All of us indulge in self-talk at some point. Self-talk guides us from our own emotional responses to a more conscious level. You’d call this state a learning plateau reflecting our needs and attitudes. The reason is simple: when you process experiences and emotions associated with self-talk, you begin to filter not just your experiences, but also beliefs. Beliefs are the fundamental nuggets of life; they mirror our sense of conviction. This is what propels us with ideas and images of our self and of others. It takes us to a new level — to become a part of our own thinking patterns, including a gamut of behaviours we emote in day-to-day life.
Tennis legend and Zen ‘exponent’ Pete Sampras exemplified self-talk. He took it to a new plane. He would always enlighten his inner self that he’d been there before and would be there now — even when he’d be several points behind. This was the little voice inside his mind that provided him with the powerful effect to emerge a champion — a champion player like no other. We’d all emulate Sampras’ exemplar and create ideas and thoughts to accomplish what we aim for in life and career. This is all a part of our consciousness. It also connotes our ability to effectively transform our emotional experiences. Put simply, self-talk is the inner bearing, the inner voice that informs us of our self-esteem and also self-worth. It engages our mind. It determines our state of mind — whether we are confident enough to go ahead and attain what we wish to achieve, or get bogged down by failed outcomes based on past events.
To unravel what goes on in our mind and indulge in self-talk is no rocket science. Agreed that the whole idea is delicate — but, it works if only you are conscious of its tenor and effect. If you’ve a ‘low-down’ feeling of self-worth, you will not be able to feel or experience self-talk that celebrates your latent talent and/or your own sense of self-worthiness, if not pure ability. You’ll also not run that extra mile and accomplish what you want to.
All of us share more than a handful of common needs and wants. For example, food, shelter, camaraderie, a job, a career, ‘a sense of belonging,’ and the need to put across our affection for others. Besides, all of us seek appreciation and recognition from others too. If one is not able to achieve these essential elements in life, it leads to a ‘frozen’ want. This slowly develops into unanswered desires, or needs. In other words, disappointment, frustration, and also depression — the ‘common cold’ of psychological illness.
Is there a way out? Yes, there is. Self-talk. If only we build upon what we have by way of talking-to-oneself, we’ll all be able to hear ourselves and also others. It is not that you’ll be able to articulate everything like a novelist of the top draw, through self-talk. Nonetheless, you’ll be able to — in little ways — convey, correspond, learn, or seek from yourself and from others the cognitive aspect of feelings, even thoughts. These are, in effect, the feelings we associate with our attitudes. They trigger thoughts that lead to effective behaviours associated with emotions. But, just working on our attitudes won’t take us far — you need to challenge your clichés, thinking, and also goals. You need to examine and resolve your feelings too. If you don’t, you end up not knowing your own self. You’ll also give the impression that you want to be left alone — enveloped by a sense of apprehension that you just can’t be what you always wanted to be.