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Internal Dialogue

One of the most powerful ways for a person to assess himself or herself is to monitor his or her internal dialogue.  But, what is internal dialogue, and how does one identify it?    Internal dialogue ...

One of the most powerful ways for a person to assess himself or herself is to monitor his or her internal dialogue.  But, what is internal dialogue, and how does one identify it?

    Internal dialogue is the words a person uses to describe him or herself, but these are the thoughts that arrive naturally inside the person’s mind.  For example, does a person think on a consistent basis that he or she is an “idiot” or “smart”?  We all have an internal dialogue constantly running through our minds during our waking state, but we are not always aware of it. 

    Many different events and conditions can make a significant impact on our internal dialogue.  For those of us affected by differing forms of anxiety, our internal dialogue can change in an instant.  For myself, someone affected by social anxiety, a weird look from another person may trigger thoughts like “I’m an idiot” or “that person hates me,” when in fact that person really does not.  For a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder, the internal dialogue may be greatly affected by worries about contamination such as “I need to wash my hands, they have germs on them” or “I’m not using that toilet paper at another person’s house, it might be
contaminated with germs.” 

    Monitoring the thoughts that naturally arise in a person’s thinking and that are concerned with a person’s self is one of the most powerful ways of assessing that person, and this is how people can perform self-assessment.  If a person continuously blames himself or herself for social “blunders” that nobody else notices, this person is most likely affected by social anxiety.  A person that continuously thinks positive things about him or herself, and that is able to discern more rational reasons for committing social “blunders” such as “everyone makes mistakes,” is affected by social anxiety, but nonetheless is managing it pretty well.  In this way, a person is able to discern what situations are difficult for him or her.  Then, once these situations and thoughts are identified, it is possible to change the thinking from less rational to more rational internal dialogue.  This can be a long process, but it can be done.

    What is an effective way of monitoring one’s internal dialogue?  The process is simple.  A person simply needs to keep a way of recording his or her thoughts nearby (pen and paper, cell phone voice recording etc…).  At three (or more if preferred) random times during the day, or when an anxiety-provoking event has occurred, the person must record the thoughts that are arising in his or her head.  Then from this, an accurate level of self-assessment can be performed, and feedback from others can be taken into consideration. 

    In respect to internal dialogue, the goal is for a person to think positive thoughts about him or herself at all times.  This is the ideal, however, and keep in mind that it is not possible to think positive about one’s self at all times; everyone is imperfect and prone to error at times.  But, as one’s positive feelings about one’s self increases, so do one’s confidence and self-esteem.  Confidence and positive self-esteem are the two major signs of a person living a healthy life.  Not only do confidence and high self-esteem make one’s life enjoyable, but confidence and high self-esteem are contagious and attract other things (jobs, friends, girlfriends, money etc…) into life that increase one’s level of enjoyment of life.

    So, what is your internal dialogue telling you today?  Are you lazy, selfish, and stupid?  If so, it’s time to change that thinking because change is always possible and everything you ever dreamed of (and more) can be achieved!

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