The Power of Self-Talk
I have worked with thousands of one-on-one clients over my career. In these individual sessions, which have always been held in absolute confidence, I have heard client stories of the internal conversations that they have on a consistent daily basis. These conversations are internal, silent and continuous. It seems obvious that these internal silent conversations always stem from the same source – our subconscious mind.
Here is an example: Your very good friend tells you a story of what someone said about you. The comments were not nice and were very derogatory. Now, there could be many different reactions, but one thing, for sure, is that your internal private conversation will go into high speed. “Why did she say that? I’m very hurt! Who else did he/she say that to? What should I do? How can I hurt him/her back?”
From there you go into a full conversation with yourself about this, and it may last for months. You go to sleep with the same personal dialog going. You wake up in the morning, and the internal conversation is still going, and you can’t stop it. What is happening, and is there anything you can do about it? Also, is it possible to change or control this internal conversation?
Let’s look at some of the science behind this internal process. First, you usually accept these internal conversations as out of your control and caused by something or someone external of yourself. So, when you claim no responsibility for the constant dialog going on in your head, you begin to treat yourself as a victim. The more victimized you feel, the louder the conversation gets.
From your feelings of victimization, you begin to worry and stress, and your body goes into “fight or flight” mode. Your pituitary gland in your brain begins to send messages to your adrenal system to release adrenalin into the blood stream. This elevates the heart rate and prepares your body for battle. The more you think about it, the more you talk to others about it, and the bigger it gets. All of this that is going on inside of you is being created by the thoughts your self-talk is creating.
So, with all that said, let me ask you a question. Who is responsible for all this going on inside of you? Is it what that person said about you, or your own out-of-control self-talk? Here is what the science says: “Nothing external of you can create a feeling inside of you without your participation!” You may not agree with that, but the science is implying that it is your personal obligation to control and direct the dialog of your internal self-talk. It was not what that person said about you that caused your stress. It was your own internal personal response that caused it.
Now I know I may have opened a can of worms with these comments, but this comes from my interpretations of the science and my personal observations of thousands of clients over the past 40+ years. We are personally responsible for our thoughts, choices and our internal silent conversations, our self-talk. That person did not cause your personal stress. It was your own personal self-talk, which you are responsible for controlling.
If this is true, then what can we do about it? Step one is an understanding that this internal self-talk should be under your personal control. Your subconscious mind is basically a memory bank of everything you have learned from life at this point. Unfortunately, when something negative happens in your life, your subconscious instinctively kicks in, and you instinctively respond with fearful or negative self-talk. That negative self-talk promotes a perpetual internal conversation inside of you. That conversation promotes any negative or fearful memories that have been stored in your subconsciousness since birth. So, this scenario promotes a question: “Do you have the responsibility and power to change and control your self-talk?” The answer is a resounding YES!
You have free will, and that free will allows you to make personal choices regarding the quality of your self-talk. When something negative happens in your life, you can choose to intentionally direct your internal self-talk. You have the power to direct a positive internal conversation if you choose. It is empowering to understand that you have total control over the quality of your internal dialog, your self-talk. When you take control of the internal dialog going on inside of you, you can no longer be victimized by fearful or negative self-talk. You can intentionally direct your life from your own personal choices. Also, you can no longer blame anything outside yourself for your internal feelings. Remember, “Nothing outside of you can affect what is going on inside of you, without your personal choice.”
I suggest practicing daily conscious awareness about your internal condition. Ask yourself consistently, “What am I thinking right now and is it positive or negative?” We all have the individual responsibility of constantly monitoring our internal self-talk. Never again allow something outside of you to create a negative feeling or conversation inside of you without your permission!
Until next time, may God Bless!