Be a Better You in 365 Days Challenge – Day 40 What is Your Inner Dialogue?

This is Day40 of How to Be a Better Person in 365 Days (365 Challenge) October 2011 Challenge. View list of tasks: 365 Challenge Overview

Hey everyone! Welcome to Day 40 of the 365 Challenge!

Yesterday, Day 39 we talked about facing adversity and how to stay positive by, connecting with friends and family; writing in a journal, having a filtering system to protect ourselves against negativity and surrounding ourselves with positive like-minded individuals; doing some fitness time, feeding our minds, being grateful and volunteering.

Today is an extremely important exercise in our journey toward higher consciousness. Today we’re going to gain awareness of our inner dialogue.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”
—Lao-Tze

What is our inner dialogue? Our inner dialogue, or self-talk, refers to the conversation you have with yourself. Your thoughts. Your thinking process. What’s running inside your head the whole time.

For example, say you’re faced with a problem. In just a snap of 30 seconds, all these may be going through your mind: “Oh great, not again. Why am I always facing this?” “Let’s focus here. What can I do to fix this thing?” “I wonder if Friend X can help me with this. Maybe he will. Maybe he won’t because he’s too busy.” “I could have avoided this if I did X and Y. Sigh.” “I feel like going to sleep. Let’s do this tomorrow.”

Your self-talk is all the “talking” and “conversing” you do with yourself, inside your mind, whether it’s on an ongoing basis, before you take action or make a decision. Your self-talk makes up your inner reality. I’ve mentioned a few times that your external reality is an extension of your inner reality. Without even exploring your self-talk yet, you can guess what’s going on the inside just by looking out in your life. If you’re one who keeps wanting to lose weight and be fit, but somehow keeps getting off track, you probably have self-talk that goes against your fitness goal. If you want to find your soulmate but you keep ending up with the wrong people, your self-talk is probably not helping you meet Mr/Ms Right. If you wish for financial abundance but you are scrimping from day to day, maybe your self-talk is not conducive to financial abundance to begin with.

Some of us may think that our self-talk is all positive. Which is probably true on the whole. But when we drill down into specific thoughts in our mind, we’ll probably find both positive AND negative self-talk. Self-doubting thoughts. Skepticism. Hope. Wonder. Worry. Fear. Optimism. Desire. Judgment. Self-criticism. Love. Compassion. All intermixed with one another. It’s been said that we have 60,000 to 80,00 thoughts a day, and while I don’t know how true is that or how the number is derived, but intuitively we do have a huge number of thoughts running through our heads every day. It’s somewhat impossible to physically capture all these thoughts (via typing or writing), simply because our brain is so much faster. These thoughts add together and average out to form our collective consciousness. (On the same note, you can identify your consciousness level through observing your self-talk.) You can have a high level of negative self-talk and an even higher level of positive self-talk, which will lead to an overall positive self-talk. You can have negative self-talk with slightly positive self-talk, which leads to an overall limiting view on life and its possibilities.

I like to think that I’m positive on the whole. Yet, when I examine my thoughts in each circumstance, I can always find both positive AND negative thoughts.Most of us are usually conscious of our positive thoughts, but not our negative ones. By being conscious of both the positive and negative thoughts, and addressing the negative ones, it helps move me forward and be even better. Exploring my (subconscious) negative thoughts allows me to learn a lot about myself, and understand why I behave certain way in situations. Awareness is the first step to growth, followed by acknowledgment (accepting the thoughts as yours), then action, where you can then take the proper actions to address it.

Reading more self-help materials, being with positive people, listening to self-help podcasts, etc definitely help us become more positive. What happens though is that the positivity gets piled on top of our current self-talk – where there are both positive and negative thoughts. Does that mean the negative thoughts don’t affect us? They do actually – in a subconscious way. Because they’re embedded, we don’t even know the effect they have on our decisions and actions. Simply reading and listening materials  will not address deeply embedded negative self-talks. They remain there until they are uncovered and addressed.

Of course, to get the maximum momentum in your goals, and to achieve the maximum out of your life, you want to uncover these negative self-talks and unroot them. Today, we’ll be listening in on our inner conversation. We’re going to find out what’s actually going on in our mind all the time.

Your Task

Step 1: Listening in on your inner conversation

Start on a new page of your journal or page. On top, write “My Self-Talk”. The objective of this 1st exercise is get awareness of your inner conversation. Whenever you’re going on in your daily life, what exactly is going on in your mind? I sure am curious to know it.

Imagine your head is like a pandora’s box, and right now you want to learn more about the mystery going on inside the box. This is a self-exploratory exercise done with intense curiosity.

  1. Take a mirror (hand held, preferably) and look into it. Look at yourself staring back at you. Listen in to the conversation that’s going on in your mind.
  2. What are you thinking now? Write down your thoughts. Your thoughts can be about anything, from an incident that happened earlier today, thoughts about people, thoughts about a certain person, thoughts about yourself, thoughts about something in the future, etc. Write down your associated emotion if applicable.
  3. As you write down the present thought, a new one will come up. Write that too. Keep doing that again and again.
  4. Label your thoughts, from #1, #2, …. and so on. The more thoughts you write, the deeper you enter your subconsciousness, the better. More thoughts means you’re going deeper into Pandora’s Box, means you’re uncovering more mysteries and insights.
  5. Get at least 25 thoughts. It may seem like a lot, but it’s not. It’s quite easy to get 25 thoughts once you get going.
  6. If you want to continue on with more than 25, that’s even better. Remember the more you write, the deeper you enter into your subconsciousness, the more understanding you gain.

Once you’re done, assess your self-talk.

Step 2: Assess your inner thoughts

On the right side of your answers, draw a column. Read and assess each thought. For a positive thought that enables you to achieve your goals, draw an up arrow. For a negative thought that pulls you away/down, draw a down arrow. For neutral thoughts, put a dash (i.e. no effect).

When you’re done assessing all your thoughts, count the number of up arrows, down arrows and dashes you have. Write the numbers there.

Step 3: Evaluation

  1. Which do you have the most: Up arrows, down arrows or dashes?
  2. How would you describe your self-talk based on what you’re reading/seeing?
  3. Look at your negative and neutral self-talks (if you have any). For each one, ask yourself how continuing to think like this will help you live a better life and achieve your goals. And if you can’t find a good reason to continue on this negative/neutral thought, see if it’s time to change your self-talk then.
  4. Come up with a positive self-talks for each negative self-talk and neutral self-talk. For the positive ones, see if you can make them even more positive.

Day 40 Reflection for 365 Challenge

  1. Is there anything you learned today?
  2. If so, what is it? Write it down.

Share Your Answers!

Share in the comments and tell us you are doing. Report back at the end to share your progress!

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