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Archive for the ‘Humour’ Category

Talking to Myself

When I was a youngster I remember backing away from crazy people who talked out loud to themselves. I’m afraid I’ve become one of those crazies. Yes, I’ll admit it, I talk to myself, out loud. I might make the argument that the only intelligent conversation I get these days is with myself, but that wouldn’t be true – I haven’t progressed to the point where I actually answer me. In the old black and white movie genre, if the director wanted to show that someone was really crazy he’d show them talking to themselves – a supposed sign of mental illness even if the character was carrying on an inner discussion.

What’s really odd about this is that the act of talking to ourselves is actually a sign that we are self-aware and we’re seeking insight into our own actions. Now, I’m sure there is an argument to be made here about discussing product information in the grocery aisles being an insight into my actions – to buy or not to buy. Supposedly, talking to ourselves ‘mentally’ is a hallmark of being human and proof that we are a higher species.

I’m all right with the long and interesting mental conversations I have quite frequently (I tell myself it’s because I live alone with a small terrier that hasn’t yet learned how to communicate verbally). I’m also all right with my ‘zoning-out’ moments when I’m carried away with my inner verbiage (when I was a school girl all my report cards stated I was a day-dreamer – still am although I call them ‘creative moments’). I’m all right with all the inner conversations, after all, mediation groups, relaxation tapes, and self-help books focus on trying to get us to stop all the self-talk for a few moments of deep relaxation so I’m not the only one talking to myself. I’m not all right about the garbage that seems to float to the top of my memory and takes away from the more thought-provoking inner conversations.

I guess it’s not about having inner conversations, it’s what we say to ourselves that matters. Most of the time I’m thinking about creative stuff but when I settle down for the day I find my thoughts go in a totally different direction. I try to stay away from self-critical thoughts – you know that mental gremlin that sits poised and anxious to point out all our flaws, but it’s difficult to quieten him at the best of times.

When I find myself lost in negative thoughts I quickly pull back and take a close look at what is actually going through my mind and try to find the source of this inner pollution. Once I’ve done that I toss it away and refuse to consider it, even when it attempts to take centre stage again. It works for me and I feel much better within my thoughts.

Another way I’ve found that helps to keep the destructive thinking at bay is to keep a journal. A mental journal, that is (by the time I’ve found where I left a notebook and then try to find a pen that works my head is in a totally different space). Often I can get quite a mental debate going where the gremlin insists on making me feel bad while the healthy part argues I have no reason to feel bad. Sometimes the origins of negative thoughts have been sent to me through another person. Once I figure out who said something that results in these thoughts I can leave it alone. Instead of letting their pessimism intrude I change it into something wonderful about me.

I read somewhere that it was okay to argue with yourself as long as you didn’t lose the argument. So far so good. I’m going to concentrate of keeping my thoughts to myself so people won’t run away when I come near to them. Now, if I could do something about laughing out loud about something funny my inner voice said.

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Unless you are an Oscar-worthy actor it is really quite difficult not to show at least some disappointment when presented with a putrescent gift.
Here are some tactics you might want to use in this situation.

1. Go for the Oscar anyway and say it’s just what you always wanted. This has the advantage of minimizing any embarrassing moments but it’s probably obvious that you don’t mean it. And keep it short, Forrest Whittaker you ain’t.

2. Pretend that they have actually given you a million dollars. This might be slightly embarrassing after you have danced around the room whooping, hugged everyone in sight and planted a big kiss on his or her mouth.

3. Start to say thank you and then pretend someone has just come into the room that you really need to see. This could be a problem if there are just the two of you but should work in large crowds.

4. Clutch your chest, start wheezing and shout “I think I’m having a heart attack!”. This only really works if you can belch on demand and claim it was gas before anyone calls 911. It’s also worth pre-warning any loved ones so they don’t get too worried. Although this could mean they won’t do anything if you really do have a heart attack!

5. Talk really slowly, or repeat yourself, to give yourself time to come up with a response. “Well, well, well. Will you look at that. Wow. Well I never. Never got one of these before” should give you time to work on a diplomatic response.

6. Change the subject rapidly. Start talking about the gift and then branch off onto how you saw one on vacation once, and what a great vacation it was and have they ever been there? Vacation stories always drive people away!

7. Resolve to get them an equally bad gift next time that should put a smile on your face!

Above all remind yourself that they have tried their best and have taken the time to get you something. And remember – there’s always eBay!

About the Author
Tony Connor has been a forgetful last-minuter for many, many years. That didn’t stop him starting a website, Bright Gift Ideas, with gift suggestions for everyone. If shopping were a sport, his wife would certainly be on the US Olympic team with a good chance of a gold medal, and an automatic spot on “Dancing With The Stars”.

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