Reflection: The Art of Talking to The Self

“Of course, I talk to myself.
Sometimes I need expert advice.”
— Unknown

I read the quote above somewhere and it stuck to me. Clearly one of the best people to take advice from is ourselves – which we often avoid.

Most of you by now must have known I extensively use ‘Freewriting‘ as a medium to ideate, think and even find it therapeutic. With the quote above, I was wondering whether I was simply documenting my inner monologue or even a dialogue on paper or a word document.

I read about an interesting idea proposed by Tal Ben-Shahar called ‘110-year old you’ exercise. Tal suggests imagining ourselves meet our future 110-year old self and talk to them. People reported remarkable improvements – like cancer patients radically changing their lives. Tal notes that it is not that people got more information, but they tapped into their inner wisdom during this imaginary conversation.

Nobody can deny that we constantly talk to ourselves. That’s how we think. We have our inner dialogues and conversations. If we are what we think, then thoughts are but words in our head.

Wisdom is already within us. We just have to listen. Here are few tips to help you have such a meaningful self-dialogue.

  • Prayer: I have come to believe that the ancient art of prayer is a form of an internal dialogue or self conversation. It is like talking to a close friend – loving and caring – He could be friend or a philosopher, a guide or a guru, or even a therapist. In ‘Prayer’ we call Him, God. His personality is so flexible, anyone can make him to be any one they want and as personal they want him to be. He is simply there – authentic, pure and all accepting. Psychologically I believe it a wonderful exercise.
  • Freewriting: The concept of writing as thinking on paper and a conversation with oneself is something that I could recommend to anyone on any day. It can be meditative and could even prove to be a brainstorming tool.
  • Questioning: I learnt this from Mark Forster. He even wrote an entire book using this technique. Mark recommends a Q&A conversation between our present self and our future self. I was using this technique very sparingly,

I have learnt few other techniques to facilitate self-conversation. Though personally I am yet to get a hang of it, I felt it was worth recommending.

  • Walking Meditation: It has become legendary of Steve Jobs taking his long walking strolls across his neighbourhood. Steve later mentions, in one of his later interviews, that his long walks in the evening helped in consolidate and clarify a lot of concepts and ideas.
  • Think Room: I read about this CEO of a large corporation who shuts himself from everything, every week for an hour – simply to spend time thinking. Bill Gates’ famous ‘Think Week’ is a testimonial to find your own sanctuary of thinking. Though I am yet to find such a luxurious position, but I hope to experiment it soon. 

I always believed that guru is not someone who throws us advices and sagely aphorisms. But guru is someone who helps you find it (the wisdom) within you.

I hope you’ll find your wisdom within you!

Request: If you find any of those ideas useful and took time to experiment with it (which I really hope you do), I kindly request you to share it with us, by leaving a comment below.

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