Self-talk can help — unless you pick a fight
It happened last Wednesday.
It was roughly 5:30 p.m., just about the time for a full day’s worth — make that a half week’s worth — of frustration to come spilling out. Literally.
I was indignantly shutting down my computer and clearing off my desk following a particularly tough 12-plus hours. In keeping with the petty little, self-pitying and immature theme I had going, I tossed the red Solo cup I recycle daily for water into my credenza in what some might call a huff. You know, a little bit of a snit.
Fine, I may have been acting the tiniest bit like a tired, whiny baby.
I also might have been carrying on a heated discussion under my breath with, uh, moi.
Anyhoo, in my irritated state, I had forgotten that there was still a sip — or seven — left at the bottom of said red Solo cup… which promptly spattered out all over folders, documents and some random hazelnut K-Cups in my bureau.
“Well, flackeny floppity flippers!” I told myself sternly. “Brilliant move, PK! Nicely done.”
As I slammed shut the door on my mess and took myself to task for a good bit, I turned around to see a colleague standing in the doorway, half-smiling, with what I believe may have been a finger on his emergency call button.
In the four seconds that followed, a million and 14 thoughts ran through my gray matter. And so, the inner dialogue began:
“I could tell him I was on a call? I have enough wild, wooly hair to cover my ear where a Bluetooth mini headset might be hiding? Or maybe I could say I was meditating?”
“Don’t be ridiculous! You clearly aren’t on the phone and if that was hardly positive affirmation you were spewing, BT dubs. Ya big pottymouth, you. I thought you gave up cussing for Lent, anyway? You’re the worst!”
“For the love of Pete, now’s not the time! He already thinks I’m cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!”
Cold busted, I just shrugged and impishly said, “Oh, hey, Rob! I was just, um, you know, arguing with myself.”
We both started to crack up when he said, “Oh, I know. I was just letting you finish.”
“I was totally winning!” I said with a snort.
I thanked him for turning my pity party into a delightful diversion. PK did, too.
But it got me to thinking about talking to oneself. I’m not the only human indulging in this type of chatter, correct?
Sure, we all talk to ourselves. But I’ve always hated the end of the old adage, “As long as you don’t ANSWER yourself, you’re fine.”
Well that’s preposterous, isn’t it? Of course, it is, PK. How else would we ever make even the simplest decision in life if not for the answering, for heaven’s sake?
I can just see it now, billions of homo sapiens aimlessly mulling about muttering incoherently, wandering around unkempt with only their left shoe on, combs stuck in the sides of their heads, smacking themselves about their cheeks and screaming:
“PAPER OR PLASTIC? COFFEE OR TEA? CHICKEN OR FISH? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHH, ANSWER ME!”
Ahem. You see my point.
Besides, some of the most brilliant people on the third rock talk and respond to themselves as a hard rule. I call these geniuses writers, capisce? Naturally, I capisce.
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist who doesn’t want you to be alarmed if you see her in a heated debate with her. Check out what they both have to say at www.patriciakimerer .com