You have a constant companion. It sticks with you, staying even closer than your shadow and you cannot shake it loose.
This constant companion is your mental chatter. Another name for it is your internal monologue. It begins the moment you open your eyes in the morning and carries on until you close your eyes at night.
More often than you’d like, this chatter prevents you from drifting off to sleep. And when you finally do doze off, it may well make that rest fitful. Some companion.
Think about what happens when you wake up. Does your daily mental chatter go something like this?
“Drat! There’s that alarm again. I don’t want to get up. It’s going to be another horrible day.”...“Now I have to go to the stupid management meeting. Not that the boss will actually listen to me. He will listen to Barbra.
Always does. Not me. I can’t do anything right around here.”…“Lunchtime… Let’s get the hell out of here. Forget inviting Pamella, she’s been ignoring my e-mails all day. She probably doesn’t like me.”…
When you look at your mental chatter, you will notice that it is an unending stream of noise. But you will also discover that much of it is putting you down, either directly or, more subtly, by having you compare yourself unfavorably to others.
And it is exhausting you by telling you all the things you have to do that you probably will not be able to.
Over time, those negative judgments start to accumulate.
Eventually, they form a huge barrier squarely in front of you on the path to your ideal life. Each individual negative thought is of no particular significance. But it leaves a tiny mark — and those tiny marks accumulate. You have been enduring a constant stream of mental chatter for years.
They have imprisoned you in a wall that you never even realized you were building. Even if, at times, you were dimly aware of your tendency toward negativity, you probably dismissed your thoughts as unimportant or as well-deserved criticism. And you were partially correct.
Each individual negative thought is inconsequential. But when taken together, they form a massive structure.
That’s where you live now — in this “reality” you’ve created. Try being quiet enough to note your mental chatter, negative or positive throughout the day.
The thoughts will most likely fall into these categories; Criticism of others, trying to run yourself down or feelings of inadequacy. Pay close attention to how your emotional state is tied to it. You might feel sad, overwhelmed, fearful, or dissatisfied. But you might also feel confident, peaceful, or grateful.
Eventually, you will get to the point where you are constantly aware of your mental chatter. And you will find that this awareness changes it — making it less able to take your thinking down a destructive path.
This gives you much needed control. You get to decide for yourself whether you are going to build your reality on the foundation of a negative judgment… or not.
The good news is that once you become aware of what you have unconsciously allowed to happen, you can fix it! In this case, you are both doctor and patient, so first you have to know how bad the “disease” is before you can treat it.
You cannot eliminate your mental chatter but you CAN shape it and channel it. Make it your friend, not of your enemy.
Nyagapfizi Emmanuel is a Management Information Systems manager