Wednesday, October 5, 2011
All We Need To Do Is....Stop!
We've all done it. At one time or another we let our mouths run off and then let something slip that was supposed to be confidential or we accidentally offend someone with the wrong choice of words. It happens. What I wonder about is why it happens?
I have a theory about this one. You see, one of the teachings in shamanism is that we need to use our mouths in proportion to our ears. This not only stops us from saying things we would otherwise not, but it also creates good listeners. It is an indication of a scattered mind if someone constantly interrupts the flow of conversation, regardless of whether the interruption has anything to do with the subject matter at hand or not. It is an even more scattered mind that doesn't allow the conversation to flow in the direction that it is naturally flowing and instead inserts irrelevant things into the otherwise sensible conversation. So a scattered mind needs to insert the self-discipline of two ears to one mouth even more than the calm mind. Sometimes those interruptions are a result of someone actually thinking that they are more important than the conversation or those having the conversation. That narcissistic viewpoint will always, as any narcissist likes, draw the attention back to the narcissist him or herself. So besides the fact that it is downright rude to constantly interrupt and have 10 different conversations at once, it is also self-centred.
I find my tolerance level for such things lessening each day. Maybe this is because I have reached an age where I know that people need to show respect, not just to me but to others and themselves, and maybe it is because there has simply been too many people out there with two mouths and one ear. I have noticed that the two mouths and one ear get folks into trouble daily. Those very same people then wonder why it is that friends and colleagues prefer to spend their time with others. The answer is simple. People tend to like to be with those who respect them enough to listen to what they have to say without interrupting them or changing the conversation. When they don't get that from you, they don't want to be around you.
Have you ever, for example, been on the phone with someone who can't even have a conversation because of all the distractions going on around them in their home? Kids, pets, spouses, ambulances....the list can go on. You find that you are trying to maintain the flow of the conversation when it is obviously NOT the time to be talking with this person. So say goodbye and hang up and call again another time and ask if it is a good time to talk. If it turns out well, it will be. If they say it is but then the distractions continue, say goodbye and hang up.
Or have you ever been on the phone with one person while another is in earshot and calling out to you what to say to the person on the other end of the phone even though they only hear half of the conversation and really don't know at all what is being said and obviously don't care that you are trying to actually hear the person on the other end of the line and their interruptions are preventing that? DRIVES ME CRAZY!! So I leave and go into another room to talk to the person on the phone. The cordless phone is one of the types of modern technology that I soooooo appreciate!
Or have you been trying to tell someone about an event in your day or a conversation that you had and they can't even hear you because they are projecting their view of the conversation verbally into your description of what actually happened or was said? Again, they are making it all about themselves instead of listening to what you are saying. Their responses could easily wait till the end of the story, but no, it has to be all about them and their reactions. Next thing you know, you don't even know where the hell you left off in the sharing because of so many interruptions. For me, this is an indication that the person really doesn't want to know about the event or conversation so, screw it, they don't need to know anymore. You can share it with someone another time who actually has honed their listening skills.
All of this could be avoided if one would simply STOP. Listen to what the person has to say and then respond. Take mental note of what they are saying and the points you want to make when they are done talking and then say each one. Then it will, when you are done, be their turn again. And be conscious of how your words are coming across. You can't just blurt stuff out that could hurt someone's feelings and then expect them to not respond or, worse, expect them to still like you. IT DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY! For example, humour. Some people think that good humour consists, at times, of putting someone down. IT DOESN'T. There are a couple of things about humour that a LOT of people don't know yet. The first is that it is NOT FUNNY IF YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE LAUGHING. The second is that good humour LAUGHS WITH SOMEONE, NOT AT SOMEONE. Admittedly, having grown up in a home where that last one was not understood makes me more sensitive to that than I am to other things. But this is also something that should be understood simply through the aspect of COMMON COURTESY.