I’m always amused when I catch my husband talking to himself. Sometimes it’s in the morning when he’s getting ready for work, reminding himself what he needs to do that day. At other times he’s in his office expressing frustration about an unsuccessful call to the cable company to resolve an issue. Hearing him alone in the room talking to himself amuses me; I have to smile. Of course, if I’m honest, I do it too.
In fact, I expect we all do, at times. Talking to ourselves is a part of being human. It’s part of how we process our daily lives. Sometimes we talk out loud, but most of the time the conversation goes on silently, inside ourselves, hidden from the world. Sometimes we are not even aware we are having it.
In communication, this internal conversation is called intrapersonal communication. It is the internal dialogue of our thoughts, both conscious and unconscious. Whether we are aware of what we say to ourselves or not, these messages have the power to change our lives. The first step is to uncover what we’re saying. The second step is to craft a mantra that empowers us to be who we really are.
When Barbara Grogan was recently divorced, depressed and struggling to get out of bed to create a new life for herself and her two children, she first had to change what she said to herself. Each day she repeated, “I am powerful, beautiful, creative, and I can handle it!” By changing her mantra, she re-envisioned her life and gained the confidence she needed to build a thriving future. (Barbara Grogan’s story is shared in Sally Helgesen’s book The Female Advantage.)
Becoming mindful of the messages we rehearse allows us to modify them. Adopting a new mantra empowers transformation as we internalize a new life script. Here’s how it works. Let’s say you regularly tell yourself that you’re stuck or that you don’t know what to do next. On the surface this may look like discouragement and worry. Underneath it is an internal script made up of messages replaying in your mind and heart that shape how you think about yourself and how you respond to your situation.
A few months ago I noticed a negative message of doubt repeating inside me like a broken record. So, I decided to replace it with an intentional mantra. I borrowed Barbara Grogan’s. I repeated this new message over and over during daily walks. Within only a few days I started noticing a difference in the way I thought and the narrative in my head. In fact, I started looking forward to the walks because of the sense of empowerment I felt as I repeated, “I am powerful, beautiful, and creative, and I can handle it!”
By changing the way I talked to myself, I re-wrote my internal script and changed my perspective. Instead of feeling discouraged, I started feeling confident with more energy to tackle the challenges I faced. My productivity improved and my creativity was released to generate new ideas and find new solutions.
It’s part of human nature to talk to ourselves. The key is to discover what we are saying and figure out if the message is right. When we change from a negative message to an empowering one, we can alter the course of our lives. For me, I know I’m going to talk to myself, the question is: What am I saying?
Share your thoughts and discoveries by posting a comment below. What do you say to yourself? What new words of inspiration are you adopting to re-write your internal script?