How often do you really truly communicate with yourself? How often do you stop bullshitting about with the telling yourself horrible things and just show up as your best friend? If the answer is rarely or never, well, there’s hope! Start now.
This might sound downright odd. Perhaps you even think you do communicate with yourself everyday. But the reality is, you don’t. Not really. What is more likely is you exist with yourself. Like a silent partner. Observing but not engaging with the things you think, do and say.
Because life can become automatic. The things we tell ourselves, the places we go, daily functions of our existence. Often we don’t even examine the stuff that occurs. It just is. The natural status quo of a life we have allowed ourselves to coast through. Often it is only when the big things happen that we really take stock of our decisions. Then we will heap blame, berating the person in the mirror. Either for failing to see things plainly, making poor choices or worse; making no choices.
Yet having an open and frank discussion with yourself can open up your mind, and the world.
I have talked to myself out loud for my whole life. I’ve most certainly talked to myself in public without meaning to. I have always been a vocal person, that wont change. My mother wrote to me over Christmas insisting that she and my father were missing my “verbal diarrhea”. Charming.
But, really, it is only this past year that I have truly begun to talk to myself with purpose. In a way that is honest, open and self-effacing.
This falls into three categories:
1) Not allowing myself to tell fabricate or believe in lies I tell myself
2) Being my best friend (i.e. treating myself with honesty and kindness)
3) Sorting through and apportioning the F***s I give
As we all know, balance is the buzzword. I have talked to myself harshly but fairly on occasions, I have outright raised my voice at myself. I have told myself to move; run, walk, make the decision. Or to just stop; bad behaviour or limiting/damaging thoughts. I have even used my full name on myself — much like a parent would. It has often helped.
Commenting on and engaging with what you do really makes a world of difference. It allows you to think critically, in a way you may not used to.
Seems like a sure-fire way to formulate a split personality huh?
In fact, it is a pathway to better healing. Think about it, how often do you do things that you are exasperated by later? How often do you look back at your actions and feel like they were performed by another person? If the answer is never, then well done. Read no further.
If the response barometer ranges from “sometimes” to “All the time! Get out of my head she-devil”, stick with me.
How to Talk to Yourself
Find a quiet spot where you will not be disturbed. Relax and take your time.
Try to look into a mirror and make eye contact. This can promote a connection with immediate thoughts, feelings, and the person staring back at you.
If you find this uncomfortable, distracting or laughable, it may help to just sit comfortably or lie down. Also, closing your eyes to connect in.
Talk out loud. It may seem ridiculous at first, but vocalizing what is in your head actually helps to organise your thoughts and form more cohesive ideas or plans.
Be firm but fair. Allow everything to come out, even if you have to use negative language. Once you have spoken those negative thoughts, you can start to unravel them and rebuild with more positive speech. Don’t judge what comes up. Simply notice, discuss and reorganize with yourself until there is a more objective and structured basis for whatever you are working on.
Don’t be harsh or aggressive with yourself after the initial stream of consciousness has been performed. Practice grace and calm. Perhaps imagine you are speaking as someone else that you know very well. I often visualize/vocalize things that my best friend would say to me. We go way back and I know she is always firm but fair, so it is easy to channel her in times of need.
If you are feeling stuck, it may be worth starting with what you know. Stick to the facts, how they make you feel. This creates a better mental picture of your current situation.
Once you have established a clear narrative, it might be useful to write down a bullet point list of what you have discovered/are going to work on.
When to Talk to Yourself
Any time you like! It is totally dependent on what is going on in your life and the amount you need to process. I would suggest starting with once per week, perhaps giving over a specific day and time to connect in for a frank and honest discussion. It will become more and more apparent when you need to schedule time with yourself, but for the moment utilize the time as practice.
These chats don’t have to be about vast and life-altering topics. Schedule ten minutes, make a cup of tea and sit with yourself. Allow the words that arise to come out of your mouth. Whatever they are. Visualize them dissipating as you speak, and re-establish a gentler dialogue with yourself if need be.
Nor does the practice have to be a serious affair! Have a giggle, laugh at yourself or situations you have encountered. Tell jokes, make silly faces in the mirror. Take time to recognize that the world is not all serious. It is a ludicrous place full of ego, opinion and ridiculousness.
Okay, so I Now Talk to Myself
Practicing how you speak to yourself will reap rewards rather quickly. You will be more mindful of your daily actions, knowing that you will shortly be checking in. The way in which you talk to yourself internally is likely to change too. The negative voice will become quieter, whilst the kinder more logical side of your mind will assert more dominance.
Stress levels are also likely to be reduced as you continue to have these de-brief sessions. When you engage with critical thinking, you become more attuned with finding solutions rather than fixating on problems.
And the very best thing is this: When you start to talk to yourself openly, you begin to deepen your own understanding. Your actions, motivations and goals make more sense. No longer are you asking “why did I do that?
You cannot always stop the impulsive reactions or negative thinking. You will, however, be more attuned to the thinking behind it, and how to talk to yourself to ensure these events occur less and less.
Most importantly, you will stop bullshitting. When you have that solo accountability mirror-meeting, issues will be addressed. In this regard, the ‘present you’ will take more responsibility for actions taken today. Less troubleshooting, more positive movement in the moment. Maybe even a few more jokes with yourself along the way.
So give it a go. Lean in to the discomfort and just allow yourself the mental freedom to reconnect with who you are. These little chats may start to feel like a safe haven. A calm port in the storm of everyday life. You won’t know until you try!