ONE'S SUSTAINED BACKGROUND CONVERSATION
DETERMINES THE QUALITY OF ONE'S LIFE
AND WE CAN'T AFFORD THE EXTREME COST OF A NEGATIVE ONE
Extensive rewrite, but is readable if willing to slog through it. Important! Read the key points and do the recommendations in the sidebar.
"You MUST correct ALL of your negative self conversations! If you don't, you will be selling yourself short by allowing ANY of that to continue to lower the quality of your experience of life! Fix it ASAP!"
What have I gained if I 'achieve' much in life, but still have ongoing negative background chatter?
If you have not attained true, enduring happiness, you have lost the game and failed to achieve your purpose in life. Since negative internal conversations, by definition, cause unhappy (negative) feelings, then one has failed to achieve the purpose of life if one allows it to continue AND does not do the best correction AND enhancement of one's background conversation.
Let's explore, clear up, and nail this down!
PURPOSE: To convince you that your background conversation will determine the whole quality of your experience of life and that therefore it is the thing to solve. It is the problem to fix. It is the priority. (So, go conquer it! Do the "what to do next", in the sidebar.).
Simplified "diagram": (for perspective)
Negative → Correct it → Eliminate, enhance (add) positive ongoing conversation
Capture in writing what feels "bad" (negative)
Apply "the correction process" to it, to eliminate it, plus consider making it positive
Practice it, to install it
The background conversation that is always going on in your brain repeats itself 1,000's of times and is always affecting your experience of life.
It determines the very quality of your life more than anything else.
Because it is repeated 1,000's of times, the value of correcting the background conversation is 1,000's of times more valuable than doing anything else. (See The Hierarch Of Highest Value Activities.)
In the sidebar, read the first piece, then look at "get right to it" (do the process directly) and "the more complete path" that involves more learning. Then decide which to do first.
It is vital that you become an expert in this, as this lies at the very core of all of your life, influencing it more than anything else! (Don't be a "life dilettante", as it will not serve you well.)
THE ONGOING CHATTER AND ITS EFFECT
Whether I am having fun, doing some big distraction, zoned out, with friends for a good time... or whatever..., I will have a chatter in the background of my mind, popping up in little pieces and sometimes bigger monologues. If it is a negative one, it is a true life killer, for it will repeat itself so many times, doing a bit of damage each time, such that it will accumulate to make one's life not a happy one.
Should you just tolerate that? Even a little???
The background chatter of your brain will determine the quality of your life.
Leaving it be "as it is" should not be tolerated. It is absolutely not acceptable to leave a set of negative background conversations in place! You should do whatever it takes to complete the process to create a great background chatter for your life!
IT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE OF LIFE
Yes, in life, you will have instances and circumstances of pleasure and a few that are otherwise. But they will fade into the distance, and not remain a part of your "memory" experience. It is what is placed squarely and lastingly in your memory that will be accessed frequently throughout life. And, since it will be repeatedly accessed, you want the memory to contain only the highest quality happiness "sentences". Those will be the thoughts that correspond to the four components of deep, unconditional happiness. (Take a peek at that piece right now, as that is our destination.)
You will experience your life, instead, mostly, according to the view through your belief filters, which are the determinants of your background chatter. The internal conversation will give you the context from which you will experience of your life. You will experience the exact same circumstance that another experiences but you will experience it differently. The positive (true) perspective filter will be part of your experience of the present If your filter were to be left as a negative, false perspective, your primitive brain would be concerned and that constant churning would take up some portion of your mental capacity whereas it would be better used for something that produces happiness and satisfaction in life instead!
JUST "BE IN THE NOW". WELL, HOW?
People tell you, most often without a complete "how to", to be "in the now". But, of course, there is nowhere else you can actually be than in the present!
But what people probably mean is to not have your mind on the past or preoccupied with the future or running off a distracting monologue. The objective is basically to turn off everything else in the mind but the processing of the "now". What this means is: If you are not be distracted by those, you'll have the mental space and attention units to devote to the here and now and experiencing it fully - to notice what is going on and to have that be pleasant and satisfying. (You will have lots of mental processing space available to be able to address and solve problems, but you will no longer be caught in repeated, useless worrying about problems! Without the negative chatter going on in your head, you will drain far less emotional reserve, so your ability to direct your energies more toward what you want will be enhances.)
But how can you do that if your background chatter says things like "I must get approval", "I'll never be good enough", "I might not be able to handle life or handle what comes up in the future", "If people don't rescue me, I might have a terrible life" (or some version of that), "I have no power", "others have the power over me"... ad infinitum?
Notice that most of those are part of the conversation of a powerless, dependent child. The conversation perhaps would be couched in adult language - but those pieces would still be retained, unquestioned, unexamined, uncorrected, and still doing emotional damage as a part of the fear response - which includes anxiety, insecurity, approval seeking, guilt, and/or a number of "emotions" coming from 'bad beliefs', which then cause bad-feeling chemicals throughout the body. (For a brief explanation, see the first part of Emotion Management, at least down to the "Key Points" section.)
A LITTLE ONGOING "UNHAPPINESS" PRODUCING SYSTEM
Backing away for a second, what we are talking about is the system we've left in place that is an "unhappiness" producing system.
What we want, instead, is happiness. And happiness comes from this:
1. Circumstances that cause pleasure and/or have meaning.
2. Our background chatter, or "the ongoing conversation in our minds" and its "interpretation" of what is going on.
#1 above is experienced in the moment and then disappears - unless there is something remembered from it (pleasant or unpleasant) because of its intensity.
Of course, I could remember that I have had alot of pleasures in my life and then add the meaning that "it is a good life" and/or "I have a fun life". That memory of the general idea of the experience may be relived over and over - so hopefully it is a good one. It will then become a part of that background conversation, but a small part...
But note that the specific memory of the specific circumstance will probably be lost, with all that remains being your interpretation/memory - and it is that interpretation/memory that is what you repeat. (I use "you repeat" rather than "what is repeated" because I mean that the first is intentional and under your control, while the latter reeks of passiveness, like it is something that "happens to you.")
AND IT IS ALWAYS BASED ON...
The "collection of your beliefs" is actually what we might call your philosophy of life. If that collection is full of erroneous conclusions, thinking errors, nonrealities, nonfacts, not fully reasoned sequences, and such, then you will have a philosophy of life that will lead you to miseries that could fill your life. Most people have a large collection of erroneous conclusions - consequently their lives are a series of trying to seek relief from anxieties, from not being approved of enough, from bad past memories...etc. and etc. (Notice that causes of unhappiness are always from the lack of using effective, critical thinking methods - that is why I recommend that you review at least a few of the basics of Effective Thinking - The Basis For Good Decisions And A Good Life. The indicator of whether you are doing effective thinking lies in the degree of unsolved problems and upsetting beliefs that remain to make you feel unhappy! Don't fool yourself about this not being a problem in your life, if you have the evidence that it is a problem!!!!! Consider doing the rating exercise called How Psychologically Powerful Are You? Test, Then Decide What To Do.) All this exists and runs our lives because we have largely left our lives unexamined (Socrates), which then has us "leading lives of quiet desperation" (Thoreau).
Well, you say, harumph!, that is not true of me...well, maybe a little...well, I do watch alot of tv and I do eat alot of bad food so I can feel better, and I really don't like to just sit and be quiet because I get anxious...yikes, you could be right! But I am hiding it well...
The basic idea here is that we can change the content of our lives, which is a good idea, and/or we can change the "context" of our lives - and the latter will make all the difference in the world, though the first is quite helpful, but not sufficient for a happy life. Changing the content without changing the context will not get us to where we could be in life in terms of having true, unconditional, enduring happiness and satisfaction in life. In the latter (happiness) case, one's context conversation will always be a part of a constantly repeating background conversation that is life determinant no matter what the passing circumstances!
I repeat: It is not nearly as productive to change the content of our lives as it is to change the "context" of our lives.
HAPPINESS CONSISTS OF...
(I am, until a new edit, repeating this, but I will make a few extra distinctions here.)
Happiness consists of:
1. The circumstance right now (the interpretation of it), which provides
a. Pleasure and/or
b. Positive meaning
2. Background chatter - About one's self and about the meaning of the circumstances as related to self, but in a repeating context and way of holding life and oneself.
The experience of #1 and #2 sums up into a "happiness" score. If I have pleasant circumstances, I get a positive score. But if my background chatter tends to be negative, I will have to subtract the negativity score from the positive score.
But soon, the circumstances score will fade into the distant past, leaving only the ongoing background conversation and that which remains in memory...and the negative score is all that remains...
STAYING AND PLAYING, CONSTANTLY
Because of a dominant negative conversation that will play constantly and/or rush in whenever there is some space to rush into, we are often in virtually constant stress and anxiety. So one of our dominant "pursuits" is to seek relief - to seek anything that will distract us or make more noise in the moment.
But, I ask you, will the pleasant experience of being around others change my chatter?
It may, a little bit, as it could influence your thoughts at the moment that you are likable and safe with those people. This could dampen the panicked primitive brain, which is trying to protect you by trying to prove you are "good enough" or "worthy" or "competent enough to handle life well".
Will any pleasant experience change my chatter?
Perhaps, a bit, if it is generalized into "I have lots of pleasant experiences." But the specifics will disappear, forever, into nothingness.
But what remains, soon after that, is just the negative chatter, as the rest seems to have disappeared in favor of the heavy, dominant theme that is unresolved in the mind.
Examples of such themes are "I must be better so that I'll be ok, but I'm not good enough, I need reassurance and to be convinced that I am good enough", or "I'll stay anxious without the 'problem' being solved" or "Sure a few people like me, but I'm putting on a mask, if they knew how I really felt...and, besides, that proves nothing, as I really am a schmuck deep down, a lost, powerless child" (or the virtual equivalent).
So, the question is: "What have I gained if I revert back to the same negative chatter?"
You experienced a few "good chemicals" at the moment from being around your friends and some respite from the negative conversation, but was there a real gain?
If the answer is "no real gain", then it would seem that the 'problem' should be dealt with more directly and changed more systematically and completely.
(I am not demeaning positive temporary experiences, as those are part of a good life. But what I am saying, again, is that there is greater value in changing what remains with you and will be experienced over and over.)
WHAT ARE YOU ACTUALLY EXPERIENCING?
What is the most frequent thing you experience in life? (The background conversation?)
Why on earth would you tolerate leaving it in place????!!!!!
I suggest that you no longer tolerate that experience of frequent anxiety or self judgment or the like in your life.
THIS IS ALL PART OF A "SEQUENCE"
Since everything in the universe happens in a "causal chain", with one thing causing the next and ending up in "a result", we must honor that fact when we are doing problem solving.
And, in each case, the solution is to "intervene" as early as possible in the process, in order to stop the undesired process from proceeding forward. In other words, we need to "fix the cause" and not just spend alot of time repeatedly fixing or adjusting to the symptoms!!! (See and understand Cause And Effect - even if you think you already understand it! It makes a number of points about how to use "chains" in your life - and such thinking can dramatically change your life!)
WHY DON'T WE DO IT?
Why don't we stop the problem processes right at the cause?
One part of the problem is that we are constantly in need of relief, so our mental space and willpower are so used up that we do not have the space for something that "feels" like studying. In seeking relief, we allow our time to be sucked up into a black hole of no life value...
It is easier to seek relief in the moment. But seeking relief, seeking solace, like low nutrient food, never quite satisfies you and gives you only momentary escape...
We eat stuff that has no nutrient value and too much of the stuff (we eat foods that don't tell us when we're full), feel bad about it, and then usually have some after effects later. But after the temporary relief, we retain the view of ourselves as weak and/or flawed because we can't quite seem to overcome the eating of that crappola. We misconstrue this as a "character flaw", and fail to realize that it is actually a "strategy" that is flawed and needs to be replaced - without self-criticism and just with the addition of effective knowledge.
And we repeat that same type of process and thinking in the other ways we seek (false) relief.
The constant dripping of the "I.V." of negative chatter causes us to do low value activities that provide relief.
But as we change our chatter, we will find ourselves no longer doing the "relief" low value activities. We will find ourselves choosing to do more high value activities, which, over time, can influence our chatter more to the positive side - in a form of a "virtuous cycle".
WE CAN, CERTAINLY, DO WELL BY INSERTING HIGH VALUE, AND...
Since the systems of our body and mind "run both directions", we can also go directly (without directly changing our belief system) to doing the exercise, and implementation, of identifying the low value activities and inserting more of the high value activities in the time space left open. (Example: My Low And High Payoff Activities.)
We can, in a sense, "consume" more activities of "high psychological-nutrient value". [Yes, it does make a difference to our mind if we feed it sick toxic stuff, psychologically speaking, or low value stuff, as that is so with all "low nutrient" inputs. You've heard that before. And you've heard before that feeding ourselves high nutrient value (normally expressed in different words, though) will nourish our brain to function better.]
AND, please note that increasing the high value activities will not solve the whole problem, though they'll help change the balance. It will still be necessary to "cure the cause" of the chatter, for it is "content" - which will add value but not be sufficient to change your life to what it can truly be.
The problem is not the content of life, but the context of life, you keep carrying that with you and you experience each piece of content through that filter - and that filter is mostly the experience. (See also The Absolute Power Of Context.)
BUT, AM I CAPABLE OF DOING IT...?
"Can I do it if I try? I've tried and failed a number of times."
But that was simply because you stopped short and/or you used the wrong strategies.
Many people have tried the kookie ideas, new age ideas, magical thinking, etc. These do not quite work, though some can feel good for awhile. However, it is important that you screen the strategies you will use, for workability (check out the "evidence") and the proponents for credibility and the methods for logic and reasoning - so that you won't waste all your energy on what doesn't actually accomplish the desired result. (Just use the above in question form, to yourself: Does this method have logic and reason to it? Is it workable? Is the proponent logical and credible?)
Also, many people have used incomplete methods, ones that do not include all that is needed and therefore do not "complete" the job.
Affirmations of positive versions of the negative chatter have some positive effect but can never be curative if one still believes the erroneous core belief behind it.
A "WAY" OF...
However, I can assure you that there is, absolutely, a way to do it that is well grounded, systematic and successful. It does require effort, but the payoff per amount of effort is huge!
Since everything that happens in your life is part of a procedure, a way of things happening, a sequence of doing things, steps in a process, the cure lies in laying out the whole sequence as well as you can and then taking each piece and examining it for "truth" or "not truth" (The Truth Test) and replacing what is not true with something that is true (and/or could be true).
Then you must do enough reading around it and thinking to be able to fully understand and to know that it is the truth (that there are no "made ups" or leaps of illogic; that it is scientifically provable). Then you can revise the beliefs in your sequential chain to be consistent with that realization and use them to replace the old erroneous beliefs.
Essentially, you'll be duplicating the methods you used to learn your erroneous beliefs, except that this time you'll also determine what is true and understand fully why it is true. Then you'll replace the old ones with the right ones.
SOME "TO DO"S TO CONSIDER
Notes for incorporating later:
Purpose: to convince you that the background conversation will determine the whole quality of your experience of life and that therefore it is the thing to solve. it is the problem.
Experience it each time you go off on yourself, throw self into anxiety
that is your experience of life - well being = all is well... not some tootie fruitie happiness concept (oh, boy TV!)
seeking relief, seeking solace, lik low nutrient food, it never quite satisfies you other than the momentary escape...but moments disappear memories and opinions of oneself do not, they are always with you...
same in life,
Do something that makes you feel better about yourself. That is "meaningful", perhaps the most of all. It is not meaning as in God thinks it's good, but "of value" to you, fortifying, building, takes away worry and concern
background of anxiety, must get approval...
pleasant suppliers of pleasure and reassurance and okness, you'll be supported...fill your need for approval