Self Talk: How Our Life Experiences Impact Our Intrapersonal Communication

Have you ever paid close attention to the way you talk to yourself? Maybe you’re someone that speaks to yourself out loud or maybe someone who talks to yourself internally. Either way, it’s great to have intrapersonal communication because it can bring us a wealth of insight. 


Insight from Dr. Richard “Dick” C. Schwartz


Dr. Richard “Dick” C. Schwartz, Therapist and Author of No Bad Parts, developed what is known as Internal Family Systems (IFS) which combines systems thinking with the view that the mind is made up of relatively discrete subpersonalities, each with its own unique viewpoint and qualities. He also dives into the idea of “protectors” and how they serve us. 


Protectors are parts that we all have developed throughout our lives to protect us against difficult situations. Dr. Schwartz emphasizes that it is key to keep in mind that parts always exist for a good reason and have a good purpose, even the most painful ones. 


Oftentimes, there are parts of ourselves that we may not like or be so proud of. We may even try to suppress them. However, regardless of the parts that we deem as “bad” or “negative”, I agree that there are “no bad parts” because they all do serve a purpose and may even be what help us survive certain situations. 


Noticing your own self-talk


As you start to notice your own self-talk and as you start to reflect on the parts of yourself you like a little more or like a little less, think about how that’s serving you. Maybe you’ve outgrown some of these parts, or maybe your protectors are tired of protecting you and they’d like to do something more fun.


When your mind starts speaking to your body in a way that’s hard on it, almost whipping it into shape, it forms an internal divide. This is because whether you’re doing too much or not enough, your mind is the one controlling what is happening. Then, when things don’t go the way you wanted them to, it blames and criticizes the body.


Instead, start by noticing your self-talk, especially in silent moments. How are you talking to yourself? Then see how you can be compassionate and treat your body and yourself like you would your best friend; how you would speak to them. 


What does your interpersonal communication tell you?


I want you to know too that sometimes it isn’t your voice speaking to you, sometimes the voice that is running in your head was the external voice of the adults around you when you were younger, and it has now become your internal voice.


So, ask yourself often, whose voice is that? Because if it is not being kind to you, it is not your true voice. It’s likely a voice protecting your younger self. Time to notice if it’s serving you now.


One Response

  1. Thank you very much.
    I will notice more carefully whose voice speaks in my mind.
    I am the best friend to me and now learning how to accept all parts of me.

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