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Articles > Mental Health April, 26, 2016

The Reasons I Talk To Myself

Corina Motofeanu
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8.84 / 10

As Plato once said, “when the mind is thinking it is talking to itself”. It is something everyone does on a daily basis and it is a perfectly natural occurrence. However, while it is common to talk to yourself in your head, it is a little less frequent to do so out loud. But why? I’ve found that talking aloud to yourself is more beneficial than any response you can get from someone else, and for this reason it has become my own personal form of therapy…

Girl talking to herself

Photo by Jenavieve

Talking to yourself is not just about occasionally swearing at the desk because your foot had an unscheduled meeting with it. Neither is it making sarcastic remarks to yourself whenever you do something silly. No, it is not even about singing out loud when no one can hear you. What I am referring to is something that turns heads in the street and makes people wonder how you escaped the mental hospital.

I would often see people staring at me, but I never put my finger on the reason why – I was fully dressed, not wearing socks with crocs or any ostentatious make-up. And I really did not remember having an innate, stupendous beauty. However, slowly but surely, I started to realise when I ‘abused’ this practice of talking alone – as many people call it.

I first realised it one day when I was walking down the street, struggling to find the right words for an apology. Part-way through my debate, I saw out of the corner of my eye a withered hand trying to reach me. As I turned around with a puzzled expression, a fairly grey-haired gentleman simply smiled and told me: ‘Don’t worry too much! Tell her what you said so far, I am sure she will understand. But do quit gesticulating, it is quite tiring to follow.’

In time I started having such discussions at night, although instead with an entirely imagined listener. It would often take the shape of a friend who would act as my psychiatrist. Through these conversations, I was able to be completely honest because there was no reason to hide something out of fear for being judged. I become my own judge. These late night heart-to-hearts with myself gave me the ability to self-analyse, uncover my motivations and expose the sources of my anxieties and flaws.

“I can imagine hypothetical situations and see how others might react. Ideas flow fluently when I can hear them out loud and it is much easier for me to judge and improve them, compared to when I just sit at my desk”

You could compare this process to a performance, one that I give to a phantom audience. My coffee cup often proves itself to be a very useful partner for discussing philosophy, as do my bedroom objects when I need to discuss the hardships of life. My dog is also another great conversation partner, particularly when I need to express my disappointment with people or even my fears for the future.

Other times, I find myself strolling back and forth in my room, suddenly dashing across it or throwing myself in the bed depending on the circumstances. I am constantly babbling, mumbling and jabbering and of course, I do not deny there have been moments worthy of being called ‘silly’. Picture me standing in the middle of the lane, with a handful of villagers pointing at me as I am angrily lecturing my dog with head shaking and finger wagging.

However I need this wacky ritual, especially when I want to create something. For scripts, articles and presentations, talking to myself is crucial. It allows me to not only organise my thoughts, but also become my own audience. I can imagine hypothetical situations and see how others might react. Ideas flow fluently when I can hear them out loud and it is much easier for me to judge and improve them, compared to when I just sit at my desk, gazing absent-mindedly at a Van Gogh’s self-portrait.

After reading this you might think that talking to yourself is not such a bad habit. Of course, I will never say that people who talk to themselves because they are mentally impaired should not receive treatment and that talking alone is a good thing in their case, but it is important to know how to use this loneliness to your advantage.

If I were asked why I started developing this tendency, I would reply that it is because at certain key points in my life I was alone and I had to turn to someone…so I turned to myself. Now, I am never alone. Even when no one else is around me, I have someone to talk to and confide in.

Does anyone else talk to themselves aloud?

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  1. Gagan Ghai

    I think…i agree …good thought

  2. Estrella La Bombard

    I really like this article and it takes a lot of courage to write about something, that seems weird to others. I also talk to myself, though mostly in my mind in which it literally feels like I have another person in my mind, arguing and commenting. I talk to myself when I’m alone so I don’t feel like a loony bin. I sometimes feel like I’m truly going crazy and sometimes I feel like I’m about to breakdown. My habit formed when I was younger, about 6, and it wasn’t because of my over creativity, it was because I was extremely lonely. I was homeschooled for the longest time and wasn’t allowed to go outside, tack on the fact my parents were rarely home and you’ve got a 7-year old kid talking to herself. To this day I wonder, if I wasn’t so lonely would I be able to think normally and not hear an argument start in my head. I’m frustrated at my parents and I have that feeling I don’t belong, but I guess every teen feels that.

  3. Caitlin Willis

    I also talk to myself a lot; whether it’s to work out how to best tackle an issue, a reminder to do something or trying to calm myself down when upset. A lot of my friends find it weird, which I kinda get. But it helps a lot. I feel that I do it primarily because as an only child, I used to get lonely easily and found great comfort in creating elaborate stories and worlds.

    Talking to myself became a form of therapy when I got older as I could discuss openly my feelings without feeling compromised by others, something I feared greatly.

  4. Jeeve

    I talk to myself all the time and I thought it was really weird because no one else I know does it. It really helps me put things in perspective because you can say what you want to without being afraid that someone’s going to judge you or not understand why you acted in a certain way. Sometimes, if I need to tell someone something serious or confront them, I tend to practice what I would say to them- it really helps to ‘perfect’ what you want to say to them and say it in a way that sends the right message.

  5. Maya

    As a person who also suffers from anxiety I think it’s perfectly normal to talk to yourslef. I do it all the time to make myself feel better. I casually have conversations with myself when I’m feeling down and tbh it makes me connect with myself more. It may sound weird but if it works for you there is no harm done to anyone.

  6. baxter

    I think it is perfectly normal to talk to yourself as it allows you to comfort the anxiety you may be feeling towards a conversation you are about to have with someone or a situation you are in

  7. Alok

    Talking to yourself is like talking to a best friend of yours and it lasts up to your death. You don’t want to be dependent on friends who can destroy your ideas and can give you difficulties in understanding things. But self motivation is such an action where u and your soul and no one else is present. Peace of mind is one of the best activities u get from this, try it for yourself …its important in life.

  8. Nawal

    I always talk to myself without realizing I”m doing it. Its usually as a result of me being bored and imagine conversations I would have with people around me. I wouldn’t actually go up and talk to them since I’m really shy, so I settle with carrying out the conversation in my head, which sometimes results in me mumbling or making weird facial expressions.

  9. Alex Stainsby

    I don’t think that there is anything wrong with talking to yourself! Sometimes it helps in order to detach yourself from a situation so you can judge it.

  10. Alana Douglas

    I think…I agree, I do this a lot around the streets and I get funny looks also. I look back at them and give them death stare. They either accept it or they don’t. Society is cruel now a days

  11. Tolu Odubanjo

    Reminds me of the TV series Mr Robot, The main character in the show battles with a mental disorder and experiences what this article is describing, anyone else like that show?

  12. I Kahn

    I like to think…to think sometimes makes me cry…to cry makes me sad…to be sad is very lonely…loneliness is due to the lack of self-esteem…self esteem is the denial of courage…courage is what makes the hero and the coward different…for it is what the hero does that the coward doesn’t do that makes him different.

  13. Connor

    I do this myself a lot of talking to myself along with criticising in some cases , I think it’s healthy in someways to actually do this as it gives a clear train of thought

  14. Rachel Head

    I completely agree. I am always talking to myself in some form or another. Whether it is about a new story plotline or whether it is about trying to figure out what I am doing with my life. I find that I often get truer answers from myself than I do from family and friends. That is because friends and family are not wanting to hurt my feelings. But when I speak to myself I know that I am not going to sugar coat the truth. I do think that it is a normal human occurance when we find ourselves unable to speak to an actual person. Making ourselves believe that there is someone out there listening to our woes and pains, that are not able to speak back, bring us more comfort than it would if that someone were able to answer back. Like I said before, I completely agree with what you have said.

  15. Naomi Skinner

    This is a very true article. I think everyone needs to speak to themselves to be able to understand a situation and help resolve it by speaking out loud to yourself.

  16. Abdul Moiz Javed

    Well it happens to me too. I talk to myself a lot. It helps me relax and soothes me. Whenever I do something silly I talk to myself debating what I could have done to avoid it.

  17. katie ash

    I think…i agree

  18. Revtee Das

    Yep yep yep……I do it on a daily basis. Like the moment I’m alone, I’m talking to myself, sometimes aloud, sometimes quietly. I scold myself, I try to make myself understand…..currently I’m going through a heartbreak and since I’m really down, I need to talk to myself and hold myself back from committing anything stupid.

  19. Uchenna Nnadi

    Heck yes, talking out loud to yourself is such a relieving thing to do.
    One thing I do is scream, it’s super freeing

  20. Emilian

    Great article. I hope it will inspire more people to share their own coping methods and working rituals, giving us a preview of their own mind palace.

    • Uchenna Nnadi

      One thing I like to do us scream. It’s liberating. This article is very good and inspiring