The following interview appears in the Self Talk, Soul Talk book.
An Interview with Patsy Clairmont
I was sitting in the green room before speaking at the Anaheim Women of Faith Conference. After a little small talk, I told Patsy Clairmont I was writing a book about what to say when you talk to yourself. After she uttered an interested 'hmmm,' I popped the question. “Do you talk to yourself? And if you do, what do you say?”
In typical Patsy fashion, what followed was an articulate, well thought-out, fully lived-out answer.
She only got a few phrases into it when I stopped her and asked, “May I record this?”
So what follows is our conversation. Just pretend you are listening in as I get some wise counsel from a wise guide. By the way, Patsy told me she does talk to herself, and when she does, she sounds like a cheerleader.
Jennifer: So when you talk to yourself, it’s as a cheerleader?
because it’s my tendency to be extremely critical, especially of myself. In
fact, I’m far harder on myself than I am on others.
Jennifer: When did you figure that out - that you were being overly critical and telling yourself untruths? And how and when did you make a disciplined choice to stop?
Patsy: Well, I had so many people saying things to me that were in conflict with what I was saying to myself. One of us had to be wrong! So when I had more and more people saying the same positives to me, and my words were all negative, I had to stop and say, ‘Everyone can’t be wrong.’ Do I trust their judgment? And do I think they are wise? Am I willing to receive what they are saying is truth? If I am, then I have to change the messages in me.
Jennifer: So do those old messages still pop up?
Patsy: Every now and then.
Jennifer: And do you know what prompts them?
Patsy: Well, it could
be a sense of failure. Maybe if I did
something that didn’t work out as well as I had hoped. Suddenly I feel myself cascading down and
that old critical spirit coming in, passing judgment on myself. And I have to ask myself, ‘What would I say
to another person - to my friend - who had made the same mistake? I would say, “You can’t do that to yourself.
You cannot believe that because the enemy is a liar and a thief and he comes in
to set a lie in place and steal your joy.”
So I have to deliberately go against such negative thoughts. One thing I’ve done for many years is a kind of three-step approach: Refuse things that are inaccurate, unkind or unedifying; replace them with what is good, pure and just; and then repeat that process for as long as it takes to bring my thoughts under control.
Jennifer: That’s fabulous. And that’s worked for you?
Patsy: It’s been exceedingly beneficial.
Jennifer: And Patsy, it shows - it shows in the way you live.