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The Origin of Self Talk in the Key of Life

Updated on February 19, 2019

Just a Little Self Talk

"The music of my life suddenly became an unforgettable melody when I realized that the song I had been singing to myself over and over again was not in the same key." - B. Stuart Noll

The above statement is a flowery version of a raw truth I recently unearthed about self talk. Most of us know the superficial meaning of self talk and yet the real impact doesn't register with the deepest part of our knowing. The song that has played in my internal concert for more than 50 years had always been there, right where it always was, but its impact only now came to my focused attention. It may be that way for you too! So I write this hub to expose, in me, something that may benefit you as well.

Self talk is an oft made declaration that plays over and over again. It may be a belief, a value or an inadvertent phrase, intentionally or unintentionally learned or adopted that either becomes a force that propels us to act in a positive way for our benefit, or it may become an obstacle which prevents us from singing the song we have longed to sing all of our lives. Self talk can be joyous or it can be a living hell. The most remarkable characteristic about this conversation we have with ourselves is that at its core, it is our choice to continue or not. What choice are you making?

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 21 - Andante

My Story and My Song

About 5 months ago I hired a coach to help me realize a life’s dream of helping young adult men discover who they are and what they really, really want in life. It was and still is my belief that if you can unconditionally love yourself, honestly know yourself, are captivated with what you do and are truly grateful for the opportunity to do it, then life becomes an incredible joy. It’s as if you just cannot wait for the next second, the next moment, or lifetime and each one flies by with the grace of a butterfly’s wings playing a concerto from Mozart on the winds of time! Who wouldn't want that? I did, though that isn't how I would have characterized it 40 years ago.

So, during one our coaching sessions, my coach asked me what stood in the way of accomplishing this goal. My initial answers were genuine and, in my opinion, the real reasons. They included lack of specific education or expertise, not enough self confidence, financial and family considerations, etc, etc, etc. However, during a recent session the question came up again. Some of the same answers emerged. Then we hit pay dirt! The questioning and self examination had uncovered the real self talk that was going on in my psyche, the conversation I had been having with myself ever since I accepted what I had been told as a child. The phrase that had been written on the scale of my musical heart as a young boy and reinforced by me over and over and over since then had taken its toll, but was now out in the light of my awareness.

I had been told that “I didn't want to do that” whenever I brought up an idea that I would like to pursue and I was also told, “children should be seen and not heard.” Neither one of these phrases in and of itself would be construed as detrimental to ones existence, but when repeated over and over again at just the right time or re-fashioned and rephrased at the wrong time, they can become a drain on ones motivation. They were for me. Because I didn't understand the why’s and the intended meanings as a child, that child in me grew up believing they were rejections and over time both created feelings of inadequacy and self doubt. The question had uncovered the real obstacles, and then, some real answers. These weren't the only reasons and I no longer place blame for the outcome because I accept my role in those phrases endurance in my life over the years. The importance here is the awareness of the self talk and its origin so I can take the steps to correct it. My motivation for coaching is to help people discover their own obstacles much sooner in life so the joy of living and singing a passionate song can come much sooner. Why should we wait to join the chorus of the collective grandeur of our souls?

What happened after that was even more revealing to me. I was then asked, “if you were your parent or coach, what would you say to your childhood self?” My answer revealed my truth. First, I would have listened to see what the child in me had to say, what that child wanted to express. Secondly, I would have said you can be or do whatever your heart desires taking into account responsibility for the outcome. Moreover, I would have said, I’m going to love you no matter what happens and I trust that you will always know that by my open mind, open heart and open arms. I would have said “I believe in you.”

Then my coach said, Do you? Or do you believe all that you have heard from others over the years? Well, I had to dig deep to answer the question. It was obvious that I had been replaying someone else’s words over and over again. I now recognize they were not my words; they were not me. It wasn't a light switch, but it was the revelation I needed for the impetus to change what I was thinking and how I was communicating with myself which is helping remove the obstacle to the fulfillment of my greatest desires.

Free to Choose

Photo by Sophia Phillips Noll
Photo by Sophia Phillips Noll

A Simple Lesson

What I learned is simply this; it doesn't matter what the circumstances are or were that brought me to this station in life. It’s what I choose to think about those circumstances and how I choose to respond to those circumstances. It was and is, simply my choice. Whether change happens overnight or not is immaterial. What counts is that I know I am in control of that change, because I am learning how to unconditionally love myself, know myself and trust in myself. It may have taken a while and a few extra steps but, it’s like Naomi Judd said in her book, “Naomi's Breakthrough Guide: 20 Choices to Transform Your Life” “I know enough, I have enough, I am enough.”

I have adopted that phrase out of gratitude for every good thing that I know, have and am! It is a choice to live and to sing the songs of our soul. It is a choice!

A Genuine Thank You

A deep and heartfelt feeling of gratitude goes out to my friend and mentor, Edward M. O’Keefe, PHD and to my coach Peggy Dean, MBA and Certified Master NLP Trainer for their help in changing how I think about myself and the world in which I live my life.

Your thoughtful and constructive comments are always welcome.

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    • Born2care2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 

      9 years ago from Asheville NC

      Thank you Tammyswallow!

      I agree and if we let the self critical talk go too long, it can be a bear to get back on track!

      I appreciate your kind comments!



    • tammyswallow profile image


      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Fabulous tips! I work really hard to talk to myself in a positive tone. I think we are all really our worst critics. Very insightful and well written!

    • Born2care2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 

      9 years ago from Asheville NC

      Hi Michael,

      You are absolutely correct. We all have to come to consciousness from within. But a bit of a nudge couldn't hurt anyone! LOL.

      I always appreciate your comment!


    • molometer profile image


      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      A life unexamined is not worth living.

      Great hub with some very clear insights.

      I do think that people have to reach these conclusions themselves. If you can help guide them to their own resolutions that is a good thing.

      Voted up and SHARING

    • Born2care2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 

      9 years ago from Asheville NC

      To those who comment I am oh so grateful!

      @Oldrick, we have much in common. I am studying NLP from one of a handful of Master NLP trainers and I currently practice Qigong. If you are referring to the work of Sydney Banks, I will gladly read it. Thanks for the wisdom!

      @ AnnaCia,

      Welcome to Hub Pages and my humble part of it! By making your comment you have contributed to my happy day. You will find whatever it is you are seeking when you are seeking within!

      Thank you very much and please come back again.

      @ Billybuc,

      We are kindred spirits my friend. Many of us at our age are now busy tearing down the internal walls we so unscrupulously allowed to be built around the temples of our hearts and our minds. Nice getting free again, isn't it? Thank you Billy for your kind comments and continued support.

      @ The Frog Prince

      I can tell you have been in the search mode too, by the way you characterize the search as a "conscious effort." You are so right and if only the unconscious would venture in to find out how glorious the outcome is, they would know the effort was worth it! Thanks for your encouragement to me and to all the hubbers upon whose work you comment! I am truly grateful!

      To all of you, again, my deepest gratitude!


    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 

      9 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Great writing. It's all about soul searching and beginning to know yourself. It has to be a conscious effort or it will never get done. Some people just go into a subliminal form of denial and live there.

      Good work.

      The Frog

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      9 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You, sir, are right on with this one. I can't count the number of people I know, including myself, who have fallen prey to this kind of internal obstacle. I have always believed that the greatest hindrance to us reaching our potential is in fact us. Great hub and excellent writing!

    • AnnaCia profile image


      9 years ago

      I appreciate this article so much. A wonderful way to begin my day. Every time I encounter a hub like this makes me realize that I am going the right way. Self examination is a very special concept I am studying now in my life. Good luck and Happy day

    • oldrick profile image

      Richard Ingate 

      9 years ago from UK

      What a great title! If you haven't come across it yet, the 3 Principles material is very enlightening on the whole area of self talk and the thoughts that give rise to it.


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