A trick from Korean dramas: soliloquys
Self talk often involves only a couple of words, a phrase or a sentence. In previous issues of What's Up, we gave examples of how to use soothing, healing words, calming phrases and upbeat confidence boosters. Now, let us turn to a kind of self talk that does not happen as often in real life: the soliloquy (say "sol-li-lo-kee").

A soliloquy is a form of talking to yourself by giving a whole speech. Some people do it standing up and they speak out loud, as if they are on a stage in front of an audience. But, you can speak quietly under your breath while sitting or even lying down. Let your mood at that moment dictate how you want to do it.

Drama - be it on stage or on a screen - gives us some clues about why soliloquys can be helpful in our day-to-day lives.

Learning from drama
Playwrights like William Shakespeare were fond of writing soliloquies for characters in their plays. Soliloquys help the audience to understand what is going on. Also, by summing up days of action into a speech, the scenes can skip events and stick to the most exciting happenings.

In Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Puck speaks to himself every now and then. And, because we can hear Puck speak, we are better able to follow the complicated mix-ups that take place on stage. Also, a play might become very boring and too long for the audience to sit through if every single thing that happened in the story were to be acted out step by step.

Modern plays tend to have fewer, shorter soliloquys. You are far more likely to find them, instead, in Korean TV drama serials. Take for instance, the To The Beautiful You series. Heroine Gu Jae Hee, played by F(x)'s Sulli, loves to talk to her dog, Sanchu. But, she talks a lot to herself as well. And, so does the character Kang Tae-joon (played by Choi Min Ho).

When that happens, you may have noticed how the individual moves away from the other people in the scene, perhaps to one side of your TV screen, and then goes into a soliloquy. When you feel like having a good, long talk with yourself, do what these actors do: move away from the crowd so that you can hear your own words.

Just as in plays, the soliloquies in Korean dramas help viewers understand what is going on. The longer speeches usually sum up the situation, share deep feelings, present the dilemma or problem and then offer possible solutions. You could use soliloquies in pretty much the same way; you would be both the main character and the audience in your personal real-life drama.

When soliloquys help
Often, it may be easier for you to use a question-answer format in your self talk: that is like conducting an interview (or taking a short-answer test). Quizzing yourself in this way might be just what you need when you, for instance, fall down and graze your knee. Or, when you see a friend being teased. At such times, you need to think on the spot and make quick decisions.

In contrast, soliloquys may be better when you have the time to chew on an issue and digest your thoughts properly. After you have taken care of your hurt knee (or your friend), then you may want to dwell on how to prevent the next fall (or another teasing episode). Then, slowly but surely, your soliloquys can enable you to think with wisdom.

Try using Gu Jae Hee and Kang Tae-joon's formula: sum up what usually happens, be aware of your feelings, identify the challenge (if any) and come up with solutions or whatever else comes up in your mind.

And, remember that a soliloquy does not have to end in a decision. It is not a multiple-choice question asking for a correct answer; it is far more like an open-ended verbal essay that can go freely in any direction you want it to. Your soliloquys are yours and yours alone. And, hence, they can help you to cherish the beautiful you.

How is a soliloquy different from a monologue?
Soliloquys and monologues are alike in one way: both involve only one person speaking. If the person speaks to an audience, he is giving a monologue. When the person speaks to herself, it is a soliloquy.

One of the more well-known of Shakespeare's monologues is the speech that Marc Anthony gives to the people of Rome in the play, Julius Ceasar. You may have heard the first line: "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears."

Shakespeare was also fond of using soliloquys in his plays. The most famous of Shakespeare's soliloquys is found in the play, Hamlet. Even people who have never read Hamlet use the first line of that soliloquy: "To be or not to be, that is the question." Here, you can guess that the speech is about a dilemma.