People like you and I spend a lot of time planning words that we are to deliver to other people. It’s impossible to get away from it, really. Every speech is a conversation, every conversation contains mini-speeches, and this is true whether the speeches or conversations are pre-conceived, rehearsed, or utterly spontaneous.
We focus so much on the words we craft to say to others that we forget to spend time to have conversations with ourselves.
Today in the mail I received a lovely parcel of books whose purpose is to inspire, guide, ignite, and focus my work and passions. They contain lots of blank pages, lots of open fields where I can scribble down my thoughts. I opened the parcel quite late in the evening,* too late for me to be able to do any productive reading. While waiting for the books I didn’t so much experience anticipation as benign curiosity; sure, they might be interesting, but really – how much could I expect.
Apparently, my expectations did not match my actual need, nor the purpose that these books are meant to fulfil.
I flipped through them, looked at pages with airy white space and modest text rather than pages densely packed with words. I read a few of the reflective prompts at the top of the pages, and then picked up the whole stack of books and walked around the house a little, hugging them to my chest. That was not the reaction I thought I would have.
What these books are prompting me to do is to have actual conversations with myself. You see, I’m a professional talker – a loudmouth who spends her days broadcasting spoken and written information and her evenings working with people who want to become better loudmouths themselves. With all the talk, noise, and words, I’ve forgotten how to have conversations with myself. When I do spend a few moments in my own head, it is usually whirling with thoughts related to the external world. There is a lot to think about, the things I have to do, the things I want to achieve, dissecting interactions that happened earlier that day or month or year. This internal chatter is all about the external world.
The books, on the other hand, are here to guide me into having proper conversations with myself.
I’ve always maintained that plenty of introspection makes people better speakers. But mental chatter about all the things going on outside of your head isn’t the same thing as introspection. It can be easy for us professional loudmouths to forget that, and it can be hard to remember how to be introspective all on our own.
The package today contained books that will guide me to doing just that. I’m looking forward to having conversations with myself again.
Shared experience is a powerful thing, so share a little in the comments section: have you had a good, thoughtful conversation with yourself lately? If so, how do you get yourself into the right headspace? If not, what could help you have those conversations?
*It is later still while I write this, but I needed to get it out of my head and into text before the thoughts left me for the night.