I talk to myself. As I grow older, I even talk aloud to myself. It has gotten so bad that friends and family often ask me if I’m talking to them or myself. It has been said that talking to yourself is okay, but when you answer yourself, then you have problems. I disagree.

Motivational humorist Al Walker said, “The most important words we will ever utter are those words we say to ourselves, about ourselves and when we are by ourselves.” During those “conversations,” we can beat ourselves up and make ourselves feel small, or we can grow and learn from life’s experiences.

Author and speaker John Maxwell suggested that we ask ourselves three questions at the close of each day. I think he’s right. Before you go to bed at night, try answering the following three questions.

First, what did I learn today? What spoke both to my heart and my head? In other words, what touched me and what did I learn? Socrates once said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” To grow and improve your life, do a moment of contemplation.

Second, how did I grow today? What touched my heart and affected my action? Growth occurs when we intentionally examine both the good and bad in our day. We often repeat our mistakes because we never learn from them. Remember, we never graduate from the school of life.

Third, what will I do differently? Unless I can state specifically what I plan to do differently, I will remain the same. Growth requires change. As much as we dislike change, change is the only way to become better at anything, including our faith.

The apostle Paul said it this way in Philippians 4:8, “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.”

Is that how you talk to yourself?

Allen Tilley is senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Carthage.