Who do you think you’re talking to?

Something I’ve been thinking about lately is the fact that we are so connected with one another that even in our private moments we are not islands. Our thoughts are always directed at someone – we think to a virtual listener, just as we speak to an audience with our speech.

In a way, thoughts are our communication with ourselves, or rather, between one aspect of our self and another. There is a verbaliser (I) and a virtual audience (you). The ‘you’ or second person is never neutral, but always has an opinion or attitude. It is to this opinionated virtual audience that we address our thoughts.

It’s especially obvious if we find ourselves repeating the same thoughts over and over – we usually find we are trying to convince someone of something. Often we can identify the person we are trying to convince; the inference being that if only that person would believe us everything would be okay. Of course, it’s not the actual person, but the part of ourselves personified by that person, who needs convincing.

I think this is the reason why it’s so helpful to surround yourself with good, positive people who care about you. These positive souls become the virtual audience to whom you direct your thoughts, leaving you free to come up with better and more useful ideas.

So if you find yourself thinking thoughts that bring you down, a simple strategy is to imagine yourself talking to someone wise who cares about you. Or turn to prayer. When your virtual audience is a Higher Being, you can’t get stuck in that same way.

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