Carrying On Conversations With Me, Myself and I

I talk to myself. A lot.

I think it’s because “myself” is the only person who has no choice but to listen to me. As someone said, “You can’t ignore your inner self.” Well, you could drill down deep into psychology over that. But let’s not.

My point is that I think it’s just fine to talk to yourself. Yes, I’ve discussed it with myself and it’s OK. And we all do it. We do it to survive. It’s part of our self-awareness. Anytime you need to make a difficult decision, just analyzing it is a discussion with yourself. Our minds are always thinking, even if it’s just random bits of information formed into a dream.

I’m reminded of The Three Stooges bit where Moe tells the others to think of how to find a dog they lost. Curly makes a bunch of Curly noises and Moe says, “What’s the matter with you?” Curly replies, “I’m tryin’ to think but nothin’ happens.”

You know right away it’s funny because it’s hard to imagine nothing happening when trying to think. Something is always happening. It’s your stream of consciousness. You might not remember much or any of it and it might not be correct or useful but cognitive functions continue unabated. Maybe we should go the other way and try not to think. Good luck with that. Just try to not think about some specific topic and that’s all you’ll think about.

We’re likely doing a lot more talking to ourselves these days. Lord knows we don’t talk to each other. We email and text. I talk so little on my phone that I would probably give up my cell number except that I can’t. Its needed to receive texts. Brilliant.

The Cleveland Clinic suggests that talking to yourself can reduce stress, increase focus and boost self-esteem. It also says it’s all right to talk to yourself out loud such as in your car or while on a hike but probably not in a crowded elevator. “Muttering” is a term often associated with thinking out loud but in a voice likely indiscernible to others.

I’ve learned that saying something out loud, such as a name, helps me remember it. And since my hearing is not what it used to be, I often talk to myself out loud and in a raised voice

to be sure I hear myself. Catherine must ignore it because I’m sure she hears it. Someone should ask her.

There’s plenty of evidence that we talk to ourselves. People say things like, “So, I think to myself that maybe I should buy that car.” or “So, I ask myself, should I go?” or “What was I thinking?” Thinking is talking to yourself, analyzing a situation in search of a solution.

Catherine loves watching Jeopardy every day so I can’t help but see enough of it to make some observations. The successful contestants are adept a pressing their buttons quickly. But they also have to come up with the correct question for the stated answer.

I figure they must have a really efficient mental index that tells them they have the answer in their stored knowledge base. But the actual lookup takes almost the entire five seconds allowed to provide the answer. You can just sense the contestants discussing with themselves internally.

“I know this one! It’s in the geography section!” They stare off into the distance before suddenly blurting out the answer just in time.

You can literally have a moment of personal reflection by talking to yourself in a mirror. Remember practicing that eighth grade persuasive speech in front of the bathroom mirror? If you don’t want to look at yourself you can talk to a wall or even the ceiling while lying in bed.

Some of us use our pets as a proxy to talk to ourselves. 

“Duke, what should be done about inflation?” Your dog’s wagging tail may not provide an answer but at least you’re talking to a living being that looks at you while you talk. Your cat Fluffy will only look at you if you’re holding food or a laser pointer.

When talking to myself I sometimes subconsciously think I’m talking to another person such as a colleague or sibling. That way it seems more normal and not some psychosis. And if you imagine it’s someone you know, you might be more blunt about it.

“What? So I’m having a bad hair day. You don’t look so great yourself, you know.”

You can’t have someone else live your life. It’s up to you. You are your own best advocate and to accomplish this you may often need to talk to yourself to boost your confidence.

Imagine being stranded on an island in the middle of the ocean. Your loneliness would definitely have you talking to yourself, especially out loud so you can at least hear a human voice.

We exist on a tiny planet, an island in the vast universe. Despite our best efforts, we haven’t yet discovered life anywhere but here. We might be suffering from cosmic loneliness.

Maybe that’s why we talk to ourselves.

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