I was told to shut up twice last week. The first time went something like “Please stop talking to me.” It took me three days to grant that request and only after someone else said “Patricia, I’m trying to help you so I want you to be quiet and listen to me just like you listen to BabyGirl.” I looked over at my daughter, exhaled, stopped thinking and listened for the first time in a long time.
Thoughts whirl through my mind in no specific order. Round and round they go. Some circulate for a day, some for months, others for years. At their loudest, neck pain and headaches ensue. At their quietest, it’s a good day. I can live with that. What bothers me is when the thoughts spill out of my mouth. That’s what I’ve been doing for months.
I keep talking, and talking, and talking, saying nothing but talking all the time to the point where my jaw hurts, my brain hurts, my soul hurts, and my relationships hurt. I keep telling myself to shut up but I can’t do it, can’t control of myself. A little quiet can go such a long way but I can’t hold on to it for more than a few seconds. I was nearing the breaking point and turning ugly when I was told to listen to others like I do with BabyGirl.
Overall, the week has gone well. I look at the speaker and focus on their words. If I struggle, I pretend the person is BabyGirl. If my mouth starts working itself toward interrupting, I clench my jaw and refocus. Since I’m far from perfect, there have been a few slip ups but practice makes perfect. Listening to others without adding to their words is stressless – which is great, and there’s another, more important benefit. I’m rediscovering people right now, appreciating their thoughts, and getting closer to them. There might be hope for me yet.
How do your thoughts take over your mouth? How are your listening skills? Is there someone in your life who needs to shut up?