Have a Word with Yourself
Anyone with an inner dialogue, talks to themselves. Many of us argue with ourselves too. Crazy? Nah. It's normal. It's just conflicting thoughts and feelings happening at the same time. How does this happen? Well, we all have different parts and pieces of ourselves - and they all have different opinions.
Join Tina today as she talks about having a team meeting - with herself - and all the parts of who she is.
We'll discuss this all and more as we learn how to Have a Word with Yourself
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So, I mentioned in the last episode that I talk to myself. A lot of people do. Anyone with an inner dialogue speaks to themselves. Most people refer to them as thoughts. I get that. But sometimes , ok a lot of time, my thoughts conflict and so then I argue with myself. I do pros and cons lists with myself. I can have a debate with myself, defending both sides.
And here’s the shocker, I’m not crazy. I don’t care what my husband, children, extended family, friends, or anyone else says. I’m not.
And if you’re laughing uncomfortably at anything I’ve just talked about, because it was familiar to you, don’t worry, you aren’t crazy either.
The majority of us talk to ourselves. Even if we call them thoughts. And today, I wanted to talk a little bit more about how we talk to ourselves, and I mean HOW. Like let’s make this a little bit more focused and intentional.
Now if you think this is where I’m gonna say you have to talk nicely and say nice things and be motivating and encouraging, well isn’t that sweet. And it might work just fine if there were two parts of me. One that was nice and sweet and able to just say nice things, and another part that would let me say it.
But honey, I’m a whole mosaic up in here, in my head. There are so many parts of me, I’m still getting introduced to those only now showing up to the party.
But here is something I’ve been working on for a long long time. Welcoming them all to the table.
And I’ll tell you why I specifically used the word table. Because although I like to go through my day doing what I do, thinking what I think and feeling what I feel… sometimes the thoughts and feelings do start conflicting and that causes some interruptions in my day. I get distracted by them and I start getting caught up in them.
So, I’ve been working on calling all the parts of me to the table for a meeting.
No, do not do this at home in the dining room unless you are home alone. The family starts getting worried. It’s not fair to make them worry like that… but it is funny.
Anyways, with the goal of loving me, all of me, I invite everyone to the table for a meeting and it starts like this:
Thanks, everyone, for taking the time to be here. I want you all to feel welcome, because I want to hear from you all, as your input is very much valued. You will all be given a chance to speak, so please wait your turn. Please be genuine, honest, and please, be as reasonable as possible.
And with that, a couple parts of me already have an issue and want to leave. The scared me doesn’t want to be genuine and honest. The excited me and the bossy me do not want to wait my turn. And the skeptical diva me, cannot believe they’ve just been asked to be reasonable. Like when have I ever not been reasonable?
And that is another reason you don’t want anyone home when you have this meeting. Because if I asked that question with my husband or children in earshot, they’d just come out with a list. Which a few parts of me just doesn’t want to hear.
And they are at the table too. If in my imagination I could stop and picture lots of characters sitting around the table, I’d see an emotional sentimental me, a tough protective me (who is annoyed with the sentimental me), a fun child-like me, a smart intellectual me (who thinks the child-like me is irresponsible), a scared me (who didn’t even want to come to the table), and me that loves to make podcasts, and a me that wants to know who the hell we think we are having a podcast. And so so many more.
And you’re either really relating now or drafting an email of concern to anyone who may have the courage to check on me.
But if you’re relating by any chance, can you see why it is that we argue with ourselves? Can you see why we have conflicting thoughts and feelings?
It’s because the whole of us is made up of so many parts, that there is bound to be opposing thoughts, feelings, and opinions within them.
But I think this is where we often start to destroy, get rid of or silence some of who we are, in hopes that that could bring some peace of mind. Peace IN our mind.
But peace will never be the result of trying to deny parts of who you are. Because then you wouldn’t be whole. And if you don’t feel whole, you won’t feel content.
The first order of business at the table then would be to establish the fact that WE all come from different perspectives here and all of them matter.
This is accepting that conflicting thoughts and feelings, can co-exist.
We can be excited to get a puppy and also hate the house training stage and be upset about another pair of shoes chewed into pulp.
We can be exhausted and still want to watch TV all night long.
We can be over the moon at getting a new job and dread going back to work.
We can love our husband and know that he annoys us more than anyone else on this planet.
We can love someone who has hurt us deeply.
It’s not always a one or another type of thought or feeling. It can be one AND another at the same time.
It’s actually quite a common experience to have conflicting thoughts and feelings happening at the same time. And that comes from the different parts of you who have different thoughts and feelings about different things.
You are not crazy if you LOVE and HATE camping. Many people do.
You are not crazy if you LOVE and HATE going shopping.
I mean, I think it’s crazy to love shopping, but studies show, it’s actually not. It’s just a very strong, opinionated, dominating part of me who hates shopping. And apparently the others don’t want to argue about it and just let them have their way.
Fine. All good. WE don’t shop if WE don’t have to. Pretty much agreed on that.
But there are areas we don’t agree on. But I’m trying now not to tell them to shut up and learn to get along. I’m calling these meetings saying put that topic on the agenda. We are gonna discuss it as a group.
And at the end we might still disagree. But everyone was heard and valued for their perspective, for their logic of why they think or feel the way they do.
So, what about when you’re disagreeing about things like your worth. When you’re at the table and someone says, “you know what, I feel like a million bucks today. I love this outfit, I feel confident and I think I’m really ready to take on that project I’ve been thinking about. I think I’ll do great”.
Yep, that’s right. Confident Tina just get those words out of her mouth when Tina’s memory, who is usually sleeping on the job wakes up and says, “guess what I remember. All the times before when you tried and failed. Want to go over that list now? Or did you want to wait until you are trying to fall asleep tonight. I know I have your attention then”. And scared Tina says, “why in the world did you tell her we were meeting today? You know I can’t think of a new project when she’s at the meeting”. And protective Tina chimes in saying, “yep, we are scraping the project. Too much risk involved. And while we are at, go change. You do not have the height to pull off that shirt”.
And I am aware that some of that sounds silly. But I have to admit and maybe you will too, it happens like that.
We have a thought… and then we have several more to talk us out of it.
And again, that’s not us having any kind of serious problem in our thinking, it’s us being aware that there are different sides to us that think and feel differently.
I meet people who have sought out therapy just because they feel like they don’t know who they are. Because they think they do, but then think they don’t. It can feel scary and unsettling, but it is very often that you are just getting to know and becoming more aware of the different parts of you.
But again, we might get to know a part that we don’t particularly love hearing from. So, we try to silence them. Then they become a needy, demanding part of us. Acting out for attention because we are working so hard to ignore them, and they will not be ignored. Because I am sure the stubborn parts of us work with them.
But that’s the thing when we are determined to live well and live whole, we need to learn to live with all the parts of us, and love them all. Allowing them all to pull up to the table is like a buy one get one free kind of deal.
But loving them all, and allowing for them all, is not the same as giving them all the reigns.
If you need another way of looking at it, maybe think of it like this. We love our kids, no matter what. We love them. But we aren’t taking our young children and making them the head of the family. They aren’t going to be given the finances to handle, they won’t be the sole decision makers for the family, they aren’t going to be the ones giving us a ride anywhere. They matter. Their thoughts and feelings matter. Because we love them. But we don’t put them in charge.
Do you know what I’m saying?
When our kids need it, we sit them down and have a chat. We listen to them and where they are coming from. We take their opinions into account. We try to have perspective into why they are thinking or feeling what they are experiencing. We have empathy. Even if we don’t agree with them. We still love them. Even if they are dead wrong and we need to discipline them. We still love them. We don’t try to silence them, and we don’t get rid of them.
So that part of you who doesn’t say the greatest things to you, who doesn’t throw the greatest thoughts and feelings your way, you let them pull up to the table anyways. And you have a chat. With love and empathy.
I’ve sat at the table with a part of me who didn’t feel very good. She wasn’t confident. She didn’t feel hopeful. She didn’t see any kind of a future. She was sure she was nothing but a failure. She was aware of all the parts who thought they could make it, and she thought they were all frauds. She also couldn’t believe she was finally at the table, because I had tried to make her go away for a long time.
But when she got there and I took a good look at her, she wasn’t someone I didn’t like. She was someone that I loved, who really really needed to know that.
But she also needed boundaries. Because as much as I tried to silence her, she would try to just get louder. Telling me to quit my job, quit trying to be a mom, quit trying to be a wife. Quit trying altogether. Because it would be pointless and more hurtful in the end to have stayed in the race and tried my hardest and failed anyways.
Probably the last time she yelled all this at me, was when I was home on the couch all alone after surgery in 2020. Husband at work. Kids away. Neck with a huge scar.
I had just survived having a big surgery to remove cancer. I lived. I made it. But I wasn’t at work. I had no one there to tell me I was going to be ok. People came in and out and they were wonderful to me. But no matter how long I wanted, my mom wasn’t coming.
We buried her. Only months before this. And I needed her. I really needed her. All the parts of me needed her. Scared Tina. Sad Tina. Grieving Tina. Discouraged Tina. Lonely Tina.
I had a lot of parts with strong feelings taking the reins. I didn’t have a table then to pull them up to and have a good meeting with. I had an auditorium. And they all mingled as they pleased and all spoke at the same time, taking turns using a mic to be the loudest. And a few of them just kept hogging the mic.
It was a dark and lonely time. And you have to wonder how I could be lonely with all those parts hanging out. But we were all doing our own thing. We hadn’t learned to come together, respectfully, with empathy for one another.
Now, we schedule meetings when we need to get things sorted out.
And the ones I’ve tried to silence and get rid of, they are welcome. But again, I said with boundaries.
And that’s as easy as opening the meeting the same way I said it earlier and taking another little bit on to the end.
Thanks, everyone, for taking the time to be here. I want you all to feel welcome, because I want to hear from you all, as your input is very much valued. You will all be given a chance to speak, so please wait your turn. Please be genuine, honest, and please, be as reasonable as possible…
I will listen to everything you have to say, but that doesn’t mean I will agree with it or obey it.
And isn’t that what we all want and need? To have a voice and be heard.
It goes beyond what we want and need. It’s what we deserve.
All of us. All the parts of us.
Hearing someone out is an act of love and respect. You don’t have to agree. You don’t have to obey their unreasonable demands.
Allowing all of you to have a voice is an act of love and respect. You don’t have to agree with all your thoughts and feelings. You don’t have to follow along with what they are telling you.
But like you would with your child, listen to them. Just don’t go making them in charge of the whole family.
You are in charge. And like a good meeting facilitator, you listen, have empathy, make sure all are welcome and feel valued and respected. And you make sure everyone has a seat and all the pieces of you have a voice. But you stay in charge. You keep order.
And honestly, that is sometimes easier said than done. I know. Cause at least a couple of me are jerks.
But always end your meeting on a good note too.
Saying thanks for being here with me. I am grateful for you all and the viewpoints you bring to the table. Thank you for taking care of me, the best way you see fit from your own perspectives.
You all have value. You are all worthy. And I truly love you… to pieces.
If you’ve been arguing with yourself… don’t worry. It’s normal. If you’ve been having conflicting thoughts and feelings… don’t worry. Still normal.
But if you’ve been working really hard to get certain thoughts or feelings to go away, could you maybe consider just giving them a seat at the table, and listening, and extending some love and compassion? Just hear them. You don’t have to agree. You don’t have to obey. Just give them a voice and let them be heard.
And then say thank you. Love yourself. All of who you are. Love all the bits and pieces that make you, you.
I’ll meet you back here next time. Where you too will be welcome to pull up to my table, and feel valued and welcomed. If you’re not too nervous to sit at my table. It’s crowded. But it’s fun.
Until next time, good-bye for now, and we’ll speak again soon.