why do we talk to ourselves?

self talk
I poured my muesli on the floor this morning.

The clipped corner of the 1kg bag hadn’t formed into its spout, its usual slippery slide – I like to imagine the cereal screaming “Wheeee!” as it enjoys the excitement of freedom. My eagerly awaiting bowl was teetering right on the edge of the kitchen worktop. I was distracted for a moment as my arm lifted the bag for the freeing release of oats and dried fruits…

Some muesli found the correct home, but some cascaded towards my feet, seeking more freedom than I was intending to offer.

“Oh you idiot” I said aloud.

Now I am eating the said breakfast, having cleared away the mess, I find myself wondering … why?

Why did I feel the need to comment aloud on my performance, my mistake? The comment drew attention from my wife, so my inadequate bag handling, pouring and spatial awareness were now more widely known.

We do that though, don’t we? Comment on ourselves.

Sometimes externally, out loud, like me this morning with my cereal. Often, internally, under our breath, inside our heads.

“You twit!”; “You’ve done it again haven’t you?”; “Why do you do that?”; “If only I …”; “Failed again”(or some ruder version); “Why me?”…

Sometimes there might be a positive “Yes!” but more often it’s a way of beating ourselves up, judging, criticising, highlighting our inadequacy or shortcoming, drawing our attention to our own pattern of being.

Why do we do that?

Notice your patterns. Are there particular ways you do this to yourself? Particular phrases? Particular situations?

There is a deeper, personal meaning. Maybe we are drawing our attention to something we need? Some unnoticed, unfulfilled part? Maybe we are seeking validation? Maybe we are noticing again something we have become familiar with, something that served us once, but now is just there, dragged around with us like a manacled weight?

Whatever the deeper reason, in that moment, your unconscious offered it to you.

Worth listening. Worth exploring.

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