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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Self-Talk: Friend or Foe?


Your inner world of self-talk is most generally not conscious. Self-talk implies thoughts. And most people get lost in their world of thoughts without recognizing that it has happened. Why this happens has much to do with how interested you are in consciously being able to make good choices about those thoughts / that self-talk, and specifically, in how much you have decided to make a practice of being conscious.

Self-talk about anything at all can be both friend and foe. Take the example of playing golf. You swung badly. Your ball went into the water, or so far off to the left into the trees, that you still haven't found it after 10 minutes of hunting for it. All this time your self-talk is on. What are you saying to yourself about that poor shot? Whatever it is, those words; those thoughts, are either your friend or your foe. Depending on that self-talk, you now are gently beginning to feel better about having swung so badly, or you are feeling far, far worse.

Let's take another example. You've been offered a new position at an outstanding firm. It even implies a substantial raise, as well as a move to one of the world's most exciting cities. You need to give your final answer by Monday. As you mull over it, your self-talk is on. What are you saying to yourself about that challenge? Whatever it is, those words; those thoughts, are either your friend or your foe. Depending on that self-talk, you now are slowly beginning to feel very apprehensive about taking on such a huge challenge, and leaving your family and friends behind, or you are filled with adrenaline, anticipation, and a sense of your future opening up for you.

A final, and much more personal example might be about having gone on a date with a new person. You very much enjoyed him/her. You anticipate future dates and perhaps - who knows? - even more. However, time has gone by and you haven't had any contact. Perhaps you've reached out, and there has been no reply to your message, or perhaps this person had said they would contact you shortly, but has not done so. As time goes by, your self-talk is on. What are you saying to yourself about this situation? Whatever it is, those words; those thoughts, are either your friend or your foe. Depending on that self-talk, you now are beginning to believe there could be something wrong or lacking with you and that explains why there has been no contact, or you are aware of the fact that you have no control over another individual, and how they behave, but whatever they do or don't do, it is not a reflection on yourself.

Becoming aware of your thoughts is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. It also brings much peace to your life.

Image: Kevin H., National Geographic: A blue heron in the last rays of a setting sun, Great Falls National Park, MD 

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