I wrote this post awhile back, but when I wrote it I didn’t intend to publish it or share it. It was just for me, to express relief over finally finding a new level of self-acceptance that I didn’t even know that I was looking for. I decided to share it now not just because I’m in a much better place, but because I think it could be a benefit to others that may stumble across my blog.
Internal monologue, also known as interior monologue, inner voice, internal speech, or stream of consciousness is thinking in words. It also refers to the semi-constant internal monologue one has with oneself at a conscious or semi-conscious level.
I don’t know why, but I never really considered my thought process to be an inner monologue, although of course it is just that. My thought process is a stream of narration from an inner voice, one that internally comments on everything I see and hear. And I have to admit, the narrator of my inner monologue is something of a critical bitch. She seldom has anything nice to say to me about anything. “See that girl?” she hisses in my ear. “That girl is prettier than you, and smarter, and more successful. You will never be that good.”
For years, this has been my reality. My day to day life was fraught with harsh self-criticisms that at some point, I lost all perspective on. They were so ingrained in my psyche that I didn’t even consciously examine them, just accepted them for truth and fought a never-ending battle to try to change them. Never mind that no matter who I became, they never DID change. It was a constant cycle of me working my ass off to be successful enough, smart enough, thin enough….GOOD enough. But because the dialogue never changed, it didn’t matter how much I as a person changed – the criticisms were still there. And frankly, that’s an exhausting existence.
After becoming aware of the concept of the inner monologue, I then had the consciousness that I could change mine. The next morning when I was getting ready for work, my Inner Narrator began her typical running commentary on how I didn’t look good, my clothes didn’t fit right, and I would be worse than all the rest today, so why bother trying in the first place. For the very first time, I had a shocking revelation: no one has EVER said things like that to me. For the first time, I could actually see that I didn’t have negative ideas about myself because other people had planted them in my head. I had them because I had repeatedly said those things internally about myself.
Recognizing that you have an unhealthy internal monologue is one thing. Changing that unhealthy internal monologue is an entirely different undertaking, and not nearly as easy as the realization of its existance. I’m retraining my mind after years of detrimental thoughts. When that Inner Narrator hisses at me, “You look really fat today,” I am learning to roll my eyes at her and say, “No, I don’t. Shut up. I’m just fine today.” The whole process reminds me of a part of the movie ‘The Help’, when kindly maid Aibileen is telling her charge Mae Mobley You is kind, you is smart, you is important, and teaching the child to repeat it back about herself. The idea behind that exercise was to instill in the little girl a sense of self-worth, and to help her develop a positive inner monologue. Perhaps we all ought to recite these things to ourselves.
Does the Inner Narrator still get to me? Sometimes, yes, absolutely she does. She’s got a knack for sensing insecurities and preying on them. The important thing is learning to dismiss negative thoughts and to ultimately replace them with positive ones. I will say that since I’ve embarked on this change in thought process, I’ve noticed a change in my internal monologue. I’m steering it to a more positive place, one where Inner Narrator and I will ultimately be able to coexist peacefully.