For months now, many of us have been living our lives like we were marooned on a deserted island, just waiting to be rescued. It has been necessary for us to discourage everyone from “traveling” to our island unless absolutely necessary. Food and necessities have been dropped off when needed by relatives and friends to keep us surviving.
We are fortunate to have telephones and computers for communication and thankful for the friends and relatives we can call or message and grateful for those who call us. As we talk, many of us spend a lot of time discussing our country’s current problems, the neighborhood news and the dilemma we find ourselves in. However, our days are long and at times, there are no calls or emails. Who are you talking to during these difficult times?
Some people have dogs or cats or other types of pets and they talk to them. I talked a lot to my Holsteins in the many years I worked with them. When I had my dogs, Max and Lass, we talked about a lot of things. They were good listeners and often agreed with me. They are gone and I have not replaced them, so my house is empty. I now find myself talking to “different things,” including my television. I am a football fan and this weekend there were several playoff games to watch on TV. As those games progressed, I found myself talking to the television set several times! I am often talking to my computer or the “newfangled” phone I had to get because they are always doing things I do not want done and I have no idea why they do them! They do not always hear “nice” words!
I sometimes find that I am talking to myself! That happens when I go into another room and then have to ask myself, “What did I come in here for?” Or when I go to cook something that I have not made for a while and I can’t remember the amount of the ingredients I need to put in. When I make mistakes, I usually ask myself, “Why did you do such dumb thing?” I don’t always answer! When I get up in the morning and look out my window, I may say out loud, “What a beautiful, sunshiny day!” If it is. We haven’t had many of those lately.
Research shows that talking to yourself is not at all “crazy” and that in fact it is normal human behavior. (That makes me feel better!) According to a clinical psychologist, when we express our thoughts and feelings out loud, we become more aware of what is taking place in our mind. Talking to yourself out loud sparks the memory and creates a stronger association between language and visual targets. Self-talk should be positive and the language you use matters. What we say to ourselves and how we say it impacts our self-esteem, sense of worth and beliefs about self-efficacy. Talking out loud to yourself is a technology for thinking.
So if you find yourself talking to your refrigerator, a fly that keeps buzzing around, the contestant on The Price is Right who just made a stupid bid or the pie that ran over in your oven, it is OK, you are reacting in a normal way. Just be careful of the words you use, as someone may be listening!
Barb Lumley wrote this column to be published in The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.