“…because all the great people talk to themselves, of course…”
― Sarah Beth Durst, Conjured
So why is talking to yourself most frequently used to describe someone on the brink of going nuts or maybe even actually nuts, when “internal dialogue” provides such a healthy perspective on our thoughts, behaviors, and values?
I really like the term inner dialogue, which just makes “talking to yourself” appear to be more thoughtful. Personally, I live in a world in which I talk to myself quite frequently. In fact, I probably talk to myself more than any one other person on earth. And in doing so, I discover clarity regarding whatever situation I am pondering about life and relationships.
For instance, how many times have your rehearsed a difficult conversation with someone that didn’t go well—and you almost always discover ways it might have gone better. Or, just as commonly, you rehearse a difficult upcoming conversation to try to ensure common agreement and perhaps even an improved relationship.
Honestly, however, often those conversations do not wind up the way you may have hoped, BUT at least you are prepared for some issues that may arise.
Talk About the Future
Am I odd or do I just think a lot? Truly, I can devote an hour a day to just “talking to myself” or in deep internal dialogue… about a myriad of things present and future. (I rarely live or even think about the past unless those thoughts may impact today or tomorrow.)
I read a funny quote by Ron Braken who wrote, “What I like best about cell phones is that I can talk to myself in the car now and nobody thinks I’m weird.” I like talking to myself (and frequently out loud which is fine in a car but awkward while I am walking. I like chatting with myself about situations and upcoming dialogues.
In a conversation with Harvard philosopher Daniel Klein I was introduced to the habit of “thought experiments.” About a two hundred year old process, a thought experiment has been defined as, “The common goal of a thought experiment is to explore the potential consequences of the principle in question:
“A thought experiment is a device with which one performs an intentional, structured process of intellectual deliberation in order to speculate, within a specifiable problem domain, about potential consequents (or antecedents) for a designated antecedent (or consequent).”
This, to me, may be the most important value of talking to yourself. It is an essential action that takes place almost every time you encounter a new meeting or presentation. It is also the beginning of almost every creative endeavor. I don’t know an artist that has involved herself in deep internal dialogues that can be described as thought experiments.
Your mind is a powerful place to play and to produce. You are what you think you are… and more. Especially if you take the time to talk yourself through whatever is happening in your future.
Talk More to Yourself
And Learn More About Your Future
Photo courtesy of gpointstudio at istockphoto