Nothing to say
Are you usually the type of person who feels like you have nothing to say? Is this really true? I doubt it…
At least for me it isn’t true. I know I’m usually more of a listener during conversations. Especially in groups, I hardly ever open my mouth. I let others do the talking and most of the time I am the ‘polite’ listener, even when I am not interested at all. I notice myself thinking every now and then: ‘at least the they are talking, I don’t have anything to say, so who am I to judge them for not talking about topics that have my interest?’ So I sit there and wait for the time to pass by…
I dó have something to say
But a couple of months ago I had like this huge eye-opener: ‘I dó have something to say!’
When I put my pen on a piece of paper, the stories just keep coming out. Or a program about trauma that surprised me with all the knowledge I apparently wanted to share. I just couldn’t stop writing.
A couple of months ago I got in contact with a neighbour who was very philosophical. He kept asking me questions about my vision or opinion and I noticed myself being really excited. Finally someone who asked me questions, and not just any questions… Questions I apparently cared about and to which I had an answer to. Or not, but then we could simply discuss and ask more questions.
And very important… It wasn’t a one way street. We were having a real conversation; truly listening to each other. I don’t know about you, but I unfortunately don’t get to experience this very often.
So again it seemed… I díd have something to say!
The right conditions
But for me the conditions must be right. I need to feel space and a certain amount of safety. It really helps when someone is genuinely interested and asks the right questions. Most of the conversations I encounter are with people who only want to talk about themselves. They are so busy with what they want to say next, they don’t even listen. Or they hijack a conversation about a detail that gets mentioned and from then on, keep talking about, in my opinion, futilities. I don’t even bother talking again, because hey what’s the use?
I know I have some learning to do on this topic, because I can’t change other people. I can only change myself. But who or how do I want to be in contact with others who deplete me? I haven’t found the solution yet. Do I sit there and smile politely? Do I walk away? Do I confront someone with what his/her behaviour does to me?
How do I relate to others?
For me this is really the most difficult topic in my life at the moment; How do I relate to others? I was always taught to be polite and caring. Being a listener was certainly very helpful when I worked at the hospital. My patients trusted me and told me all about what was going on inside of them. It never felt as a burden. I was just glad I could be there for them. It was my job after all.
But is it still my job to listen to people I honestly don’t want to listen to, because they don’t listen to me either? I don’t even get paid for it. And maybe the difference with my patients is that they really talked about things that mattered. Their hopes and dreams, but also their fears and doubts. There was a true and genuine connection. Am I just not interested in topics that don’t matter? But who am I to judge what matters and what doesn’t?
Heart to heart
What I do know is I love heart to heart conversations. I hate mind-chatter. To me that’s draining. But how do I ‘survive’ in a mind-based society? Who am I to expect my fellow human beings to speak from their hearts while everything in this society is mind-based? And maybe I myself change into mind-chatter when I’m in contact with people who prefer or do that? Maybe that’s my own lesson:
‘Stay in your heart no matter the circumstances.’
What is this like for you?