Belenen (belenen) wrote,

falling into a pattern of listening/responding without speaking/initiating

Give it thought, belenen. Consider every angle. And then speak your mind. You've not been drawn into anyone's life just to listen.

Loud and proud,
The Universe

P.S. You're not here to be quiet, belenen. Actually, you're one of my spokes-peeps.

The other day I wrote that "I feel like I do too much listening and I have forgotten how to speak. I feel lost, mute." I've been reflecting on that... I think it's a pattern that has several causes.

First, I'm quite simply very good at listening. I'm not sure how I developed this skill -- maybe by working really hard to get my partner to talk? -- but when I listen, I do so in a very active way. I pay close attention, take in everything I can, reshape it to fit in my mind, ask questions to make sure I've understood and to prod for deeper sharing, and express any thoughts that the other person's words might spark. Because I am skilled at this, it's really easy for me to sort of slip into the role of listener. (and yes I am aware that I am not being modest at all and am maybe being arrogant, but I'm pretty sure that it's just plain true)

Also, my life doesn't have a great deal of variety or stress, so I don't feel a lot of urge to share things that have happened to me during the day. Most people I talk with do experience a lot of variety and stress, so they simply have more immediate things to talk about, which is fine of course, but it becomes habit. Then when I DO have an eventful or emotional day, I tend not to talk about it because the subject is already the other person's life, and because they aren't showing interest I feel like they don't care. Which is irrational, because how are they to know that this day is different? But I feel that way anyway. And then when I do share it comes out like a volcano because I haven't had that kind of outlet in so long. And then I get disappointed if I share and they don't listen to me the way I listen to them. But instead of confronting this by saying, "look, I need you to really think about what I am saying and respond with questions and thoughts, not just a nod or 'uh-huh.' I need to be shown that what I am saying is important and interesting to you; I need to feel that you are engaged with me like a dance partner, not watching me like an audience." (which is pretty hard when I'm not pausing for breath...) I just react immaturely with a "they don't care, why am I wasting my time and emotion sharing?" and I become less likely to share next time. Which is really unfair, because I wasn't born with this skill! and how can they even have a chance of learning if no one points out that there is a way they could improve?

If it's not active listening I feel like my sharing is just feeding a void... which is part of the reason I like to write. That way, at least I can 'listen' to myself, and I think people find it easier to do active listening when they can take their time and think about it. And I don't have to know if they're uninterested, and they're less likely to fake being interested because there isn't the worry of seeming 'rude.'

This has been a pattern for years but it has gotten especially bad lately... probably because I just haven't done a lot of talking in real-time with anyone who isn't SO stressed that it doesn't occur to them to ask what is going on with me. I've talked to some people I don't know well, but that wasn't about my feelings or what I'm going through. I feel actually confused when someone asks me what's going on with me because I just... never articulate it anymore. I feel scared at the idea of having a real-time conversation with people who know me and might actually ask me about my life -- I actually feel incapable of saying anything. I feel... broken, in a way. I know that part of this is because the things I feel so passionately about are things that most people don't even KNOW about. How can I discuss things that are so multilayered with someone who knows only the first layer or not even that? And I feel so upset that there are these things that are so important and no one is willing to invest time in learning about them. I guess I feel crazy in a way -- separated in the way I think from the way most people think. I don't want to share because nobody gets it -- which is both assumptive and logical :-/

I want to push myself to share more in real-time with friends but I just can't even express how scary that is for me. The last lj-friend I spent a lot of time talking to in real-time was Ava... I'm terrified that no one will understand me like that or they WILL and then they'll show that they're not interested in being close with me. Maybe I'm too much or maybe I'm too little. I think that experience had more effect on me than I realized... We talked for HOURS, and it created nothing. and then there was Meliae, who... I don't really even know how to characterize that experience, but it was beautiful and magical at first too, ending in nothing. What does that mean?


open, close; fish mouth
is any sound coming out?
are your ears for me?

...Far Far by Yael Naïm...
everyday she writes words and more words
just to speak out the thoughts that keep floating inside

take a deep breath and dive -- there's a beautiful mess inside
Tags: ava, communication / words, meliae, poetry

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.