How do I talk to myself? I recently heard it put that the first marriage is the one I have with myself. I really liked that metaphor because it accurately pinpoints the starting point for communication is the way I talk to myself. If I am neglectful, harsh or intolerant of myself then, no matter how selfless I appear to be with others, it will not be sustainable because the source is deficient.

One thing I often as clients to do is write their ‘to do’ list with all the tasks and accomplishments they want to achieve in the timescales they want to achieve them.

I then ask them whether they would give the same list and timescales to another person with expectations that it would be completed accurately and on time. The answer is usually ‘no’. When I enquire about this, the answer is that they wouldn’t expect to put someone else under so much pressure.

My next question doesn’t need a rocket scientist to work out: ‘On what basis do you treat yourself differently to how you treat others?’

In my book, The Heart of Mindful Relationships, I carefully look at the role of language in relationships. Language is the software in our brains that we use to tell ourselves what to do. If the language is harsh, intolerant and unkind we are unlikely to love ourselves very much and so the first marriage is unlikely to be a happy one.

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