012: How to Stop Being Mean to Yourself: 3 of the Best Tools I Learned in Counseling

Five years ago, I realized that I needed to go to counseling. I had been coping with stress and heartache through both undereating and overeating for almost ten years, and my negative thoughts about myself had become debilitating and all-consuming.

I sought treatment from an outpatient eating disorder clinic, and I fully expected my counselor to teach me how to control my eating; instead, my counselor went to the root of the problem and taught me how to control my thinking.

I learned that destructive behaviors (such as eating disorders) are part of a three-part cycle: we have a negative thought about ourselves, we then feel a negative emotion about ourselves, and we then cope with that feeling through a destructive behavior. In order to stop this cycle, we must have strategies to stop the negative self-talk that starts it all in the first place!

Whether or not you’ve ever struggled with an eating disorder, I think this episode will benefit you. I share three of the best tools that I learned in counseling:


1) Reject “filtered thinking” and embrace “big-picture thinking.”

2) Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend, sister, or daughter.

3) Use “coping statements” to help you re-center and stay calm in moments when you might spiral into despair. Here is a list to get you started!


I truly believe that almost no topic is more important for women and mothers–so I hope you will listen, and let me know what you think in the comments.

Additional Resources

Unhealthy Stress or Habits? Break the Cycle (podcast with Power of Moms): https://powerofmoms.com/unhealthy-stress/

Listening to and Loving your Body through Intuitive Eating (podcast with Power of Moms): https://powerofmoms.com/intuitive-eating/

It Is What It Is” (article with a list of coping strategies): https://powerofmoms.com/it-is-what-it-is/

The Surprising Way I Confronted my Eating Disorder” (full narrative therapy): https://powerofmoms.com/eating-disorder/


15 thoughts on “012: How to Stop Being Mean to Yourself: 3 of the Best Tools I Learned in Counseling”

  1. This was such a great episode! Thank you so much for sharing your story. These takeaways really helped me visualize similar concepts I have been learning with a life coach.
    One of my mantras is “Peace begins with me”.

    1. I love that mantra!! So true and wise! Thank you for taking the time to come back here and comment! I hope you will keep listening to other episodes. Much love.

  2. I loved this episode so much too Rachel! I also have an intense perfectionist personality and I often am so mean to myself. I haven’t ever had a eating disorder, but these things still applied to me very intensely. I already noticed a difference in how I reacted to certain circumstances the last few days when I tried to look focus on big picture thinking. It really has helped me. Thank you. I love our podcast and listen every week.

    1. Thank you so much, Jessie! I love knowing that a few people are coming back week after week! And I’m so glad to know that this episode was particularly helpful. I know the principles have certainly changed my life! Love you!

      1. Mary Ann Tackett

        I want to thank you for sharing your vulnerabilities with such courage. I just found this episode and you while looking up Melody Beattie’s audiobook Stop Being So Mean To Yourself. Your episode also came up and wow….so brilliant. So straight to the core of what tactical and strategic maneuvers we can take to overcome our inner sabbateur! Self Compassion is an area that doesn’t have a lot out there on how to do that and make that happen. In 2013, I began treatment for PTSD in the Army. My therapist spoke often of self compassion. I could not wrap my head around what that looked like. In the Army, you filter everything thru being about the greater good. So so so thankful for this podcast. I am forwarding you and this podcast to all the female soldiers and female veterans I know. Thank you for helping empower us with practical weapons to defeat our inner enemy!

        1. What an incredible comment. THANK YOU! It means the world to me that you would share it with other soldiers and veterans. Thank you for your kind feedback!!

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  4. I love these ideas. I’ve been working on a more positive self talk for a while now. When hings go wrong, even something as simple as losing my keys, I tend to beat myself up internally. It’s been a journey trying to stop those thoughts and pull myself out of the negativity hole.

    1. Yes, me too! I totally used to berate myself for little things like that. Sometimes I am still tempted to, but I fight it! I’m so glad you’re fighting it too!

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