I had an important conversation yesterday. It was challenging, insightful, and completely absorbing. By the end of it, I had a solution to a problem that had been bothering me all day and I felt a weight disappear from my shoulders.
The conversation took place in my shower and it was entirely in my head.
There’s a GIF that I absolutely love. It’s of basketball player Alonzo Mourning sitting on the bench at a game having a conversation in his head. I love it because you can ‘read his mind’ by his facial expressions alone. There is disappointment, a revelation, then acceptance, and all of this happens in a matter of seconds.
If you’re an introvert, your internal dialogue is likely to be running hot all of the time. You might be rehearsing conversations you’re anticipating, brainstorming ideas for a project, solving a personal problem or perhaps simply daydreaming.
Liz Fosslien and Mollie West, in their article ‘6 Illustrations That Show What It’s Like in an Introvert’s Head’ for Quiet Revolution, describe the thinking process for introverts;
As introverts are thinking, they reach back into long-term memory to locate information. An introvert will often compare old and new experiences when making a decision, which slows the processing down but leads to carefully thought-out decisions.This means that introverts have an active dialogue with themselves and usually walk around with many thoughts in their minds.
There’s been a surge in interest in recent years about the benefits of mindfulness. I don’t question the benefits when it comes to helping manage anxiety and depression. An internal dialogue can easily turn into negative self-talk. Learning how to steer your mind away from that is an important skill.
Like a lot of people, I find mindfulness difficult because I find it almost impossible to reign my mind in. It’s something you need to practice, a lot. The thing is, I like to wander off and have a chat with myself. Some of my best creative work has come out of a wandering mind, especially in those moments as you’re drifting off to sleep. You’re still chatting with yourself, and then, there it is. The idea. The one you’ve been waiting for.
To me, mindfulness feels like being told to stay in one room, when all I want to do is explore the whole house. I want to understand the context in which the room exists in. An internal dialogue is my way of exploring the house.
To date, my internal dialogue has remained just that, internal. Perhaps one day I will have my conversations with myself out loud. My hope is that when people look and wonder who I’m talking to, they’ll also notice how shiny and full of volume my hair is.
That’s the thing about talking to yourself in the shower – there’s plenty of time for deep conditioning.
Over to you! How do you feel about your own internal dialogue or self-talk? Feel free to share in the comments below.