Embrace Your Internal Monologue
Julia Barth, Editor-in-Chief
There’s been a lot of discourse online lately about having an “internal monologue.” Essentially, the conversation is between people who have an internal monologue and people who do not. In simpler terms, the conversation is between people who “hear” themselves talk in their head, and people who do not.
I happen to fall into the category of people who have an internal monologue. In fact, my inner monologue is so strong and so consuming that sometimes I accidentally catch myself speaking it out loud without realizing. It’s kind of fascinating, and I also kind of really love it. I treat it like I’m my own best friend; when I have no one to talk to, I can always talk to myself.
My internal monologue follows me through all my journeys in life. When I look at it from an outside, neutral perspective (which, of course, is not fully possible), it’s almost like my subconscious always has something to say, something to contribute to help me fully understand what’s going on in my life.
But sometimes I think my internal monologue is out to get me. I’m a very logical person. I tend to do that thing where I intellectualize my emotions instead of just feeling them, and I think my internal monologue is partially to blame (I blame the other half on my Virgo sun and Aquarius moon). What happens is that I’ll feel an emotion, and immediately my brain is trying to explain it to me. And it’s frustrating, because I don’t always want to know all of the reasons I’m valid (or not valid) for feeling sad in that moment. I just want to be able to feel sad.
But then I think of the people who do not have an internal monologue, and I’m always amazed. Do they just go through life without having a non-stop conversation in their head? And if that’s the case, would life be more peaceful that way? More serene? I can’t help but wonder.
I’d only like to live a week without my internal monologue, because I think by the end I’d want it back in a heartbeat. I’ll admit, it’s difficult and it drives you crazy sometimes, but I think without it I’d be missing an essential part of being human — at least my version of being human.
I wouldn’t be the person I am today without a lot of people and a lot of things, but most of all, I wouldn’t be the person I am without my little inner world. I call it “little” but it’s really massive, to me at least. It’s what makes up who I am as a person.
My grandma loves to tell the story of the time she was a secretary at a hospital and she went down to the morgue and saw all the people who had passed away. She has always said that in that moment she knew that there was something deeper about humanity other than just our bodies. There are our souls. Now, I’m not religious, but I have taken that sentiment from her and thought about it a lot.
One day in the future when it’s my time to go, there will no longer be a “Julia Barth internal monologue,” similar to how there was never such a thing as the “Julia Barth internal monologue” before I was born. It came into existence when I did and will leave when I leave. And I think it’s pretty cool that, for a relatively short time on this planet, I’m contributing to the phenomenon of being a human. I accomplish being human every single day. I feel my emotions. I make sense of my surroundings. I respond to others. I take stock and observe. I analyze. I critique. I judge. I judge myself for judging. I overthink. I criticize myself for overthinking. I try not to think. I fail. And all of this happens inside my brain, like a never-ending conversation within my person. And I’m not unique. Billions of other people have the same internal monologue as me, and they go through their lives having their own conversations within themselves. If you are one of those people, it’s astounding and completely mind-blowing to realize that no one will ever truly know the extent of your internal monologue, and most importantly, your relationship with yourself, which I think is kind of beautiful.
So, with this comes my advice: cultivate your relationship with yourself like you do your relationships with your loved ones. Talk to yourself, whether in your head or out loud, have those conversations, question what you believe and believe in what you do. You are your longest, and hopefully your most fulfilling, relationship. Embrace it. And if you see me talking to myself as I’m walking to class, mind your own business.