Talking to Myself

Today I’d like to reflect about the practice of talking with one’s self. I’ve become used to talking with my self over many years of my life. I think it’s a way I’ve kept in touch with my self, to hear my own voice over the din of external voices, opinions and perspectives that are not my own, in order to find my own unique voice.

There’s such a stigma about talking with one’s self. When I see someone walking down the street talking away to themselves, I immediately look for a supporting feature: a cell phone held at their ear or someone beside them who I cannot see. If they’re actually talking out loud to themselves there’s a tendency to perceive them as unbalanced or eccentric, outside the acceptable way of being in society. I heard from someone recently who marveled at the idea of talking aloud to one’s self. It wasn’t something she’d ever done, other than in the grocery store while reviewing her shopping list. When her child was small, she would read through it aloud, knowing that it would seem she was talking to her child, and years later still does it out of habit, and notices that other women do this too.

Do you talk to yourself out loud?
It serves good purpose, this practice. It gives me a chance to hear what my voice is saying quietly on the inside. It gives me a chance to say the things out loud I need to hear, to encourage me, remind me, clarify ideas as they appear, plans as they are being sketched out, inspiration that gives my life meaning. The reason that this is up in my attention right now is because I went for a long walk last week, and once I got beyond the houses, people and cars and into a country lane with just me and the trees, birds and breeze, I immediately began to speak aloud. A stream of consciousness emerged, like the words had just surfaced in a pool of thoughts, splashing about as they breathed air, suddenly having dimension, surprising me with both their energy, and my own eager need to speak them.

Even still, at moments I felt a hesitation, and why would that be? To me, it illustrated years of habitual second-guessing my self in relative terms to what others think, considering how I appear, even in the form of my thoughts. Beyond the soundlessness of my internal dialogue, speaking aloud in my own presence is a commitment of a kind that echoes through the heavens, which is in contrast to the collision at times when my expression meets with either the receptivity or the rejection of others. And of course, then there’s the magic, knowing that once put into conscious thought and spoken word, ideas have tremendous power to clarify intention and alter the direction of one’s life.

Lynn Thompson is Host and Producer of the ‘Living on Purpose’ radio show, heard on CHLY 101.7fm.