talk” I discovered this idea about 25 years ago. We say positive things to ourself in the bathroom mirror each morning before starting our day. It puts us in a better frame of mind and helps us to have a better day.

But lately I have to admit that positive self-talk in my bathroom mirror in the mornings is getting harder. And I think my real self is finally on to my positive self-talking self. In fact, my positive self-talk affirmations are turning into dialogues with my real self. And at times has been getting a little tense. What happened this morning should not have come as a surprise to me.

Positive Self-Talk Self (PSTS): “Good morning there, fella. Alright. OK. Not bad. Really not bad at all.”

Real Self (RS): “That’s all you got for me this morning? ‘OK’ and ‘Not bad?’ Come on. ”

PSTS: “Well, it’s good. It’s good. It is. Certainly it could be worse. I mean…What do you want me to say?”

RS: “I don’t know. It would be nice to hear something good but I don’t want you to just lie to me. I don’t want you to even exaggerate. In fact, I want you to start shooting straight with me from now on. OK? No more with just this happy talk. Man to man. OK? If I am not doing alright, just say it. I’m 51 years old and can deal with it. ”

PSTS: (Gets quiet before answering) “Ok. OK. Yeah, John. I hear you. I admit, I have been laying it on a little thick lately. What do you want me to do? If I just tell you the truth, you will get mad and leave abruptly. And sometimes not talk to me for several days. And that’s not going to work for me anymore?”

RS: “What? ‘That’s not going to work for you anymore?’ You aren’t even a real full person. You are just some part of myself that is supposed to deliver good news to me, give me pep talks, and say encouraging things to me in the mornings. You know…. Help me see things from their most positive perspective and make me think that is the way they really are.”

PSTS: “Yeah, I know, John. I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that. For a while there —-through your 30s and 40s —I could do that with a straight face. But it’s getting harder with each passing year. I don’t know how much longer I can do this without losing touch with reality —and eventually losing my mind.”

RS: “Wait. Wait! PSTS, are you telling me that the last few yeas of positive things you’ve been saying to me were total BS?”

PSTS: “No, John. I didn’t say that. Not ‘total BS.’ Just…I am just not feeling it any more with you. I think I probably need to move on to a different person who I can say positive things about and really mean it. Or just not say anything at all.”

RS: “You know what? Get out of my bathroom. I mean it. Right now. This is the last time we are ever talking in the bathroom mirror –ever. Or any kind of mirror for that matter. Understand?!. Just GET OUT!” (mumble to myself “Phony poser wandering around my bathroom every morning. That’s not right. That’s just weird. I cannot believe that i.have let my PSTS in my bathroom every morning while dressing for the past 25 years. That’s crazy!”

That’s it. PSTS left. And now I feel terrible. I was way too hard on him. And, deep down, I know he is right and just didn’t know how to communicate it to me.

I hope he comes back tomorrow morning. I really feel awful now and could use one of his corny pep talks. Heck, I miss the little guy.


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