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Why Bother Listening to Your Self-Talk?

Self-talk are those one way conversations we have with ourselves that others may or may not hear. While some might converse silently within their heads, there are those who actually talk out loud to themselves. But, whether silently, or out loud, I am convinced that those one-way conversations we have which deflate, deprecate or demean us do not originate from ourselves, but rather from people in our past.

        Old Voices

Our brains are phenomenal. Though we may not remember exactly what we ate for lunch two days ago, our minds do store all the details of our lives. It is the things that are most important or what leaves the greatest impression on us that rise to the surface of our minds with ease.  

Consequently, those degrading words spoken to me more than fifty years ago on the school bus by bullying high school boys left an impression in my head. Sometimes those unforgotten words, spoken by a few thoughtless males, remind me that my physique really is less than perfect and laughable, when really, it is just fine.  

Then there are those instances when a few words propagate themselves into a myriad of other ideas. For instance, once, in anger, my mother told me that she hated me. Over the years that one little message I’d heard as a teenager germinated into other messages; I am not good enough, I do not have what it takes to succeed, and I am unlovable. 

Her harmful message was unintentional and I no longer hold it against her, yet, the old message remains in the archives of my brain. 

But, what is more important than old messages is what we choose to do with them. Unlike an eraser at the end of a pencil, we cannot obliterate what’s been said to us, but we can trace its origin. And in finding where and from whom it came, we can choose to diminish its power over us. 

To say the least, this work of tracing the inception of any mortifying message we hear repeated inside our heads is not for the faint of heart. Besides, these archaic words we use so easily and freely against ourselves are not easy to root out or expose. And we have to wonder, who wants to relive such moments? 

The truth is, we do relive those moments every time we use diminishing words against ourselves; I am stupid, I have nothing to offer, who am I to think I can…

 Why bother listening to our self-talk. Paying attention to what we say to ourselves gives us a better chance to say something better to ourselves. It’s the difference between listening to an old recording or making a new one.

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