Saturday morning I had a therapy appointment, at noon.
Traffic was awful in between Woodbridge and Bethesda. I got off the highway, and found a back way to go.
There was no question I was going to be late. I called my therapist, and let him know.
And then I relaxed. After all, what else was I going to do? I'd get there when I'd get there.
I showed up, about 15 minutes late, and we did our thing. As it turns out, this very attitude I had in the car is pretty much what the therapist told me I needed to do in my life in general.
I am really hard on myself. I expect too much, too soon, with too little. I'm constantly pushing myself to do, be, have, and achieve more. To my great chagrin, he pointed out to me that my own self-narrative is filled with "should."
He taught me something though, a thing I have actually taught my own coaching clients. It's a technique for meditation called the negative self-talk interrupt. (Here's a good article about some of those ways.) The basic premise is simple - you talk to yourself in the 3rd person, as if you were your own best friend (which in fact, you are!), and tell yourself all about the good person you actually are. Talk about the good things you already do, and the kind of person you like to be.
There's good solid science behind this thing, too. As my therapist told me the limbic system in our brain, our "emotional self" is kind of stupid. It believes what it's told. It also stands in front of our thinking/analytical mind. If you don't give it anything good to chew on, it will find something on its own to process. Often, that's fed by anxiety. But you have a choice to do otherwise, and be your own support, and help your limbic mind to like itself. Which tends to make you feel and operate better.
He gave me a "prescription" to do the self-talk interrupt meditation daily. I have high hopes for it.