Bicameralism (the condition of being divided into "two-chambers") is a hypothesis in psychology that argues that the human mind once operated in a state in which cognitive functions were divided between one part of the brain which appears to be "speaking", and a second part which listens and obeys — a bicameral mind. 
Coined by Julian Jaynes in the 1970s, bicameralism is a theory posited in an attempt to explain the origins of consciousness and human thought (and consequential behavior). The theory does not suppose the human brain is two disconnected parts, but rather one mind which operates in a mental economy of partitioned stimulus and response. This theory has been used often in the HBO series Westworld, seeking to help the viewer understand the nature of artificial intelligence and the pursuit of replicating true consciousness (a very dark show, but worth watching for this philosophical engagement).
The intention of this post is not to fully explore bicameralism and its tenants, but rather to put forth this theory as a helpful analogy. You have a mind, that both speaks and listens. So what are we to do with this mind?
When the mind speaks
It has been said: no one talks to you more than you do.
I remember the first time my counselor made this suggestion to me, and invited me to begin recording the things I tell myself. What I found was a plethora of good thoughts, bad thoughts, and everything in between. I began to realize that my self-talk was simply an attempt to make sense of reality and the stimuli I was experiencing. It is important to note that while you are the most active voice in your own head, that does not make you the truest voice. We as humans are much more prone to delusions, distortions, and deviations from the truth than cold-hard facts. Therefore, we cannot always trust what we tell ourselves.
We as human process first emotionally (we feel), and second intellectually (we develop a mental response). This is important to note in considering how and why we talk to ourselves: we speak out of an emotional response to life and reality. We also often speak to ourselves with unfiltered words, in ways we would never want anyone else to hear. We are talking constantly, because we are feeling constantly.
When the mind listens
It has also been said: we listen to ourselves more than we listen to anyone else.
The dialogue of our minds can often seem like a nonstop echo chamber. Have you ever been so preoccupied with a thought or notion that it has kept you up all night? We don’t simply talk to ourselves—we listen to ourselves and respond, creating a vicious cycle of paralyzing self talk that leads us down rabbit hole after rabbit hole, searching for an answer we will never find.
It was also suggested to me to record what I was hearing from myself. Not just recounting what I was saying but listening closely to how it was said and why it was said. When a friend tells you something, you don’t just hear words, you hear their heart and often can identify intent.
While we as human beings “put ourselves on the couch," we must also remember that we are the ones on the couch when we engage in self dialogue. You are not simply the counselor, but also the counseled one.
The mind speaks, the mind listens. We receive and perceive, we experience stimulus and develop responses.
This is the gift and curse of human consciousness: that we are not just animals with urges, but human beings with minds and hearts and souls. We are far more complex than we sometimes want to acknowledge.
It is important to develop a healthy ethic of self talk because I have bad news for you: you will never stop talking to yourself or listening to yourself. You will be your loudest critic (and hopefully cheerleader) forever. Your existence will include you on the couch and you with the notepad for as long as that bundle of neurons in your head is fully operational.
So in the interest of the mission and vision of Giveear, might I suggest a few things to help you in developing a healthy ethic of giving ear to yourself?
1. Remember: you are not a puzzle to be solved
What I mean is this: you are a complex human being unlike anyone else who has ever or will ever exist. There will never be another Jordan Springer. There may come another with the same name, but he and I are simply incapable of being the same person with the same beauties and complexities. So in this effort to speak to and listen to yourself, remember you cannot solve the Rubik’s cube of your soul. You as a limited person are simply not capable.
2. Take notes
I have benefited greatly from recording the things that I tell myself and how I respond. What do you believe about yourself? When things go wrong, what is it you tell yourself? And when you speak to yourself, for better or worse, what is it you hear? How do you respond?
3. Let other voices and ears in
You are not alone in this world. While you are a complex and wonderfully made human being, you are not without the need for others. Oftentimes, we cannot hear the damaging things we are saying to ourselves because we are so used to the rhetoric. It is important to allow others in to listen to your thoughts and hear you out. It is also important to have others in your life who can tell you truth when you aren’t telling it to yourself. When you are walking through suffering and it feels like the world is ending, you will need others to show you the silver linings and to help you steer away from self condemnation. Men and women were never intended to live lives of isolation from others, let people in that you trust and allow them to join you on the couch.
4. Find ways to escape
I don’t mean run away from your problems, I mean give yourself a break. Over-examination can indeed lead to paralysis, and it is important that your life is not one constant trial of self v self. Not every thought and emotion requires deep analysis, sometimes we need to acknowledge we are simply having a bad day and need to go to sleep. Over-analysis of self can also mutate the ethic of self examination into a witch hunt of constantly asking yourself and others to help you find that one squeaky wheel that is causing your undoing. Sometimes, it simply isn’t there. Sometimes, we are just searching for answers we can’t have for a reality that hurts and we don’t want. PS—this is normal. This world is broken, your body is broken; and we (especially in the West) believe answers will remedy pain. Some pain does not have answers, some suffering is unimaginable and unexplainable. I am sorry, I know it hurts and this is not the answer you are hoping for.
In closing, take it easy and take it slow.
The purpose of this endeavor is not some intellectual enlightenment, but rather to serve as a pathway to self acceptance and self love.
There is no greater purpose in this life than to know one’s self and to love that person for the person he or she is. Without this, we will never come to know true empathy and care for others.
The world needs you and your mind, body, and soul.
Be well, and thanks for reading.