Monday, July 30, 2012

Words of Wisdom: Talk to Yourself

Talk to Yourself
Lia Vosti

If someone talked to you the way you talk to yourself, would you still be their friend?

We often consider and pass judgment on how we talk to other people, and vise versa, but we rarely reflect on how we talk to ourselves.  

One of my favorite quotes is, “Take care of yourself. You never know when the world will need you” (Rabbi Hillel). So what does this have to do with talking to ourselves? In the words of C. S. Lewis, “You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” Taking care of yourself does not just mean staying in physically good shape. You have a mind, a body, and a soul. Our thoughts and our words are products of our minds, and they express our souls. And the state of our minds and our souls directly affect your bodies. I’m sure you’ve heard of the countless negative effects of stress on the human body ranging from emotional turmoil to physical illness. But have you ever stopped to consider that we might have the power to control or at least better manage all of this? Talking to yourself (really, I mean talking to yourself!) is one simple to empower anyone to enhance his or her emotional and physical health.

 We are human beings. We have a brain that allows us not only to form thoughts, but to turn those thoughts into words in our minds and then to create sounds that allows us to audibly communicate. Of course, speech evolved as a means of communication with other people. But I feel it has other hidden uses.  

Talk to yourself.   Yes, do it, out loud, and choose your words carefully.  Be kind to yourself.  Encourage yourself.  Challenge yourself.  Above all, be honest with yourself.  

It’s easy!  First, just stand in front of a mirror and look yourself in the eyes and see how it feels.  Eye contact speaks volumes about a person – their confidence, their heart. Have you ever thought about what people see when they look in your eyes? Well, have you ever looked in your own eyes? Here in the United States, most people see their reflection in a mirror numerous times in any given day. But each of those times usually consists of getting ready in the morning, checking your outfit, checking your outfit again, checking out your hair, your makeup, and whatnot.  So, this time, don’t comb your hair or brush your teeth or any of the other mundane things you do at the mirror.  Focus.  Who is that person staring back at me?  Once you’re comfortable with your reflection, tell yourself (out loud, really) what you feel, what you like, what you miss, who you miss, etc.  Talk to your body; listen to your soul.  

We all need cheerleaders at times, and looking yourself in the eyes and saying “I can do this” can be the most raw, pure, and perfect form of encouragement.  Why?  Because it was me, the only person who knew what it felt like to be in my body and mind in that moment, telling me that I could do it.  If you can’t believe yourself, who can you believe?  

Talk to yourself.  And listen, carefully. If you tell yourself you should and can do something, then do it.  Success will begin a personal pattern of establishing a plan and getting things done.  Be bold but also be honest, otherwise you’ll fall into a sometimes-this-works-and-sometimes-it-does-not trap, which can be counterproductive.

Talk to yourself because there need not be any secrets – really, who’s going to hear you?   There is no one to impress. No one will judge you. You can be pathetic, or sad, or jittery with excitement. It’s just you talking to you and you listening to you. 

So give it a try! What have you got to lose? It may help you, it may heal you, it may teach you, and it may change you.   Talk to yourself because you can.  You may be surprised by what you have to say, and amazed at what you hear and discover about yourself!

The Words of Wisdom Column, Lia Vosti:
Lia Vosti is an undergraduate at Santa Clara University, majoring in Bioengineering. Growing up together, her words always made the most obscure situations crisp and clear. She is the up and coming Renaissance woman, able to give homely advise after a day in the lab, and wise beyond her years.  

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