It’s no secret that you talk to yourself.
Everyone does it.
What may be kept secret, is what you say to yourself, and why.
You need to figure out those secrets — because they hold the keys to your success in relationships and at life.
Self talk has a backstory
Self talk isn’t random. It didn’t come from nowhere.
It does make sense. It tells a story.
As John K. Pollard, III writes in Self Parenting: The Complete Guide to Your Inner Conversations, self talk gets picked up from your parents (or caregivers).
When you were young, you internalized all the stuff your parents said to you, no matter how off-the-wall or unfair it was.
And it manifested as your inner critic, your inner voice, your voice of reason — however you want to name it.
The label’s not important, the content is.
Because today, as an adult, you’re still repeating what your parents said to you when you were a child.
And most of the time, you don’t even know it.
Self talk is often self-destructive
And most of the time, the stuff you picked up is dysfunctional.
Think about it.
Your parents lived in a different time. They picked up things from their parents — much of which was from their time (and their parents).
By the time a belief got passed on to you, it was already outdated.
And on top of that, it was strapped down by whatever cultural baggage constituted its time.
Culture spreads beliefs virally, that’s what it’s good at. That’s why it works.
And more often than not, individuals within a particular culture don’t double-check their references. They don’t exercise caution, or use discernment. And that’s when the problems occur.
And that’s what happened in the backstory of your self talk.
You picked up tons of dysfunctional tidbits from generations ago.
And they’re ruling your life when you’re not looking.
Self talk is mostly subconscious
Most of the time when you talk to yourself, you can’t hear it.
You’re not paying attention, or it’s tucked between conscious thoughts.
Heck, it may not even be verbal.
But it’s there.
And it drives your behavior and your life in very important ways — through your subconscious.
Which again, let’s emphasize, is shaped and conditioned by your parents and their parents and their parents and so on. (And caregivers is only the beginning; several other authority figures help shaped your inner voices.)
So self talk is kind of important here.
You need to first, know that it’s going on. And then, start to pay attention to it.
Self talk is about your relationship with you
Self talk is really about your relationship with your Inner Child.
You took on your parents’ echoes and now you’re the parent.
And another aspect of your consciousness, your Inner Child, is the one in need of parenting — from your conscious self (the one reading right now).
But it makes more sense when you know what the Inner Child really stands for: your emotional self.
So, your Inner Parent is the voice of reason. And your Inner Child is the voice of emotion.
One is logical, aware of how the world operates, cautious, and in charge.
The other is “illogical,” naive a lot of the time, vulnerable, and in need of guidance.
What you say to your Inner Child is so important
Of course, it’s not so simple like that.
Yes, mindful logic is wears the big boy pants when it comes to choosing how you will respond to life.
And yes, vulnerable emotion needs as much nurture as it can get.
But the thing is, logic isn’t in always in charge, and it never was.
Most of the time, emotion is in charge — via the subconscious.
So if your Inner Parent (voice of reason) takes an authoritarian approach to parenting the Inner Child, it’s going to get ugly. (That parenting style isn’t effective in families, and it won’t help your relationship with you either.)
And you can say goodbye to relationship or life success.
Because one way or another, your subconscious will sabotage your well-meaning efforts. Through emotional outbursts or other emotional setbacks.
You Inner Parent needs to develop a very special parenting style.
And remember, parenting style is synonymous to: self talk (which is a big part of working with your emotions).
How you treat your emotions is so important
Let’s translate this:
You need to be in touch with your emotions, willing to look deeper into them, willing to work with them, willing to meet them halfway, response able, and firmly focused on building your life as a mindful construct.
Because your emotional self/Inner Child absolutely needs feedback and guidance from your conscious self/Inner Parent in order to find balance.
That feedback might as well be as functional as it can be.
Why self talk is more important than you think
Self talk isn’t trivial.
It’s not like you can call yourself “stupid” every day and expect to get away with — your emotional health remaining intact.
There are consequences to the things that you say to yourself.
So start to pay attention.
It’s one of the biggest investments you can make in your emotional health and well-being.
Here are just five reasons why:
- What you say to yourself reflects your belief systems, which may very well be dysfunctional. You need to know the dysfunction exists before you can reprogram the beliefs.
- What you say to yourself often triggers subconscious behaviors and coping mechanisms, which may also be dysfunctional.
- What you say to yourself will either make or break your relationship with your emotions/Inner Child (and Ego), which has great bearing on your emotional health.
- What you say to yourself, or what you ignore, can elicit a barrage of self-destructive behaviors delivered by your Ego (which takes advantage of your subconscious) — but these are just dysfunctional coping mechanisms that your Ego picks up because it doesn’t think you can get its needs met.
- What you say to yourself will either help you succeed in life or keep you locked in failure, because what you believe directly impacts how well you can perform.
In the next article, I’ll review my favorite book on self talk with you: Self Parenting: The Complete Guide to Your Inner Conversations.
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