The world is changing and we face new paths. In life, as we face and live it, we often have to have that inner dialogue. The Inner Dialogue. That self talk thing. We hear a lot about it in terms of being careful of our own self talk and what we tell ourselves. But what about how we question ourselves? What about the inner dialogue, that exchange between and amongst our seemingly competing voices within? What if we saw that as a “council” of the community called “me” and took its counsel with Consideration?
I have long considered the “voices within” not as multiple personalities but as various voices of conscience who need to be heard in dialogue and consultation. Sometimes in my life, I have found myself much better than other times in executing on that inner dialogue.
The 5th Strategy of The Virtues Project helps with same and such… greatly. Often considered for how we stay present and companion others, we can indeed and in deed practice it with ourselves. The 5th Strategy is about being present and asking good questions that have no agenda other than to explore and assist in finding answers already within. There is an almost sacred presumption that those answers do already exist within and that it is about using questions as almost shovels, if you will, to get to them. We do not enter into the process somehow “knowing” what the other person’s answers are. We do not act as guidance nor counsel another. We simply walk through the “steps” … being present and trusting ourselves and the process. There is a robust and humble curiosity that I believe and contend needs be present to be present. But the 5th Strategy does ask of us to question. And it can be used within. Consider…
Consider if we sat with our own selves and first started with “What’s happening?” or some other invitation to open that door of dialogue. It might be “What’s up?” or “Whassup?” or “Talk to me.” Either way, it is an invitation to others to talk… or to ourselves. Imagine when you are feeling a moment of trial or even triumph and sitting back in reflection saying, “Ok, what is happening?”
Then, imagine offering truly receptive silence to hear the initial answer. This requires true Patience and Humility. It requires a “genuine interest” in other people as Dale Carnegie might have said.
And then, imagine asking “What’s that like?” or “How does that feel?” and listening to the answer; fully listening… no judgement. Imagine emptying that cup.
Imagine asking, “What’s the hardest part of that for you?” or (if a moment of triumph) “What’s the best part of that?”. Hear the answers, without judgement or agenda.
Then, take it to another level and explore aspects of character called for… you can be specific or broad. It might sound like, “What strengths do you need to call upon here and now?” and “What would they look like in practice and action?” At this space, explore… again without agenda. Dig into what is needed and what it would look like manifested. Explore aspects of character needed in the face of uncertainty and change.
Following up and only after you have felt like there has been a robust “emptying of the cup” so to speak, you can ask something to the effect of “What is more clear now?” and listen for the answers… your own within in this case. Ask, and answer… with Integrity.
And finish up with a virtues acknowledgement, in this case for yourself. Choose from the 118 virtues above, if you like. Give yourself genuine credit for what you brought to the table.
Having a conversation and dialogue with ourselves is a good thing but we need to be concerned with the nature and healthiness of that inner dialogue. The 5 Strategy can help keep it honest and constructive… and useful.
Peace, passion and prosperity…
“Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. ― Abraham Lincoln