Have you ever tried to talk yourself out of thinking about something, only to find that’s ALL you can think of?

Let’s do a little experiment. (Don’t worry; it’ll only take 15 seconds! And yes, I’m serious.)

I want you to set a timer for 15 seconds, then close your eyes and try not to think about a purple gorilla.

Simple enough, right?

Got it? 

Ok, Go!




Now open your eyes.

How’d you do?

I’m willing to bet that not only did you not manage to wipe the idea of a purple gorilla out of your mind’s eye, but that, in fact, all you could see was that purple gorilla.

And don’t worry; this wasn’t actually a test you could pass. (Sorry, not sorry!)

Human brains just happen to work like this.

We fixate on what we tell ourselves. 

We’re not great at purposeful omission or negation. 

(Fun fact: AI isn’t very good at this either.  If you tell it NOT to do something, it’ll often do more of that thing.  While you sit there yelling, “Stop that!  Bad AI!” Or is that just me??

Just kidding, I always say “please” and “thank you” to the AI because I want to be on it’s good side when it takes over. But I digress.)

Now, why the heck am I talking about this? 

Because I bet you’re engaging in some behavior on the regular that amounts to gaslighting yourself.

You’ve got that mean little voice inside telling yourself:

  • “Why did you do that?”
  • “Are you an idiot?”
  • “Why can’t you be more like so and so?”

And when you ask yourself these negative questions, your mind fixates on the negative. 

You just can’t stop thinking about it. 

Because you’re effectively telling yourself to keep focusing on it.

So, can I convince you to try a different little experiment with that voice in your head? 

Here goes: Every time it asks you a negative question, I want you to try to reframe it in a positive way, so that you can slowly retrain your brain to stop being so darn mean to yourself.

Think this is a little hokey? 

Think it won’t work?

Let me ask you this:

Do you get better results from your kids when you provide positive reinforcement and encouragement?  Or when you reprimand them?

Heck, do you get better results from your DOG when you provide positive reinforcement, or when you punish?

Too hard to think of the reframes?  Don’t you worry, I’m going to give you a few to get you started:

  • Instead of saying“ Why did I f*** that up…again?”
    • Try “What could I do differently next time?”
  • Instead of saying “I’ll never get the hang of this?”
    • Try “I just need a little more practice and I’ll figure it out.”
  • Instead of saying “What the f*** is wrong with me?”
    • Try “What did I do right in this situation (even if it turned out badly)?”
  • Instead of saying “You idiot!”
    • Say “There’ll be another opportunity for me to get this right”

Look, is this easier said than done? 


But is it worth it to try? 

Also yes.

I don’t know about you, but I choose not to spend time with people who don’t treat me nicely. 

Because when I do, I only ever feel worse, not better.

But you can’t exactly get away from yourself

So why not try to be a bit nicer to yourself.

Not only will you feel better, you’ll improve faster.

Pinky promise.