That voice


I was just at the gym for my hour of power. There’s nothing really enjoyable about it – except for the fact that I am alone and have music up full ball and I know that the sweating and puffing and pain in my legs and arms is doing something good. The hour consists of 20 mins on the treadie, x-trainer and bike. There was I was pumping it out when the voices started in my head. You know the ones – the ones that talk you out of things. The ones that stop you from going that little bit further. The ones that tell you that you can’t do something, what were you even thinking. Those stupid, stupid voices.

I heard them again yesterday when I was trying on swimmers. Telling me things like “why have you even bothered, you’re still a bit fat. LOOK AT YOU. What a waste of time. Told you so.”

They’re the same voices that when someone says something negative, says TOLD YOU SO. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? The ones that when things don’t go your way, tell you that this is what they were talking about. That constant inner monologue that talks to you, talks you down if you stop and listen.

While I was on the x-trainer though I had a light bulb moment! These voices are PART of my head. Controlled and created by me right? The blocking them out thing isn’t really going to work, believe me I have tried to do that before, and most of the time I don’t pay them much attention whatsoever, but they will ALWAYS be there. It’s just human nature I suppose and I know that essentially I am an overly self critical person – it’s just the way I am made up.

But what if I changed that voice…

I was thinking, bear with me here, about how I am a Mum. I’m a Mum of two wonderful girls. Two girls that at the moment are pretty confident and comfortable in their own skin, about who they are, where they fit in. They are happy. What a wonderful thing. As their Mother I will always guide them – tell them when things aren’t right , show them other ways. Always teaching them…showing them…leading by example. If Daisy gave up on something because it was too hard, I’d help her out with it. Try and teach her resilience, the feeling of how good it is to get something done. Guide, hold her hand, care and teach. Whenever I am being tough on her – it’s a firm but fair approach.

Why not take that Mother voice, that mothering guiding that we do every single day to our children and talk to OURSELVES like that? PING! Of course!

Instead of talking myself out of something before I even begin, I’m going to think about what I would say to one of my children and take that approach with myself. Be a little kinder. Be firm, but fair. Imagine if we spoke to our children the way we speak to ourselves? They’d never do ANYTHING. “Mum, I want to give up.” “Well I TOLD YOU, YOU COULDN’T DO IT!” Jesus, they’d be therapy before they hit Kindy.

I’m going to not stop that negative, self critical talk, because that’s just unrealistic. But you know what I AM going to do? I’m going to tap into some of those parenting skills I’ve been good at over the past almost 8 years now and apply them to MYSELF. Treat myself with the kindness and love that I give so openly every single day to my family. TO ME.

I am!

Man the things you work out on a  cross trainer on a Saturday afternoon. The sweat wasn’t the only thing rolling down my face….there were some chubby tears as well. Who knows why…my legs WERE hurting….but I felt a sadness, for the way I treat myself sometimes. I felt that motherly instinct and love. For myself. Is that so weird? It is a bit. And all a bit deep. But I felt it, and I had to share it because I bet you might have that voice too. I bet you are a Mum too. And I want you to talk to yourself with the same love and kindness that you would with someone that you love.

Now. Enough of all this business. I’m off to make some mini quiches for bingo night in the hall tonight. And when I eat too many, I am going to talk to myself much in the same way I would my kids…rather than that mean girl that has been sitting in my head for way too many years now.

Ever had an epiphany on a cross trainer? Weird huh?


  1. Just wonderful !! So true and honest and positive to share.i have my best insights just like these when I exercise. That’s exactly why I do it. Congratulations to you x

  2. yup. every single time i am on it.

  3. Beth, I have been thinking the EXACT same thing this week. Truly. I am not a mum but
    lots of mums I know seem easily to be a bit stuck in the “just a mum, not very good, probably shit” negative spin cycle. And I was thinking, they would NEVER allow their beautiful children to entertain such nonsense. How can I communicate that?

    And then you just did it PERFECTLY.

    Bloody brilliant. Mum self kindness. It’s a thing.

    Game changer.

  4. Emily Furlong says

    BOOM!!!! And that lady is how it’s done!!!

    I’m ALL about self empowerment! I’m a big girl, but I refuse to buy into what I can’t do, what I can’t fit into or what society thinks I can’t…. OVER IT!!!!

    Instead I ROCK THE SHIT out of the things I can do, I look SEXY AS HELL in the things I can! I practice what I preach and my daughter looked at me a while back and said “when I grow up I want to be big and beautiful just like you”…. Right there, that, that is what it’s all about. A little misguided as yes I know my health could be at risk, and I am working on being a healthier version of me, but I will see beauty in everything and I will teach my daughter the same.

    Welcome to the club Beth x

  5. Brilliant!! Love ourselves as we love our kids.Thanks for sharing your epiphany. It gives us all food for thought.

  6. Thankyou so much for writing this post. It’s sounds just like me. I am a mum to five gorgeous children and I am always there to encourage them in anything they want to do. But why don’t I give myself the same encouragement?? I think it is time to change all that and talk to myself the way I talk to them x

  7. I’m not a mum but I sure have a mean girl and she’d wear the pants much of the time if I didn’t keep her in check. It definitely takes practice and she still sneaks in and tries to rule the roost but I think the awareness that’s she’s there helps things about 1000% x

    • Good luck keeping her at bay Tegan – I think that all of us have that mothering instinct in us – whether we are Mums are not!

  8. Oh YES!!!

    This is exactly what I have been working on recently as well. I am kind to others and I teach my children to be kind and to look for kindness in others yet for SUCH a long time I have been mean to myself. WTF??? No more…it’s kindness all the way these days.

    And my epiphany came while on my morning walk so not quite the cross trainer but close enough!

  9. I love what you’ve said, Beth, because we agonise over what we say to our kids; and what we teach them about themselves; and we support them; and push them a bit ;and hope we build resilience in them. It should be what we do for ourselves, too. For me it’s all about not having to be perfect – and that can be difficult – but certainly something worth working on.

  10. Mine is mother guilt. I’m never doing enough. I should have spent more time on my son and he’d be at a stage now. I don’t spend enough time with my daughter. AND then I spend all my time telling others with children with special needs to give themselves a break.

    Oh and I shouldn’t have eaten that last chocolate either.

    Good on you for being kind to yourself. Enjoy!

  11. I have been through so much and I have the mother that you don’t want to be. I have spent several $1,000 trying to work my way out of it, and it is a very, very, very long road.

    My psychologist gave me a ‘tool’ to stop things like that. When you have a thought like that think ‘gotcha’ and throw it away, the more you take charge of the thoughts it lessens the thoughts. Unfortunately our children (both sons and daughters) pick up our parents ‘ways of parenting’ and believe me it is extremely hard to be different when that is all you know. Be the person that you want your children to be, which is what I do with my children.

  12. Beth you’re AMAZING! What a beautiful epiphany, and you’ve put it so perfectly into words. Thank you! This will have me thinking for a long time. x

  13. My 3 year old daughter asked me if I was having two more babies or did I just eat too much when she saw me getting dressed yesterday. Definitely ate too much, with 4 children there will be no more babies. BUT that same three year old told me I looked ‘fabulush’ and ‘bootiful’ this morning…. I will focus on todays comment I think.

  14. Beth, I have a saying about this very subject. It goes like this. “Us humans are engineered for success but programmed for failure”. Time to change the programming “code”!!!

  15. Natalie warnock says

    Loved this – very helpful

  16. Lisa Aherne says

    Great post. I loved this, has taught me that I am often too hard on myself. I keep forgetting I am not 25 and that at my age I am allowed to slack off a little. Xx

  17. I was in the park (I know, the f@#king park) dealing with the most revolting little shit of a boy as kindly but sternly as I could (blood boiling, I tell you) and he said, “you’re a f@#king s@#t mum, you are” to me.

    I swear without a beat I replied, “actually I’m a really good mum”. And I knew when I said it that I am, I really am.

  18. Christie says

    Be your own Spin Doctor and ‘fake it until you make it’ somewhere along the way balance settles in and we can all breathe once again

  19. Lisa Mckenzie says

    We all do it at some time or another and I’m glad you’re going to try and stop listening to the negative things,why women do it I do not know I have never heard a man saying he is too fat ,wrinkly lazy etc etc,we should all take a leaf out of the way men think.

  20. Those voices are stupid! This is brilliant! Thanks for this wee pearl. x

  21. Love the picture of the freesias and the light shining In on them! Matches your epiphany! I can almost hear that choir of angels singing…..
    Yes, I need to do the same, thanks for reminding me.
    Nice to everyone else except myself!

  22. Oh that voice!!! I’ve had to wrangle it to the ground and put it in a head lock of late. I’ve also started an exercise program that for once in my life I am enjoying. 2 weeks in and ‘that voice’ was hustling me about results and weight loss and why bother etc. It has taken me 3 years to be where I am and now it wants results in 2 weeks, little wonder we struggle. Exercise allows me to get out of my head and into my body. I’ve been at it for 3 months now and each time I finish a work out I high five myself for beating my doubting self.

    I just finished an online ecourse with Brene Brown. The first thing we learnt was ‘I’m imperfect and I’m enough’ amazing when ‘the voice’ comes to town how this can squash it.

    Go easy on yourself Beth and I’ll remind myself to do the same.

    Mel x

  23. I battle my Inner Bitch on a daily basis. You should hear the stuff she says to me – things I would never utter to my worst enemy. Yet there I am, letting it be said to myself. By myself. Time to flip the Bitch Switch to OFF. Permanently. x

  24. treesarebrownlove says

    Great advice Beth about looking at your kids for reinforcement of how you should speak to yourself. I used to tell that voice that visits regularly ‘thanks for sharing but eff off now’ however it is something you need to keep practising as it has a tendency to creep back.

    Your story reminded me of Taryn’s from Body image movement who got her epiphany from her daughter about her negative self talk if you want to know more see here:

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