As promised, this month we are deep diving into What to Say When You Talk to Your Self by Shad Helmstetter. You may have some of the same questions that I had.
What is self-talk? Does self-talk really work? Isn’t this self-talk stuff a little hippie woo woo? Let’s get into it.
What is self-talk?
In What to Say, Dr. Helmstetter defines self-talk as a way to override our past negative programming by erasing or replacing it with conscious, positive new directions.
“With Self-Talk, we have a way to give new directions to our subconscious minds by talking to ourselves in a different way, consciously reprogramming our internal control centers with words and statements which are more effective, more helpful to every part of us that we need to improve,” writes Helmstetter.
Here’s the deal, we all talk to ourselves. It may be silent, inside our own heads. It may be audible, that mumbling while driving to work. For some of us, self-talk is an out loud, intentional, back and forth conversation.
Since we all have this ongoing monologue, we may as well learn how to speak in a way that is life giving and energizing.
Does self-talk work?
At the risk of aging myself, I’ll tell you that when I hear the words “positive self-talk,” I immediately think of that Stuart Smalley sketch on Saturday Night Live. Come on, say it with me, “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me.”
Though frequently mocked, self-talk, done the right way, does work. According to our book, self-talk works even if you don’t believe in it.
Helmstetter tells the story of a married couple wherein the husband is showing all the signs that he plans to leave the relationship. The couple also has financial problems.
The wife listens to tapes on improving personal relationships, self-esteem, goal-setting and personal responsibility. And yes, I am referring to cassette tapes. Remember, this book is an old school read.
The husband can hear the tapes but showed no interest. In time the couple noticed that they were arguing less. They began to make new plans for their future. They went from the brink of divorce to working together again.
“Her Self-Talk had the same effect on him as it did on her!” writes Helmstetter. “It made no difference whether he believed in the Self-Talk or not–his subconscious mind didn’t care!–it just acted on the new information he was subconsciously programming in.
Isn’t this self-talk stuff a little hippie woo woo?
Yes. And No. Don’t you hate yes/no answers? If you’re asking if self-talk is some pie-in-the-sky, unfounded, out-of-this-world method for finding inner peace, then No. Self-talk is not hippie woo woo. No offense meant for any hippies in the audience.
If you are asking if self-talk will change the way you view yourself and the world around, and make you think differently than most of the people you encounter, and inspire you to live differently, then Yes. Bring on the hippie. Bring on the woo woo.
Old School Readers: What do you say when you talk to your self? What are your tips for talking to yourself in a way that is life giving (and not soul crushing)? Leave a comment below.