Say what! Self-Talk?

“All that counts in life is intention.” – Andrea Bocelli

Learning to talk about our important and sometimes vulnerable ideas and feelings is not a skill that we are taught formally. Most of us learn our styles of communication from our families of origin. Unfortunately, most of our families have not been taught this skill so it is not surprising that the majority of us need some help to convey our ideas and feelings before we can even learn how to communicate them to people who are important in our lives.

To compound this challenge we are not consciously aware of the skills that are needed to sustain, maintain, and honour our important intimate relationships. There are essential skills that need to be mastered to guarantee successful intimate relationships. These essential skills demand a certain level of understanding of self and the dynamics of communication.

In our society today, intimate relationships are a challenge at the best of times. Most of us want to be involved in a rewarding and rich intimate relationship because it plays a major role in feeling happy about ourselves. It is a good feeling to feel understood and accepted for who we are. Being skilled in sharing, exploring, or stating our intimate feelings, is terribly important if we want the relationship to be successful.

One of the basic skills is learning the dynamics inherent in the give and take of communication. To talk with someone rather than talk at someone is critical in understanding the dynamics of communication. An example would be that you are telling someone about something that is important to you and you don’t check-in to make sure that person has heard, understood, and hopefully accepted the importance of what you have been talking about. To do this you need to be clear yourself about what is the most important piece of this information that you want them to accept and understand. Only then can you elaborate on the important information.

Unfortunately, most of us are not aware of needing to highlight the most important piece of information that we need to share for understanding. Without this articulation we find ourselves in constant conflict. We may perceive someone as being disrespectful, obtuse, or maybe even callous. This situation is your typical foundation for a serious misunderstanding that may lead to a severe disagreement where dirty fighting will take place because of the need to protect hurt feelings. It is a snowball effect that can be eliminated in your communication if it is understood that you identify the important information that you want to give someone and why it is important to you. Then you have a better chance of convincing that person this is important to them too, if for no other reason, it is important to you. From this understanding the behaviours that follow are more respectful and rewarding.

There are more essential skills that will determine the level of success in an intimate relationship. All of these skills are based on the idea that communication with self comes first before communicating with someone important to you. If you are clear about what you are feeling and can understand the whys of it, then you have the groundwork done to begin the communication with someone important in your life. The process of creating a congruency of ideas and feelings is essential in having a successful and rewarding intimate relationship.

The most important idea is to “talk” to yourself before you talk to someone important. By talking to yourself, you try to understand the feelings that come with the idea you want accepted by that important someone. If you need to talk out loud, then by all means go for it! There are no rules and judgements about talking to yourself. It is no different than talking out loud to walk yourself through some difficult instructions or absorbing painful feelings. Believe it or not, self-talk whether it is out loud or to yourself is the most powerful tool you have in your communication toolbox.

Self-talk starts when we begin to have formal language around the age of 3. This skill becomes the foundation of learning for everything we learn about ourselves, our world, and the world of others. This skill is used in dealing with strong feelings, managing the brain with depressed thoughts, and the list goes on and on. There are other skills needed but self-talk is the skill that will determine success or failure in communicating with confidence.

The more I am able to use self-talk, the more I learn about myself, and with this comes a building of self-confidence. When I talk to myself I advertently or inadvertently learn about my intent, which is crucial in my success. I learn about how my feelings are important in understanding everything in my emotional-physical world.

This profound self-awareness of our feelings naturally develops our self-confidence. The more I am self-aware about my feelings the more self-confident I become. This translates into more and more success in communicating with others, who also witness this self-confidence.

What is important to understand about self-talk, is the biological exercise of bringing the unconscious to the conscious level of activity. There is a century old myth that humans use only 10% of their brain and therefore don’t reach their full potential. In essence, it is fair to say that only 10% of awareness is conscious and the rest is unconscious. Let me explain. The brain is constantly absorbing information but only a small fraction is actually used at the conscious level of awareness. An example would be the brain calculating the distance and speed of an oncoming ball that is expected to be captured by a catcher’s mitt while playing baseball. There is no conscious awareness because there is no time to consciously calculate the event. The brain knows what it is doing and if it has had enough experience, it will do what it does best and respond with success.

Communication between humans is really no different. In one day I may consciously respond to events 10% of the time and the rest will be unconscious. When I have played baseball for 2 hours or focused consciously for 2 hours, I am physically and emotionally drained. The science for this is complex, but what needs to be understood, is that the brain has been in training since birth. Every emotion stimulates development in the brain and it is never ending. When I say emotion, I am talking about the feeling of catching the ball in my mitt or completing a conversation where I believe the person I am communicating with is accepting me. Both emotions are self-confidence building. Both are biological in nature and to separate them is to buy into the myth that feelings are separate from behaviours.

Each brain is unique because it comes with a unique biological makeup and unique life experiences that have developed the brain’s biology. Self-talk is an incredible conduit between the unconscious and conscious awareness. The more we are self-aware of the meaning of our feelings, the more we build self-confidence. Having developed the training Gut Factor that supports the conscious self-awareness of social-emotional challenges, the more I learn how the brain has unconscious information that sometimes is critical, if it were available at the conscious level of awareness.

Self-talk is the tool, skill, and conduit to bridge the unconscious to the conscious. Complex dynamics like intent, fear, and confusion are only the tip of the iceberg, when understanding emotional communication. The most important idea in self-talk is that the more I am self-aware, the more I am self-confident.

If you have questions or want to know more about communicating with confidence contact me at and I will do my very best to answer your questions and provide you with more information.


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