Confession: I haven’t actually read Anne Lammott’s Bird by Bird. Yet. It’s on my to-read list. But I have read a few of her other books, and I have read a number of books that quote her– this passage, specifically.
If you are not careful, station KFKD will play in your head twenty-four hours a day, nonstop, in stereo. Out of the right speaker in your inner ear will come the endless stream of self-aggrandizement, the recitation of one’s specialness, of how much more open and gifted and brilliant and knowing and misunderstood and humble one is. Out of the left speaker will be the rap songs of self-loathing, the lists of all the things one doesn’t do well, all the mistakes one has made today and over an entire lifetime, the doubt, the assertion that everything one touches turns to shit, that one doesn’t do relationships well, that one is in every way a fraud, incapable of selfless love, that one has no talent or insight, and on and on and on.
I thought about this on my run last week. And I thought about Geneen Roth, who I can’t quote accurately, because her book is at my apartment, but she says something along the lines of “we would never criticize someone else the way we criticize ourselves.” That’s my paraphrase, anyway.
I was not thrilled with that run. And I told myself so. But I would never be so mean to someone else who had done the same run. I would have encouraged them! That was a great! What a workout! How might I be different if I treated myself that way?
What “radio station” do you listen to while you run? How do you deal with your inner critic?