Before we start thinking about how wonderful our spouses are or are not, let me clarify the opening question. The relationship I am discussing here is the most important relationship you have in your life, the one with yourself. Now before you start to dismiss this as an absurd notion, or one that does not apply to you, hear me out for just a second. I was at a friend’s birthday party at a local drinking establishment this past Saturday and ran into a former coworker and his wife. We began expressing our concerns for a former coworker of mine who never seemed to be happy and how she may be helped. Think if you know someone like this in your life. She seemed to always have problems with those around her. She felt as if the world was out to get her and that is why nothing ever went right for her. On the rare occasion that it did she was still unhappy it did not go even better. When speaking with her the truth became clear after only a few minutes of conversation, this lady was unhappy with the world and all of the things and people in it because she was really unhappy with herself. Her skills with finance were lacking and she always seemed to find herself falling further and further behind. Instead of addressing the problem and encouraging herself to chip away at it she would do the opposite. She would ask herself very disempowering questions. “Why can I never get my bills paid?” “Why am I so stupid when it comes to money?” then she would just graduate to referring to herself as stupid. This made her feel like she had no control. When she did answer herself she was doomed to fail. Instead of asking why she could never pay her bills which assumes that she never will. she should have asked “What can I do to at least start getting my situation turned around” That takes the focus from the problem to the solution. It also gives us a sense of hope. Remember doing something stupid and being stupid are two entirely different things. We have all done stupid things. I remember after a few shots of rum I once woke up on a pool table with one shoe. Not my proudest moment, but I had acted stupid I was not stupid. Now if that happened every Friday we may have to reconsider that. The conclusion my former coworkers wife had come to was a brilliant one “It is like she is in an abusive relationship with herself!” It is one of those simple statements that have profound meaning. How many times have you found yourself saying “Why was I so stupid?” I know I have muttered that to myself far to many times to be proud of. Still how many times do we take time to cheer ourselves on? At first mention this may sound silly, but why? Why is it that reprimanding ourselves comes so natural while encouraging ourselves sounds so foreign? I have made an effort when struck with fear, worry or some other disempowering emotion telling myself “You’ve got this Neil” To statements of a more powerful nature. Our relationship with ourselves is affects us greater than any other relationship we have. Let us make sure it is empowering one. No matter who we are, we could all stand to be a little more encouraging to the person in the mirror. Think of ways you can encourage yourself. List them here to help get others started. Oh, and if you have too much rum, trust me a pool table is not as comfortable as it looks.