I hopped into a friendʹs car after last weekend, and when we were nearly to our destination, I realized I had left my phone at home.
I apologized and then looked out the window, embarrassed. Inside, I was fuming, pissed at myself for causing an inconvenience. I felt the urge to apologize over and over, to say aloud, ʺThat was stupid. I canʹt believe I did that. Iʹm always leaving things. So sorry.ʺ
Had I, my friend would likely have said, ʺDonʹt worry about it. Itʹs no big deal.ʺ And I, of course, would repeat, ʺReally, I canʹt believe I did that. Iʹm sorry.ʺ
But instead of engaging in the runaround, I started to ask myself the point of saying these things over and over again. I had apologized once, the decision to turn around was made, and that was it. I already felt bad—why would I want to perpetuate that feeling by refusing to let it go?
The above scenario is one of many situations in which thereʹs potential to criticize ourselves about things weʹve done, said, or felt. But why do this at all?
Over the last handful of years, Iʹve made feeling good about myself a priority, and I realized that the words and phrases I repeat over and over can have a huge impact on my confidence and happiness. What is a mantra, after all? So, I went on a verbal cleanse, expunging confidence-sapping expressions from my vocabulary. And my sense of capability and overall well-being have never been stronger.