I remember my grandmother saying to me, in her jovial and gentle way, that talking to yourself is the first sign of madness. She’d say that when she caught herself chatting to herself as she mixed yet another floury concoction into a bowl with her oversized wooden spoon. At seven, while I knew she was joking, I wondered about this. She was brought up in the days of the First World War, when shell-shocked soldiers would commonly talk incessantly to themselves, and I occasionally witnessed this among older men as I travelled on London buses as a child.

Sixty years on and after many conversations with myself, I can see that the opposite is true. Most of what we teach at the Emotional Fitness Institute is how to listen powerfully and effectively. And the most important person to listen to is yourself. I still find it remarkable that most people who have little self-regard or self-confidence listen, not to their own voice, but to the imagined critical voices of others. Sure, others who criticized us weren’t always imagined, but we seem to adopt the critical comment as being forever true.

So talk to yourself. Tell yourself what your inner being really wants to hear. And listen to yourself carefully. It’s the first sign of sanity.

In peace
Warren Redman

Author's Bio: 

Warren Redman trained in the UK as a psychotherapist, facilitator and coach and has developed his own unique style of Emotional Fitness Coaching. He is president of the Emotional Fitness Institute (formally the Centre for Inner Balancing), writing about, teaching and coaching people in Emotional Fitness. He is the author of fifteen books, including the Award-winning The 9 steps to Emotional Fitness, Achieving Personal Success and Recipes for Inner Peace.

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