The Good Stuff
I say that only because it is what I do every day and if I didn't love it, then some life exploration might be necessary!
Self-talk emerges early in our development. There is some support that for the idea that our self narrative is the internalization of the messages we receive from around us as we develop. We adopt narratives from parents, teachers, friends, media. As we recite those statements and stories to ourselves they become ingrained. Like a path that becomes so well traveled that eventually it is paved and becomes a 5 lane highway!
I remember vividly saying to a family member when I was a child, "I'm shy!" They laughed and said, "You're not shy! I've never known anyone less shy." For some reason this stuck with me and my oppositional side kicked in--I was going to prove I was shy. So I repeated the narrative until it became true--at least in middle and high school. Along the way I allowed myself to let go of that self-narrative, although sometimes it still pops up.
Becoming aware of our internal dialogue is an important first step to becoming more emotionally intelligent and to be able to shift our way of thinking and being. Our brain is constantly gathering information, assessing and making decisions--sometimes outside of our awareness. Self-awareness is a acquired skill. One that can impact our ability to navigate relationships, find and maintain consistent employment, and find fulfillment in our life.
If this is an area you need to improve in, start by asking a few simple questions:
What am I thinking?
What triggered that thought?
What am I feeling right now?
What does that feel like in my body?
When have I felt that before?
Begin to experience viewing your thoughts like you would a movie or a 5 lane highway. Notice them and then let them pass.
After becoming more self-aware of your internal narrative it becomes possible to challenge the narrative, deconstructing and letting go of the narrative that may be keeping you stuck.
Here's something to try: Ask yourself the questions listed above at least once a day. Keep a journal. Go back and reflect on previous journals to look for patterns. It may be uncomfortable and you may say "I don't know" the first 90 times you ask yourself the questions. But practice!