We often make jokes about people who talk to themselves. But the truth is that this is something we all do, and we do very few things that are more significant. Every deliberate move we make can be traced back to some conversation that we had with ourselves. Virtually everything that we do today has its background in something that we said to ourselves yesterday.
The problems that each of us face may be different at times from each other, but our approach to solving them is essentially the same. We talk it over with ourselves. If we are wise, we seek the counsel of others whom we trust. But wise or unwise, we always seek the counsel of ourselves. Every great decision has just been talked through in the secret chambers of our own hearts.
Such is the importance of this issue. What we shall do tomorrow, how we shall handle temptation, how we shall behave in the presence of difficulty depends, in large measure, on what we are saying to ourselves right now.
We need to talk to ourselves about ourselves, but we need to do it honestly and realistically. There are a lot of people in this world besides you and me. And if we are wise, we will remind ourselves of that reality on a regular basis.
It would be a good thing if we would take the time this week to talk to ourselves about the people who have made a positive contribution to our lives. If we do that, we may find ourselves writing some letter or speaking some words of appreciation. At the very least, we will find ourselves being grateful, and what a healthy feeling that is.
It would also be good if we would talk with ourselves about the needs of some other people. If we do that, we may find ourselves reaching out to help. At the very least, we will find ourselves caring and, perhaps, realizing that our own needs are neither as urgent nor as serious as we had thought.
Lastly, we need to be talking to ourselves about the thought of success. Some look at success in terms of material possessions. Money can do a lot of things. It can open a lot of doors. It can provide a lot of opportunities. But there are some things that it cannot buy, among which are the most important things in life. Money cannot buy a clear conscience, or genuine affection or inward spiritual power. Such things are not for sale, never have been and never will be.
Somewhere I came across this definition of success: “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics, and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to see the best in others; to leave the world a bit better – whether by a child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you lived.”
That is real success. Down deep inside, I think we know that, but we need to hear it over and over again. We need to talk about it in the secret chambers of our hearts. Our inward conversations largely determine the way we live. What have you been saying to yourself lately?