Since becoming more mindful in my day-to-day experiences I notice how much I want to change my communication style. As someone who has experienced anxiety for a long time, I notice that out of anxiety often comes interrupting others. I thought I was the only one, but I recently met a lady suffering from anxiety who spoke like a machine gun, never fully present to hear the other person. I understand that anxiety can bring this on because of fear of the empty space of silence, and there are some people who interrupt all the time because they feel that they know more than the other person, and that the other person needs to know what they have to say. Neither is a great way to communicate, but I understand.
After spending 4 years being solitary, rarely seeing other humans, when I did see people I did interrupt a lot. Not because what I thought was more interesting and important, but because my voice box was just so excited to speak again and communicate. Needless to say this is not really balanced either.
In society today there appears to be a large proportion of people who interrupt, be it through anxiety, or lack of connection with others, or feeling superior to others. Also many interrupt because they feel that if they don’t say what they have been thinking, they will forget what they were going to say. However, this is not the point of genuine loving communication.
It is scary to stay with the silence or to be fully present with another human being. And being fully present includes listening without thinking what to say next, and listening without distracting yourself with the latest smartphone gadget. I know that my most memorable connections have stemmed from being with someone who is totally focused on being present with me. One lady, a counsellor, made me feel as if I was being wrapped up in a blanket of love. This is how important being present is when with others.
The Willingness To Not Know
One thing I noticed with me is that in the beginning of being present with others, there is also a fear there. We are sort of present but also feel anxiety that we will not know what to say, so we are not fully present with them. This results in either having nothing to say as we expected, or having a sense of brain fog where we had something to say but it swiftly disappears .
How do you feel about sitting with someone without thinking of what to say next? Scared? Okay? One thing I try to remember is that the other person may be feeling exactly the same, so when the silence comes it’s not your fault and not their’s; there is simply silence.
During intimacy workshops in which I’ve taken part, I’ve noticed how much easier it is to be fully present, and allowing of the silence with others. When it is part of a workshop focus group, it is welcomed fully, but in ordinary reality, our lives are so full of busyness, distractions and social chatter that it can feel harder initially.
We use smartphones to feel at ease; we have shallow conversations so that we don’t have to experience the emptiness.
I feel that as time goes by, it may be more challenging for those who are unaware. Especially with the increased reliance on technology. More and more children and young people are living immersed in their gadgets (see Grounded To Planet Earth), and having very little genuine communication.
What About Friends Who Never Stop Talking?
What Are Your Experiences Of Being Interrupted? How Does It Make You Feel?