I read the words over and over again.

“I find your Mindful Midweeks irritating. How many stories can you tell about yourself before you run out? I can’t wait.”

After four years and over 200 Mindful Midweeks, I get one excoriating response that hurts, puts me in a funk and sends my self-talk into hyper-drive. My inner voice is lashing out. Why can’t I just let go of this negative response? Why does my brain immediately wrap around these hurtful words?

Just listen to what my self-talk is conjuring up as a response to this guy from New Jersey:

“If you haven’t learned to hit the ‘unsubscribe’ button, give me a call and I can walk you through it.”

My self-talk keeps ramping up:

“Maybe you had a bad day, or a bunch of them in a row. But don’t make me the scapegoat.”

Holy smokes. I wish I had a quicker control system over my self-talk. It jumps to old beliefs that took hold many years ago when I was scared, insecure and felt less worthy than everyone around me. I used to hide out from these fears, then drink to hide out more.

What’s great about today is how fleeting these negative inner conversations turn out to be. I have a good sense of who I am, and I’m okay with it. Now, I have a better ability to absorb negative feedback, whether it is of the constructive or mean-spirited kind. When I’m at my best, I can objectively evaluate a negative comment and balance it with healthy, self-affirming thoughts that put me back on an even keel.

So I can write back to this reader from New Jersey and thank him for taking the time to send me his point of view. And I can tell him that, as far as running out of stories goes, he will have to wait a little longer.