In most cases, I am an advocate of listening over talking. I find my relationships are much stronger when I can focus on listening to others versus focusing on what I am going to say in response. There is one instance though that I am learning the importance of talking over listening and that is when I have dialog with myself.
Just recently, one of my blog subscribers, Pat, sent me an inspiring blog post from Jon Gordon entitled “The Best Advice I’ve Ever Heard”. In the post, he shares an inspiring story of Dr. James Gills, a man in his fifties, who completed two triathlons back to back not just once, but six times. When asked how he did it, he shared some very wise words. He said “I’ve learned to talk to myself instead of listen to myself.” In the blog post he continued, “If I listen to myself, I hear all the reasons why I should give up. I hear that I’m too tired-too old-too weak to make it. But if I talk to myself, I can give myself the encouragement and words I need to hear to keep running and finish the race.” It’s the same way with life.
I have been putting some effort the past few weeks into paying attention to the things that I say to myself, the things that pop into my mind throughout my day. Here are some of the common themes and what I have done to start talking to myself instead of listen.
“I am tired!” I found this to pop into my head on a regular basis, even when I am not really all that tired. Every time this thought would pop into my head, I would start to feel more tired. Once I started to recognize this, I would ask myself if I was really tired. If I was, I would prioritize some rest, but many times I realized I was fine. I started to talk to myself by telling myself that I am fine, that I am not tired, that I have plenty of energy for my day.
“I don’t have enough time to get things done!” Well this is the truth, right? There never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done. What I found though is that when this thought popped into my head it would drag me down, it would make me feel like a failure. The thought that I have been trying to replace it with is two-fold. First, I have been reminding myself of all of the things that I have accomplished in that day, which is a ton! Second, I have been reminding myself that the time I have “is what it is” and to use the time that I do have, the best I can. Essentially, I tell myself that I am doing great and to keep going!
“Others think poorly of me and are unhappy with me.” In our busy lives we have periods of time when we don’t see our family and friends as much as we would like. It is during these times of absence that thought pop into my head that others are displeased with me. As I write this, it sounds so silly, but the thoughts do pop into my mind. I have to remind myself that these thoughts are not founded in truth, but if the thought will not go away, I take action. I learned a while back that the best way to remove a fear is to take action against it. If I am fearful that someone is unhappy with me, I take action and give them a call. They are usually as happy to hear from me as I am to call and talk to them. I quickly find out that the thoughts that had popped into my head were completely wrong.
Well, you have just gotten a glimpse of my thought life, but I imagine if you start to pay attention, you will find certain thoughts that pop into your mind on a regular basis. Start to recognize them, ask yourself if they are making you feel better or worse, make an effort to refute them, and start talking positive things into your mind and life.
Pat, thanks for the article you sent me which helped me tremendously, and will now help so many more.
Here’s to talking to ourselves more and filling our minds with positive, life-giving thoughts!