I talk about a lot of things in these videos every week.
Today, I want to talk about . . . talk.
Because the way you talk to yourself, about yourself, sometimes it may not be very nice. And you want to guard against that. So that’s my topic today.
Hi, I’m Tony Dearing, of GoCogno.com, the website for people with mild cognitive impairment.
There are a lot of really hard things about living with MCI, and one of them is the way other people treat you. If you hope to get any sympathy or understanding from others, you’ll find there’s not much to be had.
Back in 2018, I did a video about that. I talked about all the mean, thoughtless, dismissive things that other people say about your MCI.
Even when that comes from strangers, it hurts. Sometimes, it comes from friends, or even members of your own family. And that hurts even more.
But Shakespeare talks about “the unkindest cut of all,” and sad as this is to say, for people with mild cognitive impairment, sometimes the unkindest cut is self-inflicted.
At Baycrest in Toronto, they have been running a phenomenal program for people with MCI, and they’ve been doing it for a long time now. Early on, they did a series of focus groups to really understand what people with MCI are struggling with most.
And one of the clearest findings was that people with MCI can lose confidence in themselves. Dr. Kelly Murphy, one of the founders of the program and co-author of the book “Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment,” told me that among people with mild cognitive impairment, “there is a lot of negative self-judgement.”
And in your worst moments, one of the ways that can manifest itself in the things you say to yourself.
Pop quiz. Yes or No. Have you ever used the word “stupid” to describe yourself or something you did because of your MCI?
In my ideal world, the use of the word “stupid” would be banned from the lexicon of people with MCI. You weren’t stupid before you had MCI and you are not stupid now. You have a medical condition that is interfering with the ability of your brain to function properly.
All I am encouraging you to do here is be aware of how important self-talk is to your emotional well-being, and to pay attention to the inner narrative that you’re telling yourself.
If you find that narrative turning harsh, ask yourself, would I say something this mean to someone else? If the answer is no, then it’s not OK to say it to yourself.
When you get right down to it, you have very little control over what anyone else says to you. But you have compete control over how you talk to yourself. And the No. 1 rule should be, no self-trolling.
If you’ve ever spent two minutes on the Internet, you know there are trolls out there, people who say incredibly cruel things. No one wants to hear from those people, and no one wants to be one of those people. So don’t be. Don’t be your own troll.
Keep your ear tuned to that inner voice. And if you hear it saying mean things, tell that inner voice to shut up.
Instead, be generous to yourself. Say kind things. Celebrate small successes. Every day, give yourself one verbal bouquet.
That’s my encouragement to you today. I hope to see you again next week. Until then, as always, be kind to your mind — and to yourself.