Self-talk with your invisible friends, by Karen Little


Aquilegia flower - Illustration by Karen Little

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According to the New York Times, it is common in Japan for adults to have spoken conversations with dolls, figurines, and imaginary characters. These relationships can become so intense, in fact, that some people marry these fictional characters.


You might think that having conversations with non-humans is unique, but this, without exception, is what we all do on a daily basis.


Self-talk is another phrase for "thinking," and thinking is "talk."


Pet owners commonly indulge in self-talk to pets, directing meaningful conversations at them and in return, intuiting information from them. It is also common for people to direct conversations to departed loved ones, as well as discussions with instructors or co-workers when none are actually around.


Anger brings out a lot of self-talk, especially when reviewing situations and expressing fury at a person or people who are not present, but very much alive in one's mind. Just imagine how many conversations are directed at TV, news sources, and sports events in support of (or rage at) what we hear!


Prayer is also a form of self-talk, with conversations involving around needs in hopes that issues are expressed, comfort will follow.


Voiced thoughts framed as conversations which can be understood as between "me, myself, and I." When we focus our thinking on someone or something else, this takes the form of "me, an invisible someone, and I."


Like with the Japanese first mentioned in this article, it is not at all unusual for self-talk to be directed at photos, or any other form representing the essence of the person or thing we have in mind.


Many people are not aware that they carry on conversations with imaginary others, but every time you have a thought, that is exactly what you are doing. Our inner voice combines with our biases and beliefs to create ongoing monologues.

According to the Australian health service, by creating a pretend distance between ourselves and the "audience," our internal conversations can help calm us down and become aware of potential solutions.

Imagery definitely enhances self-talk and the value we derive from it. Be it with a picture of a loved one, a religious icon or god, a pet, or an ancient tree, by bouncing our self-conversations against someone or thing, we broaden our knowledge, organize our thoughts, and depending how we word things, invoke peace and satisfaction within our being.


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Written by Karen Little of Sketch-Views