Finding Your Self-Truth

The Stories We Tell
August 9, 2023
Whose Voice?
August 23, 2023
The Stories We Tell
August 9, 2023
Whose Voice?
August 23, 2023

Finding Your Self-Truth


What do you say about yourself to yourself? How does this impact your ability to be resilient? In this blog series we are looking at how you assess yourself and ways you can do so through a kinder, more accurate lens. The goal is to have a realistic view allowing for growth and appreciation. The stories you tell about yourself influence your life choices in big and small ways. Having accurate self-awareness is a powerful tool in your self-care and resilience. 

The first step is to notice your inner monologue. Today, I present myself as a case study. 

Voices of Stress

This blog post was written very late after a struggle to get it done. Eventually, I started typing what was churning through my brain.   

This blog is supposed to go live in 24 hours and it is going nowhere. Ironically, the barrier is my own internal self-talk. Holy Distraction! My attention is everywhere but on writing this blog post. 

So, what is my brain saying about me? I noticed my self-talk in its cranky, spiky voice:

Maybe you have run out of blog ideas. How long did you think you could keep doing this? Why are you working so hard at this? Your house is a mess – maybe you should focus on the piles of stuff instead of your computer. If you had written it last week like you should have you wouldn’t be in this mess. Why aren’t you focusing on what is in front of you? Your editor is going to be so pissed that you don’t have this done on time. You always let people down. You never get stuff done like you should. 

Wow – so there it was. That negative, judging voice. The escalating tone of my internal voice was not helping me get any writing done. Notice the absolutes “run out, never, always.” These words are usually not true. Then there was the judging, “messy, should, letting people down, not keeping up”. Assumptions about other people, “My editor will be angry, and People feel let down by me.”  All that negativity was making it hard to be resilient and productive during a time of transition in my own life.  

Voices of Truth

To shift out of the negativity, I chose to notice the voice and to talk back. Having typed it all out I went back and responded to each thought or belief one by one.

Your house is a mess.

The house is clean but cluttered right now. Our office makeover was interrupted by my mother’s unplanned move. As a result I have documents, photos, books and knickknacks to sort. This is not a moral failing but a complex project to be tackled one day at a time.

Self-Truth: I find clutter distracting and I am not great at maintaining organizational systems. I can play upbeat music and set aside time to put stuff away to make it happen. 

Maybe you have run out of blog ideas.

Maybe that will happen one day; I can’t imagine I will still be blogging at 100 years old.This will not be a moral failing or render me useless as a human. At the moment I am still writing, so I guess we are good today. 

Self-Truth:  I enjoy writing. My readers get to choose to keep reading my work or not. For now, I will keep trying to get better at it.

... you should have ...

Yes, my past self could have done things differently. In this case, I spent last week helping Mom get settled in her new apartment. Let’s not beat up on Laura in the past. My guess is she did the best she could given that week’s circumstances. Can we also notice the things Past Laura did right? The new office set up is working really well.

Self-Truth: Reviewing the past is helpful when I can learn from what I did or did not do. But tell the whole story, positive and negative.  

Why aren’t you focusing?

Actually, I need to consider what is so compelling right now that I can’t get my work done. My grief and concern for the people I met in Maui in 2017 along with the whole Lahaina community is weighing on my mind.

Self-Truth: I am distracted now because I am a caring person who tends to be reflective. Taking care of my own reactions to life’s events is my right and responsibility. Once this blog is off to my editor I will decide how I can be supportive. 

Your editor is going to be so pissed ... You always let people down.

That’s a pretty heavy box of assumptions to lug around. Current evidence does not support this belief. My editor can, and has, called or texted if she is feeling anxious about this blog, or if my delay is disrupting her work plans. There is no cause for the kind of fury my brain is imagining.

Self-Truth:  Lots of people say kind and appreciative things about me to me. Also, I am imperfect and am open to input from others.  

How do you hear your own self-assessment? It is common to have a harsh, internal voice at least some of the time. It is possible to change this to a kind, compassionate voice. Speaking about yourself in a kind voice allows you to more closely consider what is going on with you. Your kinder voice will allow you to consider your own self-truth and find ways to move forward with courage and resilience.  

Next week we will look at some of the sources for your internal assessments. Meanwhile, you are welcome to email Laura at with any thoughts or questions you have regarding this blog post series.  


Laura A. Gaines

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