Arguably they could be one and the same – and yet to my mind – Internal dialogue is much more associated with the way we talk to ourselves on the inside; sometimes actually have audible conversations; very often presenting as the ‘second’ and every subsequent point of view; and of course that damning, “critical” voice.
Conscious-Unconscious dialogue is a much less tangible notion, where there is more of an integrated feeling about what is presented in consciousness; where there is less (or no) criticism and more intuitive acceptance. A felt sense of ‘you are clear to go’ – an embodiment of ‘trust the unconscious’.
In a sense, it’s all about how we interact with our thoughts. In this regard we can well understand how hard it might be to “sort our heads out” – if we are using our thoughts to deal with our thoughts! Rather like self-regulation, the regulation process might not always come up with a decent solution.
However, if our interaction with our thoughts is at an unconscious, trusted, intuitive level, then it’s much easier to spot the toxic stuff and not give it a second thought; easier to recognise certain thoughts for what they really are.
So check out HOW you interact with your thoughts and give yourself an M.O.T!
So what are the beneficial differences of gaining a clearer understanding of how to best run our interaction with our thoughts?
With a clearly channelled conscious-unconscious dialogue we are grounded, comfortable with ourselves, objective about what we do, and have a deep sense of our authenticity. We understand our worth, are confident, and rarely have issues with self-esteem.
If Internal Dialogue is dominant then we are likely to be less sure of ourselves, and whilst this might not be in all contexts we are prone to ‘peturbations’ (disturbances in our state of equilibrium). From this we can draw the conclusion that, especially at these times, we are less grounded, and therefore susceptible to ways that the outer world might impinge upon us.
In Taking and Doing Action
For someone where their conscious-unconscious dialogue is well attuned, being single-minded is a straightforward process – as is also the acceptance that it’s fine to change one’s mind. Because of clarity in that inner space, there’s an openness, a realisation, that there are many ways of doing something and that one may not necessarily have seized upon the optimum way.
Being single-minded is not something that I see the same as having a ‘One-Track Mind’, or a closed mind. Individuals in this area are, for me, people who operate with a very dominant and conscious psyche. They are the people for whom the inner voice is almost ‘Internal Monologue’. They are the people who aver that “There is only one worldview and it’s mine; only one map of the world – and I’ve got it.”
With a broader sense of conscious-unconscious dialogue, decision-making becomes a much clearer, snappier, tighter process. The weighing up of options seems to take place very quickly, sometimes with uncanny speed.
Those of us still with the Internal Dialogue dominant will take much longer to take big decisions, and be more habit driven with lower level activities. We may even struggle with what constitutes a ‘big decision’, and proceed to endlessly ‘dither’ or ask around for advice in the style of “What would you do?” Or, “What do you think should I do?”
Think of a time when you had a performance (in any context) where everything went right, every choice you took was the right one, every bit of action was executed superbly.
HOW were you being through this Performance?
For most it is a rather detached experience, where no thinking takes place, where everything just flows as if guided by an unseen and perfect hand – Was it like that for you?
Where was Internal Dialogue when all this was taking place? Silent? Unnoticeable? Was there any awareness of it within your consciousness?
It is no secret that optimal performance requires a clear and open mind without Internal Dialogue.
So, if you want consistently more performances ‘in flow’ then deal with internal dialogue by ignoring all the unhelpful thinking you’ve been investing there until now, evolve towards a better engagement with your unconscious, trust and be your true self and not the self that is prone to being undermined from within. Once you let go of that that’s not been working, then changes start and gather pace.
Someone once described their life to me, as being “….like driving a car on a mountain road in a blizzard, with faulty brakes, smooth tyres, no windscreen wipers and no lights.” More than a bit dramatic I’ll grant you, but he had a very vivid imagination and talked a good story as well. The thing was, he ran his life via his Internal Dialogue. “What would happen if you stopped the car, got out and discovered that the weather outside was fine?” I asked him. “What if the windscreen was actually a cinema screen and you had been watching a film of your life? It would feel real and everything you said and thought to yourself would be real too.” We were looking at each other but our eyes didn’t meet. I was watching him – and he was watching something inside. It was a very long, silent moment and then he breathed a deep sigh.
The thing is, whenever we are being and we are AWARE of our Internal Dialogue then the warning signs are there for us. We know that here is the destroyer of our ability to engage all our processes at an unconscious level. When these red flags are waving, our concentration, our awareness loses focus – and all our abilities degrade accordingly.
For all of us, discarding a reliance on Internal Dialogue is a continual piece of ‘Work In Progress’. It’s always handy, therefore, to have some ready answers to the questions, “What can I do? How can I get out of my head?”
· Establish some distraction routines to break state and anchor these to a fast-track to the sense of that grounded centre. This can be breathing well, visualizing a calm place or colour, or having some handy kinesthetic activity to engage the conscious.
· Take steps and build (or reaffirm) some realisations about keeping Internal Dialogue off your agenda for next time. Check the tread on your mental tyres!
· Acknowledge that performing intuitively at an unconscious level is the best way to be, and that evolving from Internal Dialogue to Conscious-Unconscious Dialogue will greatly enhance your long-term improvement and consistency in performance, decision-making, taking action, and life.
I spent most of my life talking to myself a lot. Increasingly over the last seven years or so, I have become accustomed to talking less and doing more. There’s still a degree of internal dialogue going on from time to time, and it’s OK and I’m comfortable with the nature of it – whereas before that it was definitely not my ‘best friend’.
How do I know I’m on the right path?
Well, there were certain ‘traumatic’ experiences in my early childhood that never became part of any of my internal dialogue. I know now that (thankfully) I accepted that these events were what they were, nothing more – nothing less, and were coded up with no emotional content at all. Had they been, they would have blighted all areas of life. However, I was much more disturbed on the inside by certain folk tales that my imagination was able to ‘make real’.
Internal dialogue has the power to perpetuate a fragmented sense of self. For a full sense of holistic unity, sort out your thinking and go for conscious-unconscious dialogue every time!
Peter Wright is a Master NLP Practitioner and TimeLine™ therapist and an accredited Hypnotherapist and Sports Hypnosis specialist. He helps people with a variety of issues using trancework and associated strategies such as Clean Language, TFT and IEMT techniques. You can reach him via his website http://www.pjwhypno.co.uk or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His blog is also available at http://pjwhypno.blogspot.com/
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