Self-talk is what psychologists refer to as the continual mental dialog you have with yourself. It can serve many purposes. It helps to release stress, evaluate potential threats, solve problems, make decisions, form objective judgments, generate positive emotions and behaviors, and construct and reinforce realistic self-beliefs. Simply stated, sometimes talking to yourself (either silently or out loud) can help you work things out.
“The most influential and frequent voice you hear is your inner-voice. It can work in your favor or against you, depending on what you listen to and act upon.” –Maddy Malhotra
Unfortunately, for many people, their self-talk is fueled by the internal voice of a brutal critic or what psychologist Eugene Sagan calls the pathological critic – the negative inner voice that attacks and judges you. It might sound like your own voice or your mother, father or other influential person in your life. It’s a voice you are so familiar with that you hardly even notice or question it, and consequently find it to be very believable. It sounds completely true when the voice says how inadequate, weak, stupid or unlucky you are.
You can tell your pathological critic is in control when you…
Dr. Linaman is a psychologist and executive coach providing counseling and professional development services to individuals, couples, work teams and organizations.