Negative Self Talk: The Inner Dialogue

statue of bodhisatva

Is your inner talk show host a bully, critic, heckler, naysayer, worrier, doom monger, hysteric? What’s playing in that pretty head of yours?

One of the inconvenient effects of enlightenment was the ability to perceive the inner dialogues of people around me.

This made the world suddenly a much more violent, cruel and aggressive place. We polish up our exteriors to a lustrous shine, but our interiors are loud, turbid and less than benign. 

I might be taking a morning walk along the bay with a friend and chatting about nothing in particular, nothing heavy or dark…just light hearted best friend convo…when in bursts her Heckler or Bully.

Her inner dialogue is running an insidious thought loop, spewing out the most floridly hateful, ugly and abusive commentary. About what? For her it was about being fat, about not being good enough, about people judging her, and a lot of victim/envy content. 

And she was unaware of it in so much as she was so used to it that it felt more like something running in the background to her, and she wasn’t directly conscious of it. It was just her usual inner condition. 

Her inner talk show host was speaking to her in ways she would never speak to anyone…she was a really lovely person. 

And she wasn’t alone in this. Just about everyone had some version of this going on. 

This made it hard to be around people. Basically, imagine the most cruel, sadistic, abusive, manipulative parent…someone who should never be allowed around kids…now imagine that the people around you have some version of this, their own particular flavor of it and that it’s addressing them out loud, nearly nonstop. You’d want to be alone, too. 

There is this delusion that your inner voices are hermetically sealed inside your head and that their effect remains there.

But that’s not what happens. It fills your personal space, fills the room, and whether or not people can directly perceive your inner running commentary, it nonetheless affects them. 

You are sending out a signal, a pattern, in all directions, and that pattern looks for similar or complementary patterns. Also, this running narration interprets the world to you, and constantly reinforces a particular image of not just the world, but yourself, your condition, your place in it. 

If you faithfully transcribed even ten minutes of this inner talk show, what would you find? Who is the host? Who are the guests? What are they talking about and what vision of the world are they spinning? Is Alex Jones your inner host? How about Margaret…the abusive mother in the horror movie, Carrie? Who has a hot mic?

If your inner voice was your outer voice, how would that change how you perceive yourself, how others perceive you? 

It’s interesting how some people believe they need that inner Bully or Heckler. Or the one that’s constantly reminding you that you’re a victim, or that other people can’t be trusted. Do you have the belief that this is how you motivate yourself to do things, or keep yourself from doing things you shouldn’t or how you keep yourself safe in the world? How can you expect to hear your True Voice through all this? 

Start examining your inner talk show programming and find out just what that programming is. It’s more than one show, you likely subscribe to several. Look for talk show personalities: Bully, Worrier, Spiritual Thought Police, Mom on Roids, Emotional Accountant, Victim, Punisher, Ultimate Critic (of self and others), The Narcissistic Paranoid (helps you focus on how other people are judging you, whether they are or not…fun!), Catty Teen, Drill Sergeant, Diet Monitor, Crusader, Mother Superior, Eeyore. 

These characters trigger well developed thought loops that run and overlap.

If you could step back and see the dark nature of the content, how mechanical and repetitive the loops are, how they pattern your experience and how, well, how crazy it is…you’d see that just because it’s not coming out of your mouth, not being vocalized, doesn’t make it any less crazy or destructive.

And if you could see everyone else this way, you’d understand that yours is not some unique inner hell. Not by a long shot. These aren’t even your thoughts. Sure, you flavor them because they run through your mental structure, with your memories and details, but the programming is not yours. All you do is customize it a bit.

Before I learned to sequester my own field, people would sometimes experience having this programming turned off around me. My silence overpatterned them and they felt this great relief. I learned I can do this intentionally, as well. This sounds wonderful, right? Like a great gift? 

No. With maturity you learn things that should have been obvious from the start, but weren’t. The tendency is for people to focus the source of this relief outside themselves. Even if they don’t consciously know it’s coming from me, they know on an inner level. They want to spend more time with me, they are drawn to me. They get confused and think they want to be great friends, or if they are male they get confused and feel romantic interest. When in fact, I am just a drug. They are coming for a fix. 

The few people who knew it was coming from me…those were the worst situations. 

People need to learn to manage their inner state on their own. That’s not a quick fix and it’s a lifetime occupation. We perpetuate these destructive ideals and stories where you go to some “master” and they do it for you somehow. Can you have an “experience”? Yes, absolutely. But will it stick and really change you, to the core?

Almost never. It’s so rare you may as well wait around to be struck by lightning. 

After you check your inner programming to see what shows you’ve subscribed to, are you willing to undertake the lifelong occupation of upgrading from this default human setting? Even if that requires you to learn how your operating system works and learn to program? There are certain situations where you can just download updates, but when you are at the level of switching away from Default, that’s all you. That’s work and dedication. 

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