Before we decide what to say to someone else, we’ve already had a conversation with ourselves. If we are emotionally triggered, that conversation could occur so quickly that it appears non-existent, but it still happened. It’s what we say to ourselves that determines our next steps.

If you want to change your responses to others, start by noticing and changing the conversation with yourself. If you are critical of yourself, cut yourself some slack. If you speak harshly, use a gentler tone. If you are judgmental, try looking for ways to give yourself the benefit of the doubt.

Listening in on your inner conversation will give you lots of clues about why you treat others the way you do. And when you change how you speak to yourself, a transformation in how you address others often follows naturally and effortlessly.