Sometimes when I’m with my boyfriend (usually with him but sometimes with my sister or once in a while with friends), I’ll hear something that makes me feel insecure and then I’ll say something really awful to make him or them feel the same way I do. What is wrong with me and why do I do this and how do I change this?

–Mean Motormouth (United States)


Well, you’ve already done the most important thing in changing this behavior, which is taking a look at why you engage in this pattern and being aware that you do this.

And there’s nothing wrong with you, per se. You’re just being human. Perhaps, though, you are learning in this lifetime about how to use the power of your words in a way that is both constructive and positive. When you have power using negative words, that means that you can have even more power than you harness your gift of language for good and for the light.

To start changing your old patterns, take an extra breath and pause for a moment when you feel that impulse to say something mean to make someone else feel insecure. First, reset your space so that you validate yourself. For example, if you’re insecure about your schoolwork, validate that you’re great in a particular subject. If you’re insecure about your looks, validate a part of you that is beautiful. Once you do this and get more and more in a habit of doing this, you’ll notice the urge to say something to cut someone down or make them feel insecure will start to dissipate more and more until maybe you rarely feel like you need to say those kinds of things anymore.

Congratulations on taking a look at this so you can evolve into the powerful-tongued (perhaps even a writer) self that you were born to be.




I have this family friend I work with that is driving me nuts. Anytime I mention anything, she has to one-up me. If I say I went to the mountains over the weekend, she says her husband is taking her on a one-week cruise to Hawaii. If I say my daughter is excited about going to college, she says her daughter won some big scholarship to a great school. If I mention my husband at all, she brings up how these head hunters are trying to recruit her husband for some huge-paying job. (My husband was laid off and is between jobs at the moment, so this one smarts a little.)

I don’t really buy into the status game or materialism thing or anything, but I find myself getting so irritated nevertheless. Please advise.

–Baffled (United States)


First of all, know that this woman must be very insecure and unhappy with her life if she constantly needs to one-up you on everything. This is probably exacerbated by the fact that you are family friends. I don’t know how long you have known each other, but sometimes family friends can light up a person’s insecurity and competition even more than general acquaintances or friends.

Second, know that resistance to competition (even when you’re not necessarily a competitive person) can sometimes make you stuck in the competition energy, AKA the good ole rat race. So whenever your friend tries to drag you into the one-upmanship game, just validate you and your life for exactly what it is and be grateful to all that is. If you want, you can also keep the details of your life to yourself so as not to give her any ammunition to use to try to pull you into that game. And give her space to be exactly where she is at, knowing she’s doing her best as she knows it to be.

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