Maybe we don’t talk to ourselves out loud, but we talk to ourselves in our heads. Sometimes, we should start talking out loud to ourselves. Have you ever tried saying the thoughts that run circles in your mind out loud? Saying them out loud makes you realize how ridiculous some of those thoughts really are.
Speaking your mind out loud to yourself is a good way to check your thinking. Just make sure you are alone when you do it. Because some of those thoughts that seem so normal and true in your head, will sound so ridiculous out loud, the people that hear them may think about sending you to the loony bin. Hey, you might think about sending yourself there when you hear your thoughts out loud.
I have been having one of those weeks this week where my self talk has been running wild. The booby hatch, madhouse kind of wild. And yet when I say them out loud, it becomes so obvious that there is precious little truth to them. It makes me think about sending myself to the funny farm.
Before you send yourself to the rubber room though, try interrupting your thinking by saying it out loud, and then correcting that thought. Out loud. A conscious, spoken thought is easier to correct when it gets that obvious, than a silent chatterbox is. So crash it by bringing the thought into the light, and then correcting it with the correct thought. Speak the truth over yourself.
I love how King David does that over and over again. He talks about his hopelessness and then starts to encourage his own soul by chiding it for its lack of faith, and reminding himself of how God has come through for him before. He often ends it with praise, or sometimes with the conviction that even if not now, “I will praise the Lord again.”
If you can’t get away into a private place to sort through your thinking, find a pen and paper. Write your incorrect thoughts on paper. Then replace your incorrect thoughts with truth and grace. Don’t forget grace. Writing also gives you an avenue to bring your thinking into the light and expose your chatterbox.
The thoughts running through our chatterbox become beliefs we believe. And they in turn influence everything else about us. If there are beliefs that are already ingrained in our minds and souls, it will take more than one interruption to change that belief. As we become conscious of the lies we believe and intentionally replace them with the truth, that chatterbox becomes a source of life and freedom instead of depressing self-doubt.
If you paid any attention, you will notice I know a lot of psychiatric hospital slang. No, I’ve never been there, but some days I wonder if I should have gone… OK, maybe not. But I often find my thinking absolutely ridiculous when I speak it out loud or write it down. This is something I still need to do often. And it really does help.