Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Me, Myself, and the voices in my head

Someone told me the other day that people who talk to themselves are more productive than those who don't.

I didn't believe him for a couple of reasons.First off, I was raised to believe that talking to yourself is a sure sign of insanity, just a few short steps away from living under a freeway overpass. And two, as someone who talks to himself on a regular basis, I know I'm not all that productive.

So, after having a pretty in-depth argument with myself over the issue, we (the outside voice and the in-my-head voice) decided to do a little research on the matter.

We couldn't decide on where to look. Outside voice was thinking library, and inside voice said "No way. People always look at you funny when we're sitting in the library, carrying on a conversation with nobody. Besides, we can do research at home on the Internet without changing out of our pajamas."

And besides, as everyone knows, if it's on the innerwebs it must be true.

I found a great article from that said, in part, one great benefit of talking to yourself is that you're never alone:

"When you're feeling lonely, chances are you're neglecting to give enough attention to a very special person. One who is always there with you. Who's that? Why, you, of course. So, talk to yourself. Not just in your head. But out loud."

While the lonely factor doesn't hit home with me (I spend most of my day surrounded by people - lots and lots of people), I do agree that the talking out loud thing is beneficial.

When I'm writing something, a strange thing happens between my brain and my computer. The clever, witty banter in my head sometimes gets lost in translation and turns into some kind of gibberish, as some of you have so eloquently pointed out in them online comments. I won't mention any names, but thank you in advance, Mike B.

So I've developed a little habit of doing the first draft of most stories out loud to myself. This has drawn some odd looks from my neighbors at stoplights, others in line at the grocery store, and on more than one occasion, my son, asking from the back seat, "Who you talking to, Pop?" but it works for me.

This little exercise was reinforced by psychcentral, who added that this helps clarify thought, firm up decisions, prioritize, and overall, will make you smarter.

There is one stipulation, though: "You become smarter only if you speak respectfully to yourself."

This is where I run into a problem. Not only do I not agree with myself most of the time, I often get into some pretty nasty arguments.

For example, while writing this particular piece, I took a little break to run down to Circle K for a cup of coffee. On the trip back, I got to thinking that it's easy to hide talking to yourself by pretending you're on a phone call, using some hands-free device.

That got me wondering about Bluetooth devices. What do you call more than one? Are they Blueteeth? Bluetooths? Blueteethes? This turned into a pretty heated discussion with myself, not only about grammar, but how the voice in my head gets distracted way too easily.

In the middle of this argument, I (we?) glanced over and saw some guy in a blue pick up truck in the lane next to me (us) staring and shaking his head.

With my luck, it was probably Mike B.

So to avoid a fist fight with myself, I decided that we (me) would agree to disagree and just go on home.

According to the article, in order to get brain-ier and less lonely, you should also compliment yourself (a few "good jobs" and "I'm proud of you 's" go a long way).

I'm not sure I agree with that. The last thing I need is some crazo who talks to himself telling me what a good job I'm doing.




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