Self-Talkers Anonymous

Self-Talkers Anonymous

Andrea Freedman

Recently, and much to my surprise, a friend of mine caught me talking to myself. He asked me, sarcastically, if I was having a nice chat with myself. Rather than feel embarrassed, I told my friend that yes, as a matter of fact I had been having a nice chat with myself, that was until he interrupted me, and furthermore, that I talk to myself all the time. After all, why would I give up some of my best conversations?

However, I have not always felt this open about talking to myself. Having worked downtown in a large city for many years, I have seen many people walking along the sidewalks, the malls and the underground tunnels. Quite often, these people seem to be involved in deep, sometimes heated discussions – with themselves! I was horrified when I first realized that I was one of them.

In the past, I was conscious not to talk to myself in my laundry room or elevator, or anywhere else with cameras. Granted there are no laws against talking to yourself, but I found the thought of anyone sitting around laughing while watching video footage of me talking to myself quite embarrassing just the same, especially if I really got carried away and started making hand gestures.

I used to imagine how mortified I would be if someone were to come up to me and say “Excuse me, are you aware that you are talking to yourself?” And then one day it dawned on me. Perhaps talking to oneself is something that more people who care to admit actually do, and that maybe it is not so abnormal after all.

Talking to oneself provides an outlet to say what we really wished we could say when we had almost this same conversation, only with someone else. In this day and age when every word has to be politically correct, it is often hard to speak honestly. When we talk to ourselves, we can say all the things we wish we could say but can’t.

Having a talk with yourself can serve as a rehearsal for a discussion you plan to have in the future with someone else and can offer surprising feedback. It can also help us prepare conversations for the occasions when we will have to deal with people we know will leave us feeling irritated and unsettled, people that we would just as soon not run into at all.

Mornings, lunchtimes and brief coffee breaks provide an opportunity to vent, even if no one is listening. Sometimes, a little chat with yourself can put things in perspective.

I have asked myself what all this self-talk is all about. I wonder if most people know themselves well enough to have open, honest conversations with themselves.

Insecurities, isolation, unsettled or fragmented thoughts, as well as stress could be a few possible contributing factors that lead people to talk to themselves.

With so much of our so-called talking in today’s world taking place by way of social media, which is not real talking, it is sometimes nice to hear an actual voice, even if that voice is your own. There could be several reasons for talking to oneself, but does there really need to be one? Perhaps it is time to bring it out in the open and accept that it really is not so terrible. Maybe we can start self-talkers anonymous.

There are many days when I would rather talk to myself than anyone else. As far as I am concerned, it is no wonder that people talk to themselves. I would just as soon not share many of my thoughts with others; if they only knew what was going through my mind, they may actually not wish to talk to me and I may be left with only myself to talk to after all.

I am alone for much of the day, and sad as this is to say, there are very few people that I really trust enough to confide in about the personal details of my life. Who else am I going to talk to, if not myself? One of the benefits of talking to myself is that I don’t have to worry about anyone betraying my confidences or gossiping about my private business.

Many times when I have not stood up for myself, at work or otherwise, I have talked about it with myself afterwards, acting out what I wish I would have said. In my talks with myself I am never walked on, taken advantage of or made to feel bad; it is I who is always the one to put the other person in their place.

I have learned some very interesting things about myself and others as I have hashed things out, out loud, to myself.

Fortunately, most of the talking I do with myself occurs when I am home alone, although I have occasionally been interrupted by my husband, when I’ve become so engrossed in a conversation with myself that I have actually forgotten that he is home. Lately, I have been hearing him talking while he is in the shower. “Were you talking to me?” I ask. “No,” he replies in horror. “You got me talking to myself!”

Maybe it’s contagious and maybe, talking to ourselves is simply the best and least expensive form of therapy. There are no side effects either – not unless you count the curious or confused stares from strangers, which could be avoided by remembering to keep talking to ourselves under control when out in public.

As I walked by a woman the other day, I caught the tail end of what I realized was her conversation with herself. Not soon after, another lady I do not know started singing to herself while waiting with me for the elevator and continued to do so for my entire ride with her. Somehow singing out loud is thought to be more acceptable by some people than talking to themselves.

The point is talking to yourself is actually not so out of the ordinary, so I wish we could just do it freely without being questioned or judged. It is so prevalent that perhaps it should become the norm, something people should feel comfortable doing without fear of judgement.

The next time a friend or anyone else asks me, sarcastically or otherwise, if I am having a nice chat with myself, my response will be “Do you mind? Can’t you see I’m in the middle of a conversation?”♠

Copyright © 2013 by Andrea Freedman

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About andfreed

I am a Toronto based writer of articles, columns, essays and novels.

Posted on March 25, 2013, in Weekly Thoughts and Observations and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. “In the day and age when every word has to be politically correct, it is often hard to speak honestly.” I think this sentence must motivate your “confession”.
    Your ego has been hurt, so your alter-ego “rescues” you, by talking to yourself or….by writing.
    Whoever we talk to, the most important thing is to talk, to let the words be “honest”…..

    Like

  2. That was very interesting, because I do that all the time. It is not unusual hearing and seeing a stranger having a conversation with themselves. It used to be that when we saw someone doing that, we thought there was something terribly wrong with them mentally. If you enjoy these conversations, and are not interrupted, then carry on. I do. I enjoyed this so much. Guess who?

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    WordPress.com andfreed posted: “Self-Talkers Anonymous Andrea Freedman Recently, and much to my surprise, a friend of mine caught me talking to myself. He asked me, sarcastically, if I was having a nice chat with myself. Rather than feel embarrassed, I told my friend that yes, a”

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