Today’s What-If Wednesday is brought to you by negative self talk.

My day started off rough. I overslept (a lot!), I didn’t have time to work on assignments, I forgot half of what I needed for the day, and when I got out to my car I realized that I had left it unlocked all night on the driveway in a city known for auto theft. I was angry with myself. And the hate started rolling out. I was literally driving down the highway with my music down low so I could cuss myself out and berate myself for being lazy/stupid/irresponsible/human. The way I was talking to myself I would never – could never – talk to someone like that. I wouldn’t let anybody else talk to me like that. I wouldn’t let anyone talk to my friends like that. But for me, in that moment, it seemed perfectly acceptable. Normal even.

But what if it wasn’t? What if I were softer with myself? Gentler? What if when I made mistakes, I made an effort to understand them and learn from them rather than being angry at myself? Everyone makes mistakes. And nine times out of ten, I wouldn’t be nearly so angry at someone else making the exact same mistake. Why are my mistakes so much more horrendous than everyone else’s? Why do I hold myself to such a unique and impossible standard? What if I tried harder to understand myself? What if I allowed myself time to rest and time to relax and time to take care of myself? What if I weren’t so afraid of facing my own wrath and so certain of my inadequacies? How much better could I be if I nurtured myself and encouraged myself the same way that I do for other people?

I had originally intended What-If Wednesdays to be whimsical or silly. They are definitely not that. But I want to challenge all of us to be nicer to ourselves this week. That’s not to say you can one day decide to not think bad thoughts anymore, but let’s try and confront those thoughts and reframe then when they come. Let’s try and allow ourselves the space to be growing, breathing, learning human beings. Whatever else the world has taught us, we deserve that much. Each and every one of us.