Posted in coaching, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, personal impact, Relationships, Stress management

Speaking to yourself as you would to a friend…

I recently reviewed the book “The Kindness Method” by Shahroo Izadi who explains how harsh we are on ourselves. She says you would not be that fierce with a friend so why are we with ourselves. This morning I came across this story which completely reinforces her theory.

In his book, Feeling Great, Dr. David Burns recounts a conversation with a carpenter, Frank, who was painting his house. One day, upon returning home, Dr. Burns noticed a change in Frank’s usually sunny disposition and asked if he was feeling alright.

“I’m getting old,” he confessed, fighting back tears. “My body won’t be able to keep up the same pace for much longer. I’m worried that I might not have enough money to support my wife and me when I retire. “I’ve never accomplished anything meaningful or significant in my life.”

Feeling bad for Frank, Dr. Burns asked if he could try something helpful called the double standard technique.

Here’s how he describes it,

“When we’re upset or fall short of our goals, we tend to beat up on ourselves with harsh criticisms. But if we were talking to a dear friend with the same exact problem, we’d do so in a far more compassionate, supportive, and realistic way. Once you’re aware of this, you can ask yourself if you’d be willing to talk to yourself in the same compassionate way you’d talk to a dear friend.”

After asking what he would say to a friend in his position, Frank replied that he would remind that friend that he and his wife would have a decent retirement and be fine even if he decided to retire someday. Moreover, he would assure his friend that he had never once received a complaint about his work, not even once, nor had he ever cheated anyone—and that’s as meaningful as it is significant.

Much to Frank’s surprise, his sadness wasn’t caused by his age, nor his fear of financial hardship come retirement, but rather, his negative thoughts.

The story resonates for the times we are in at the moment we all need to be kind to each other and give more feedback than usual. We need to give authentic praise that has true value within it. Say what the person has done well, but substantiate with evidence and make it specific to that individual. Most importantly try giving yourself some value based praise, we all need a boost.

Please do get in touch with nuggets for a short workshop or coaching by contacting

2 thoughts on “Speaking to yourself as you would to a friend…

  1. Great message Bev. Wholly agree with the sentiment. Our problem is more with younger people who think that Caring is a great opportunity but fail to cope with the hard work and the often frustrating psychology of the very old and frail who often have inconsistent mental health issues – ie one day they are with it but the next they are ‘somewhere else’. They build a friendship with their carers which can turn sour without warning. We provide counselling and spiritual support (as well as practical support and substantial training) but the current stress of the pandemic has only made the work harder. Inconsistent Govt. advice has not helped either!
    Any thoughts welcome!


    1. Simon – great to hear from you and your team have one of the toughest jobs in the toughest of times. My sisters and I remember it well with our own father, the inconsistency of his demeanour. We supported each other with shared memories of who he really was. Your team can support each other by sharing their best bits of the people they care for (favourite stories/memories/experiences). However I would fully recommend the book the Kindness Method – as it all starts with being kind to yourself, happy to share over Zoom my book review it is only 30 mins. Take care Bev


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