The Most Unkindest Cut

This phrase from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar came to my mind today. I was driving home from seeing a client. The meeting had not gone as well as I had hoped, and in fact I had had a lapse of memory as to what exactly the meeting was about. The phrase refers to Caesar’s murder, in which his friends stab him to death. Shakespeare refers to Caesar’s best friend Brutus, who made “the most unkindest cut of all” (not grammatically acceptable, I know, but if it was good enough for Shakespeare, it’s good enough for me) because he was the best friend.

As I was driving, I began to mutter phrases such as You moron! You idiot, using some unprintable expletives to punctuate my insults. Yes, I was talking to and about myself. I should have been better prepared. I should have had a better memory. Throw a bunch more shoulda woulda coulda phrases in there, and that is what I was doing.

That is when I caught myself and thought of the Shakespeare phrase. If I want to be my best friend, I’m going to have to do a better job of showing it. There’s not a person in the world that I would talk to that way, other than myself.

This is known as “self-talk”. We all have an inner voice that talks to us. What does it say to us? Nice job; hey you did the best you could; you’ve been under a strain lately; you’ll do better next time. Or does it just chew us out and insult us?

Listen to your self-talk sometime. It will inform you of your true opinion of yourself. But don’t stop with listening. Change what you say to yourself. It can change your life.

Let’s leave the most unkindest cut of all to Shakespeare.

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