Soliloquizing is the ability to talk to yourself. And the critical word is “ability.” As you can train every ability, it also works for talking to yourself.
You might observe in your surroundings that most people criticize themselves when they procrastinate their to-do’s or haven’t changed their behavior yet. And this is perfectly fine if they change their behavior after having criticized themselves heavily for a considerable amount of time.
However, most people won’t change by self-criticism, no matter how hard the punishment is.
Nonetheless, as these people already talk to themselves — so why don’t they do it in a more goal-oriented way to improve their behavior and enhance their level of self-esteem and relationships?
The level of self-criticism in society is unconcealable. More precisely, the amount of people suffering from depression has reached record-heights. According to the World Health Organization (WHO):
- Depression is a common mental disorder. Globally, more than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression.
- Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a significant contributor to the disease’s overall global burden.
- More women are affected by depression than men.
One possible WHO approach to prevent depression includes school-based programs to enhance children and adolescents' positive thinking patterns. One factor that plays into this positive thinking is how we see and talk to ourselves.
An Easy Way to Rectify Your Motivation
Let us assume that you “must/have to” go to the gym, write an article, do the housework, etc.— what are your current feelings towards using these words? I can reassure you — you are not alone if you don’t let everything else drop to get into immediate and immense action.
One thing that always makes me do the complete opposite of what I planned to do is the usage of the words “must /have to.” I couldn’t do anything about it until I found out that I can trick my mind.
When I have to do something meaningful, I start using different words to motivate myself. And here is a vital side-note: these words differentiate between you and me. It requires a little practice to find out the right words for you. Some people prefer to use the following phrases:
“I am allowed to do…”
It is a powerful phrase as it leaves you the option to do whatever you want, and it still feels like a privilege to carry out the task.
“I will have done…”
For some people, this phrase can work wonders as it tricks the mind into believing that it has already done the task.
“I can do…”
This phrase is less famous as it is probably too optional and leaves you with too much freedom of choice.
“I am sure that I cannot do it…”
For a minority of people, this phrase works wonders too. They are motivated through mistrusting themselves. By trying out the different phrases, you get to know the structures in your head. And these structures were the starting point for researchers to identify the following:
We know that saying harmful things to others will destroy friendships. Do you think that talking harmful to yourself has a different effect?
And the next great advantage about trying out new phrases is that you can use them for other people. The majority of people are not aware of these facts, and you gain a significant edge by using the right language towards yourself and others. Motivating others is crucial if you think about child-education, employee-motivation, sports, etc.
How you can make soliloquizing even more useful:
- The phrases produce not only feelings within you but also movies in your head.
- Try to identify these movies, and play around with them. If you found the right film — make it a rule of thumb for other necessary actions.
- When I think about “I am allowed to go to the gym,” I see myself already in my sports dress. When using “I will have gone to the gym,” I see myself walking out of the gym — after doing an intense work-out.
- You can try to create the same motivating movies in the heads of the people around you using the equivalent phrases.
Improve Your Self-Esteem
A funny way to start your self-esteem improvement is to write down what positive things you said to yourself each evening. At first, this might sound interesting to you, but it will increase your awareness of how often you talk positively towards yourself.
The goal is to increase the percentage of positive reassurance towards yourself. Instead of complaining about why you failed (again) at a specific task, you could instead treat the situation like T. Eddison:
“I have not failed. I have just found 10.000 ways that won’t work.”
By changing the way you look at possible failures, you reduce stress and, again, change the underlying movies in your head. For instance, if you think of failures as feedback — you have to change your approach to get different feedback.
The next move is to monitor the way other people (around you) talk to themselves. Once you start to observe, you will find out that the level of self-criticism is unexpectedly high. Please be aware that other people talk to themselves differently. It is backed by the analysis of scientists too. People react to varying situations differently.
Nevertheless, by observing other people's self-talk, you can identify similar or divergent structures to improve or decrease your self-esteem. It would be best to write these structures too.
And as this is easier said than done — here are some more tips to improve the way you treat yourself.
Using soliloquizing to improve your self-esteem:
- Pay yourself at least three honest compliments each day. If you are on a high level of self-criticism, you might want to start with “Great that I made it out of bed.” It might sound funny — but even these small acts of kindness are helpful in the long-run.
- Hug yourself each morning and evening.
- Smile each time when you observe self-criticism. The self-criticism won’t last too long as you have identified an old and out-dated behavior and marked it with a smile.
- Please pay close attention to how other people treat and talk to themselves. You will gather valuable insights.
Enhance Your (work-)Relationships
Even though soliloquizing is mostly a more internal activity, it still has the potential to harm your relationships if you don’t pay attention. The way you talk to yourself has an immediate effect on how you receive input from the outside.
Let us assume you self-criticize yourself by using the following phrase:
“You, YOUR NAME, have done it badly, falsely, poorly, etc.”
The most important word here is the “YOU.” You talk to yourself as if you are a second person. When someone else criticizes you on your task, they use the same vocabulary as you do all the time — their words hit all the right buttons in you, and you feel even worse. In a love-relationship, pushing these buttons can lead to immense discussions or an ending of it.
On the other hand, if you use the following phrase:
“I have done something great,” you might have trouble receiving compliments.
And it is obvious why — the other party does not use your soliloquizing language! “You did a terrific job!” does not reach any vital button within yourself. It would be better if the other side would use an impressive structure: “If I were you — I would feel proud.”
As you are now aware of this, it would be best if you use it correctly. Besides, if you are not satisfied with the way you talk to others — you might want to ask yourself different questions. Scientists found out that there is significant room for improvement in the way we treat our minds by over-critical self-talk.
The good thing about soliloquizing is that nobody besides you hears what you are talking about. One approach can be that you ask yourself how you could improve your future encounters with others. It would be best if you could focus on the “how-to” instead of the “why did I.” The “why” won’t help you improve your relationship — it only shows why the relationship is in its current status. The “how-to” will help you identify possible improvement fields. It is more action-oriented and will get you into changing your next steps.
How you can make soliloquizing even more useful:
Contrary to the above-explained approaches, it requires talking to other people after an internal analysis:
- Make the other side aware of your self-criticism/self-complimenting pattern.
- Make fun of this fact, as the other side will indeed be surprised by your honesty and directness.
By mastering soliloquizing, you cannot only improve the way you talk to yourself but also:
- Get into immediate action through a new level of motivation,
- Improve your self-esteem by paying close attention to how you talk to yourself, and,
- Level up your relationship by speaking openly on how you prefer the feedback you receive.
I wish you great fun in experimenting with these techniques.
And as always — please enjoy the ride!
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