Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Book Review: Speak Kindly, You're Listening

It's really appropriate that this is my first post of 2023 because one of my goals this year is to be kinder to myself. When you really take a step back and break down why you feel badly about yourself, its because you're saying really awful things about you. My goal is to quiet that voice, so this book came at just the right time. 

Speak Kindly, You're Listening

Have you ever thought of how you speak to yourself? The words you choose? The tone of voice? The pitch or volume? Just as you use different voices when speaking to a child, parent or lover, have you noticed you use a different voice when you speak to yourself?

Dr. Jessica heard her voice say on repeat: “I’m not good enough,“ “I’m not worth it, “What is wrong with me?” and used them as a way to motivate herself, until those words broke her. That inner voice belittled her and shouted insults. She didn’t understand how that same voice took care of cancer patients and loved ones but chose to call her names.

Being diagnosed with her own mental health concerns compelled Dr. Jessica to find the answer to the question, “Why do high-achieving women experience such a negative inner voice?” Speak Kindly, You’re Listening breaks down four key components: imposter syndrome, perfectionism, burnout and that dark inner voice while connecting the link between them all.

Drawing on her own experience, working with cancer patients and being a past education director, she has helped numerous women transform their voice from inner gremlin to inner cheerleader. A must-read for anyone wanting to explore the connection of their inner voice, confidence and self-intelligence.

Because if you wouldn’t say it to a friend or loved one, why is it okay to say it to yourself?
The last line is something I need to stick to my mirror so I see it as a daily reminder. I can honestly say there is not one person in my day to day life that tells me I have clearly gained weight. Nobody points out that I look six months pregnant (I'm not). Nobody tells me I'm clearly aging. Nobody tells me I need a hair cut (and color). I am the only person that tells me that. 

If there is only one non-fiction book you read this year, I highly encourage you to pick this one. It begins with Imposter Phenomenon, and I think we've all had that. Maybe we apply for a job that feels out of our league but what the hell, lets apply anyways, and suddenly you get the job. You're terrified that they are going to clearly see unqualified you really are and fire you. The book breaks this concept down but also goes through all the ways we develop this. I really loved the connection she made between perfectionism, "type A personality" traits and how this truly is Imposter Phenomenon at work and talks about why that is. As the oldest daughter in our family, I've always felt a lot of pressure to be successful and good at everything. I've felt pressure to be a great parent myself, a great wife, a great friend, etc. and there isn't anything technically telling me to step up my game. It's me. I'm the problem. 

Throughout each chapter there are some brain exercises/questions that really get you to stop and question what the heck you're doing that you never realized you were doing to yourself (or maybe even to your children). If you're a bullet journal type of person, these might be good things to include and maybe compare where you are at the end of the year. 

The last two chapters, Burnout and Darkness are the ones that really gave me pause and I realized a lot of is similar to what I've heard in therapy. There's a passage on page 140: 
"To me, burnout feels like you're constantly living in survival mode without an off-switch and without the resources to adequately feel successful. Over time, you experience nervous system dysregulation, because humans are not meant to live in survival mode for an extended period of time. As a reminder, survival mode is our fight-or-flight and freeze response."
This is particularly important for me because I do not have a working pituitary gland and while I can go into what that all means, the summary is I have little to no natural hormones, so I take the fake stuff. Just because I have a psuedo replacement doesn't mean it is anywhere as good as the real thing. One of the important things your pituitary gland does it pump out that adrenaline you get when you get scared, really mad, just the urge to really emote a feeling. You can do it, your body calms down and you start getting your normal cortisol levels. I do not get that. Well, I can muster up that burst, but that burst can burn me out for a little while, the whole day, it might throw my whole week off. So being in this constant state of burnout is likely one of the reasons I'm just so tired all the time, my body cannot keep up with this dysregulation. I feel so much stress working towards goals and finish lines that constantly move and I'm never going to pass, I'm making it impossible for me to cross that off my to-do list. 

In Darkness, the author talks about building a trust squad, basically your ride or dies. You can call them up at 2 a.m. and they will get you through the crisis. It doesn't necessarily have to be someone you talk and communicate with daily. There is a GREAT nine question checklist that you can use to go through the people you consider friends and even ride or dies, because it may shake up who are truly in those groups. 

Overall, I thought this was a great book. It's not a very long book at all, you can easily squeeze this in over a day or two, and it is full of exercises and thought provoking questions. I know the gift-giving season is technically over, but this is a great one to keep in mind to include in a gift for anyone. I think no matter who you are, this is relevant to you in some way, and we can all stand to be a little better to ourselves, because then we'll be kinder to others. 

A big thank you to Red Clover Digital for providing me a copy for review. You can find this on Amazon, and if you're someone who likes to annotate your books, this would be a great one to do that with. 
This post contains affiliate links. 

1 comment:

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Sounds great. I'm definitely hard myself, and I think most of us are. it's crazy hearing about pituitary glands because my sister has Cushings's which means she had a tumor on hers and had to have it removed, so yay fun brain surgery. Her body was making way too much cortisol. My body makes a normal amount of cortisol but it doesn't break down into cortisone enough on its own so I basically have some sort of adrenal gland issue that I have meds for. Oh, medical issues.

Lauren @