The University where I work necessarily has a lot of students. More every year. These young kids need jobs, the University has a student-jobs office which places them- et voila -they end up with me.
I see myself as fairly narcissistic and I’ve been called ‘arrogant’ to my face. My wife denies that I’m either of these things, and with a lot of explaining, I can deny it too. Still, it’s fun to be me – so described. When I look at these kids, I see myself. I day-dream sometimes about what it would be like to go back in time and talk to myself, advise the younger me and impart the ‘wisdom’ I’ve learned over the years. While I can’t do that, I actually can talk to these kids.
Problem is, the younger me never listened to the older me’s that were running around at the time. That’s not exactly true, but let’s just say, seeds were planted. Years later, I recognize the influence certain people had on my life to which I was oblivious at the time. So, you might say, I wouldn’t mind being ‘that guy’.
One of the kids I work with has an extremely negative self-image. This hurts me, because I remember.
P___ says things that are self-damning and he says them with a note of pride; as though this is the proper way to go about things if one wants to maintain a healthy outlook. A kind of ‘Murican ‘Self-Determinism‘ that says you ‘take your lumps’ to be a man and don’t shy away from the pain or the truth of who and what you are.
Sadly, here, there is no forgiveness, or kindness, or love.
So I was thinking about all of this and the question occurred to me; “What kind of inner-dialogue do we maintain?”. This is no new thought, even to me, but somehow it seems profound, now. Your inner-dialogue really determines your whole life-outlook. If you are staunchly pessimistic and self-deprecating, you will actually give yourself real-life justification for believing you are worthless; you will create situations that you ‘always screw up’ and you will screw it up – an endless cycle that you have been trained to wear like a badge of honor, or a scar. If, on the other hand, you have a positive and gentle inner-dialogue, you will have a more kind and easy disposition to those you interact with. Depending on where you fall in that scale, the end-question becomes, “How is that working out for you?”. If it isn’t working out for you all that well, try something else.
So, “What kind of inner-dialogue do YOU have?” and quickly, “How IS that working out for you?”.
Stop! Answer that question. Quit reading, go back and answer the damned question. What IS your inner-dialogue and how is that inner-dialogue working out for you? Just stop reading, get a piece of paper and write out your answer. Take a few minutes, a day, a week, month of year.. but answer the question. Provide examples. Whatever it is that you’re doing now, how is that working out for you?
Is it mostly negative or positive? Do you accuse and then defend or just accuse? Do you forgive?
Let that sink in.
Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am” and while this is a philosophical statement, it remains true as a psychological statement as well. The way you think and the content of your thoughts about yourself will, in large part, determine who you are and how you interact with others.
Be your own best friend, and go climb a mountain just because you can!