Why to talk to yourself

This blog is called Marshallogue because it’s the conversation I have with myself, like a monologue… but not. I’m a big proponent of these internal conversations, and here’s why:

  1. Talk to yourself to stay curious. No one else can question the world around you as incessantly as you can. But if you’re only questioning without struggling to respond, the questions aren’t worth much. Got to have the whole conversation.
  2. Talk to yourself to make your thoughts concrete. Some people think that without any form of language, we can’t think. I tend to agree. Language defines ideas in our mind. It lets us manipulate them. You might think you know what you think, but thinking is too slippery to know for sure. You have to talk it out. You have to assign specific value and structure to your thoughts.
  3. Talk to yourself to entertain different perspectives.Sometimes, instead of making a decision, you’ll want to consider two or more opposing ideas at the same time. You can only do that by splitting your mind into two separate personalities, or at least two separate positions, and debating back and forth.
  4. Talk to yourself to reflect on the past. I’ve found that if I remember and keep it in one stream of consciousness, I’m not able to recall as many details. If I bounce around, though, between different lenses, then I’m able to take in a much more vivid picture of the past. I’m able to ask different questions, which probing deeper into the experience.
  5. Talk to yourself to plan for the future. Part of planning involves suspending judgment on what might happen. As I already said, you can only do that by splitting your internal thoughts into a conversation and then weighing the alternatives against one another.
  6. Talk to yourself to interpret people. Pick up any novel, and you’ll notice sections within the dialog where the author shares thoughts and feelings from the scene. These are called “inner responses.” They mimic what our minds actually do in real life when someone’s talking. It’s how we understand people.
  7. Talk to yourself to enjoy your own company. There’s a huge difference between being alone and being lonely. In one, your thoughts can keep you company. They can take you anywhere. In the other, your thoughts collapse on themselves. You can guess which I prefer.

Whether or not you talk out loud is another matter. But either way, definitely keep the conversation flowing.