A stroke of insight

Sadly, the expression of compassion is often a rarity in our society. Many of us spend an inordinate amount of time and energy degrading, insulting, and criticizing ourselves (and others) for having made a “wrong” or “bad” decision. When you berate yourself, have you ever questioned: who inside of you is doing the yelling, and at whom are you yelling? Have you ever noticed how these negative internal thought patterns have the tendency to generate increased levels of inner hostility and/or raised levels of anxiety? And to complicate matters even more, have you noticed how negative internal dialogue can negatively influence how you treat others and, thus, what you attract?

– Jill Bolte Taylor, My stroke of insight

I am no stranger to the notion of internal dialogue.

It first started about the time I became a teenager.

I cannot recollect any internal dialogue or opinion formations in my mind until then.

In the few recent years, internal dialogue has become an everyday ‘normal’ occurrence.

It has been rare for my internal dialogue to be positive or uplifting. It’s been mostly negative and berating and caused low self esteem, hatred, guilt, jealousy, insecurities. Name the emotion and I’ve felt it.

The past few months, I decided to put an end to the self berating, self judging and letting other people’s opinions weigh down on me. I have started to end the vicious cycle of self berating and negative self talk.

That voice in our heads can either make us or break us. It’s all in our hands (or minds).


I made the choice to stay out of my own way emotionally and that meant being very careful about my self-talk. It would have been really easy, a thousand times a day, to feel as though I was less than who I was before. I had, after all, lost my mind and therefore had legitimate reason to feel sorry for myself. But fortunately, my right mind’s joy and celebration were so strong that they didn’t want to be displaced by the feeling that went along with self-deprecation, self-pity, or depression.

– Jill Bolte Taylor, My stroke of insight

A lot of times, we put ourselves down. I have underestimated myself countless times. But that gets us nowhere. A lot of times we indulge in self-pity. We could use anything as an excuse – whether it’s a boss not appreciating our work, not having enough money to buy things, not being in a relationship, being in a relationship etc.

We’re doing no favours by filling ourselves with pity. It doesn’t make us feel any better. Instead, it makes it worse. We hurt ourselves and get in our own way.

We say things to ourselves, and we believe it. I consciously take the decision every day to no longer believe or encourage the self-talk or self-pity. We know how easy it is to get into it and how hard it is to stop, especially when it’s not cut right at the beginning. One story leads to another and by the time it stops, we’re mentally exhausted.

Part of getting out of my own way meant that I needed to welcome support, love, and help from others.

– Jill Bolte Taylor, My stroke of insight

Sometimes, we aren’t able to do things ourselves. Sometimes, we need help. I’m not comfortable asking for help. I’ve often wanted to do things by myself. It’s difficult to accept help. And when I do, I make a note to help in return.  I believed it was me being independent and self-sufficient but I now realise that it also has something to do with the ego. It takes selflessness not only to help but also to take help. Ego can play a huge role in stopping us from letting other people from loving us or helping us. I constantly struggle with letting people in, with receiving help, love or support, with creating a balance between letting go of the ego and self-sufficiency. Over the years, it has often been too much of either of the two.

Jill Bolte Taylor, in her book – ‘The Stroke of Insight’, shares her experiences post-stroke, due to which the left side of her brain was affected and shut down completely for a while. She shares her story of recovery and beautiful insights and how this experience changed her as a person. She shares how different her outlook was when seen from the eyes of the right brain.

We don’t all have to go through a stroke or a fatal accident/incident. We learn not only from our own experiences, but also from the experiences of people surrounding us – their stories, encounters and lessons.

A brain scientist and expert experiencing a stroke and coming out of it with more knowledge and wisdom about the human brain than she did before – what a remarkable journey to read about.



  1. It’s time to do away with self-pity and put our mental capacity to something favorable to us. Thanks for sharing, timelesswheel.

    Liked by 1 person

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