Book Review: Sh*t I Say to Myself

book cover: Sh*t I Say to Myself by Katie Krimer

Sh*t I Say to Myself by Katie Krimer aims to help readers change their negative self-talk. The author is a therapist, and also describes herself as “a recovered negative thinker and self-talker. I’m also a former insomniac, life-long worrier and overthinker, recurring panic attack survivor, skilled ruminator, and recuperating perfectionist.”

The book is broken down into chapters devoted to various common negative self-talk statements. It covers topics like thoughts being electrical signals rather than facts, cognitive distortions like all-or-nothing thinking, perfectionism, and feeling like you’re not where you should be in life. The author offers suggestions for changing the words you use in talking to yourself, like saying goodbye to shoulds and replacing “yes, but…” with “yes, and…” She points out that when we tell ourselves “I can’t”, it’s usually code for something else, like “It feels too hard to…” or “I’m scared to…”

Some bits I liked:

  • “Life is difficult enough without us compounding any suffering with criticizing the way our mind is experiencing life.”
  • We can try to be curious, “turning ‘ugh’ into ‘huh'”.
  • “One of the functions of our thought loops is that they give us an illusory sense of control over a situation that otherwise feels upsetting, unfinished, or uncertain.” Our brains do this “to try to protect us from the intolerable discomfort of not knowing.”
  • Regarding negative filtering: “In essence, we distort the reality of what we hear and process it through a tattered, moldy filtration system and convince ourselves that the gross gunk is the ultimate truth about others, life, and us.”

Self-help books involving swearing have been big in recent years. When done well, this can come across as being true to how people actually talk, and when not done so well, it can come across as gimmicky. For the most part, it was done well in this book, but there were a few times when it seemed a bit much.

Some of the slang used made me notice the generation gap between Gen-X me and the millennial author. I haven’t quite wrapped my head around the fact that “dope” is something millennials say now, as I can’t help but think of Vanilla Ice and the lines “Deadly, when I play a dope melody, Anything less than the best is a felony” in Ice Ice Baby. The book does seem to be aimed at a millennial audience; that’s the main clientele the author works with, so the examples she gave of issues her clients have dealt with were based on that population.

The book was easy to read, with short chapters. There were also some fun illustrations to mix things up. I liked how upfront the author was about her own negative self-talk. The author doesn’t explicitly state the therapeutic approach that the book is based on, but it incorporates mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). As you might expect from a swearing-heavy book, the tone is blunt, but in a supportive, encouraging way. That approach isn’t going to work for everyone, but if it’s something that appeals to you, I think you’ll quite like this book.

Sh*t I Say to Myself is available on Amazon (affiliate link).

I received a reviewer copy from the publisher through Netgalley.

You can find my other reviews on the MH@H book review index or on Goodreads.

24 thoughts on “Book Review: Sh*t I Say to Myself”

        1. It was over 30º yesterday and it’s supposed to stay that way for the rest of the week, but so far the piggies and I are managing just fine. Hope you have a great day! 🌼

  1. I sometimes find it odd with all of my hang-ups, neuroses, general state of anxiety, negative self-talk is not among my problems. I’m definitely an over-thinker, chronic worrier and someone who replays past faux-pas on a loop which keeps me up at night – thinking “well that was an idiot move” is just reality because it was. Doesn’t make me idiot. Perhaps I should be more critical of myself – but I’m not comfortable with that. I’ll leave that to other people to point out my failings. Or maybe I don’t quite understand what negative self-talk is…

      1. Which makes my situation all the more interesting, at least to me – since negative talk was pretty much all I heard at home – perhaps the positive that was directed my way outside the home negated the negative? Or I was just born this way – with a strong sense of self. A friend of mine (who happens to be a psychotherapist) once said she wondered about my strong sense of self given my background. Maybe I was born with what I needed to survive my life…

  2. I think the swearing trend may be a reaction to self-help books that feel too flowery or too toxically positive. I tend to prefer the swearing if I had to choose between the two, but if it’s too much or too gratuitous, it just feels like it is trying too hard.

    I tend to find myself somewhat suspicious of strategies to avoid negative self-talk because sometimes, I feel like the mitigation strategies encourage thinking that is just as unrealistic/inaccurate and discourage actual self-improvement. But what you’ve described here does sound helpful and useful.

    Btw, I’ve never used the word “dope” to describe anything. Then again, I’m a bad (and old) millennial, so don’t consider me representative.

    1. This book was pretty realistic rather than getting into unhelpful territory.

      I think the swearing angle works best when it seems like that’s genuinely the way the author speaks. This book mostly did it well, but there were a few spots where it felt like some extra swear words might have been thrown in during the editing process.

  3. Personally I take more from a person who speaks/writes on how it really is for them, rather than pretending to be something they are not. If they want to swear then that is their choice, just like it is my choice whether to buy and read the book or not. Thanks for the recommendation Ashley

  4. Also had a giggle at the word dope. I’m 30 and I use it. Ingrained in my head since high school. Perhaps the inner child in me not wanting to let go hehe. Fantastic read, added to my list! Thanks!!

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