Why Science Says You Should Talk To Yourself
The billion-dollar self-help industry is powered by a single obsession: our hankering to look “outside” for solutions, inspirations and validations. From attending expensive conferences to buying formulaic books, we spend hours – if not days, months and even years – seeking a “magic” solution to end all our woes.
Ironically, somewhere in this maddening quest to find flash-and-fizzle quick fixes, we lose touch with ourselves… and especially our inner voice. I’m not saying that external motivators are ineffectual. Far from it.
However, banking solely on externals to bolster our self-esteem is neither sustaining nor satisfying. So, how do we shut out the noise around us and reconnect with the one person who really matters? You talk to them… or rather, you talk to yourself.
What is “self-talk”?
Self-talk is, quite simply, a running internal monologue about your feelings, your frustrations, your actions, your goals, your beliefs, your circumstances, your dreams and your nightmares.
“Since self-image is determined by what you consistently say to yourself about yourself, you have the power to direct your self-image by directing your self-talk,” writes Jason Selk and Tom Bartow in their bestseller , lays out the situation like this:
Yes, positive self-talk is generally more effective than negative self-talk. But the most effective self-talk of all doesn’t merely shift emotions. It shifts linguistic categories.
How? Through what Daniel calls “interrogative self-talk.” The concept is simple: replace statements with questions.
Asking a question triggers curiosity and engages problem solving. So instead of saying, “I’m going to rock this interview,” ask yourself, “Aaron, why are you the best candidate?”
The first is an empty statement that might offer a short-term boost but provides no tangible evidence to support your claims. The second is a question that instantly gets you thinking about why you’re the best candidate. This makes it far easier to answer that question when it’s posed by another person.
The next time you feel awkward for blabbering to yourself about yourself, keep calm and talk on. It’s not only healthy, it’s also extremely productive. Rest assured, you’re not a weirdo. Linda Sapadin captures the entire process beautifully:
Whether you’re living by yourself or living with others, you’re always living with yourself. So, don’t leave yourself out of the equation.
Amen to that!
Now, I’d love to hear from you about the practice of self-talk in the comments. Just be sure to not ignore the person who matters the most.
The Header Image Credit: Buffer Pablo
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