Conversations with Oneself


Written by David H. Rosmarin

We may not admit it readily (at least not in public), but everyone does it. In fact, I speculate that it is impossible not to! I’m speaking about, well … speaking to oneself – i.e., having a conversation with no one else but your lonesome self. If you think I’m crazy then let me help you out by referring to this age-old human activity as “chatter in your head” or “self-praise” or “self-criticism,” since surely those terms/phrases more familiar! Well, guess what? They refer to different ways in which we converse with ourselves.

Here’s the confusing part, and perhaps why many people embarrassed to speak about this topic: If there is only one of me, then who am I speaking to when I talk to myself? And if I can’t figure that out, then what is the point of conversing with myself? Why on earth would I do such a thing???

Well, one way to think about it, based on ancient Jewish spiritual wisdom, is that human beings are a compilation of different parts. We are comprised of a body and a soul – and those two entities, each with separate likes, dislikes, wants, drives, values, and visions, can either be connected or disconnected. That is, they can either get along with each other and ultimately provide to and receive from each other in a loving, caring and peaceful way (i.e., be connected), or they can live independently and estranged from one another, with tension, stress and pain (i.e., be disconnected)

Here is an example of a body-soul conversation that is disconnected:
Soul: Why did you do that?
Body: Because I was hungry.
Soul: But we were supposed to save that pizza for Martha!
Body: I don’t care about Martha. I didn’t eat lunch and I was hungry!
Soul: I just don’t understand you sometimes!

Needless to say, something isn’t going well in the above picture. Aside from poor Martha who is going to need to get dinner elsewhere, the body and soul in the above scenario aren’t getting along with each other.

Here’s the conversation again, but in a more connected manner:
Soul: Why did you do that?
Body: Because I was hungry.
Soul: I thought we had planned to save that pizza for Martha.
Body: I know. It was a bad decision. I’m sorry.
Soul: No, it’s not your fault. You skipped lunch and I should have encouraged you to get dinner elsewhere.
Body: What can we do now?
Soul: Let’s order Martha another pizza. Something she’ll really enjoy!
Body: That’s a great idea. I’m on it!

Lately, I’ve been encouraging many of my patients to articulate at least one body-soul conversation out loud each day, for no less than 3-volleys (i.e., at least three back-and-forth exchanges). Across the board, my patients have found this to be a strange exercise at first, but within 2-3 weeks most report an increased sense of internal connection and peace. Moreover, as one patient recently put it, “I’ve been conversing with myself anyway all my life, but now I’m aware of it and able to take the conversation in directions that are helpful to me.”

So, here is my challenge: Speak out loud to yourself once per day. Even 2 words! Try it for a month…

Inspirational Message

The Way of Mastery is to break all the rules—but you have to know them perfectly before you can do this; otherwise you are not in a position to transcend them.

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I came to the Center for Anxiety for help in dealing with a family member who suffered from extreme anxiety. But I ended up getting a serious illness two months later and started having my own sessions. With the help of my therapist I got through my illness, learned to understand my habits that were making my major life stresses worse, learned to communicate better, taper my anger, and surprisingly I became more calmer even though my hardships in life worsened. Therapy is a lot of work and not easy, but nothing in life comes easy! I became a better and softer mom and (when I practice what I learned) and my kids and home are calmer and happier. I am still a work in progress and have more to work on, but I know I am on the right path. I wish I knew before how my communication style and anger were really impacting my life, how being softer you can accomplish way more then being harsh. I have been to other therapists in the past and I can hands down say that the Center for Anxiety’s approach is really effective. I have even referred a bunch of people to the Center and they have been really happy with the therapists and how much they really care for their patients.
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When I sought treatment at the Center for Anxiety, the clinic was is in its incipient stages. However, by the time I successfully finished treatment, the Center for Anxiety grew and flourished into a world-class treatment center, offering cutting-edge, evidence-based treatment to countless individuals. The continued success of the Center for Anxiety comes as no surprise to me, with a team that contains such highly skilled professionals who display clinical acumen, empathy, and compassion. When I first entered treatment I was concerned that therapy would be similar to the experiences with past psychologists: a seemingly bottomless pit with no reductions in my anxiety symptoms, but was so relieved when I started to feel less anxious after only a handful of sessions. My therapist created a treatment plan that was tailored exactly to my needs and taught me practical skills to help me work through my anxiety that I still use and practice to this very day.
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When I first came in, I was struggling with panic disorder and didn’t even know it, which only made dealing with it that much more difficult. After my first time sitting down with my therapist, however, I instantly started to gain perspective and look at the difficult situation in a different light. Our meetings helped me conquer the issue step by step and get my life back on track. I’d strongly recommend that anyone dealing with anxiety in a way that impacts their day to day life should visit the Center for Anxiety! I know it helped me tremendously.
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When I woke up one morning last June and didn’t want to get out of bed, I knew I needed help. The thought of getting through another day with all my anxieties, obsessions and rituals was just too overwhelming. After feeling stuck for years, I just couldn’t anymore. Thankfully, that’s when I found the Center for Anxiety. Dr. Rosmarin and his staff are experts at what they do, kind and professional. After just several weeks I accomplished my initial targets. The change I experienced in such a short amount of time was astounding that I stayed on for a while longer to work on more complex goals. I soon achieved those too. Now, I am free of my obsessions, know how to manage my anxiety, and love my life. My only regret: not having done this sooner. I wish I had known that you don’t have to wait to hit rock bottom to get help.
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I’m 26 years old and I’ve been suffering from terrible depression for 7 years. In the throws of my sadness I literally wanted to die. Soon after starting therapy at the Center for Anxiety, my depression lifted. My suicidal thoughts began to dissipate. I remember the feeling that came over me as soon as the dark cloud above me left. It was the most liberating feeling I have ever experienced. I actually shouted to my friends, family and anyone nearby me “I’m Happy! I am Happy!” I felt free.
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Over the course of four years I developed anxiety-like symptoms (tightness in chest, gut, back) that slowly but surely increased in duration and severity. The EXTREMELY uncomfortable nature of the symptoms notwithstanding, I still continued and managed to function. The effort required to do so, however, left me utterly drained. Having always been a very spiritual person I strongly felt that a course of therapy incorporating a spiritual component could potentially work well for me and decided to give the Center for Anxiety a try. Happily, I have achieved significant symptom reduction, tremendously improved emotional/mental health, and above all, Connection. Medication free. I’m no longer just existing, I’m LIVING. I’ve been given a second chance to become the unique human being that I was meant to be.
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I have wormed in healthcare for 36 years in many different settings, and I have been overwhelmingly satisfied with the Center for Anxiety. When staff says they are going to call, I get a call. From the first contact, I have been very impressed with the professionalism and efficiency. I had a situation and needed to have sessions more than once per week, and my clinicians worked out a schedule to accommodate my needs. I was astounded that they attended to me so quickly and effectively - they made my priority their priority. My clinicians were also excellent at what they do - they have a plan for me each session, and it's clear that they have thought in advance about each session, and that they are listening to what I say and observing what I do, even though our sessions have been conducted via Telehealth. Compassion is a quality that I have all too often found to be lacking in my experiences as a healthcare professional and patient, and this is not the case with the Center for Anxiety. Of all the websites I found on Google, I am so thankful that God guided my hand to yours.
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