"I've never regretted not speaking." -- Abe Lincoln
I've gotten 'in trouble' or 'called out' a few times recently for not speaking up immediately after someone shut their mouth. This seems to happen more and more. You see, I used to be bad about interrupting people as they talked, and so years ago I made a conscious effort to be aware of this and to listen more and speak less. I make a conscious effort to quiet my 'monkey mind' and focus on the speaker and what they're saying to the point that more often than not, now, there is a brief silence before I rejoin and speak my mind.
Speaking mindfully and not saying the first thing that pops in my head, having it spill out my mouth, has saved me from foot-in-mouth-tis a few times, and I'd highly recommend it, except for the fact that lately, I have been accused of not listening Say what?! I explain that I am gathering my thoughts and want to reply to their comment, but some people just can't stand a lapse, I guess. Sometimes, I never get a chance to speak if I'm with several talkative people who, (I was going to say, 'suck all the oxygen out of the room' but I'll be nice and say 'speak freely and easily.') Sometimes I've been chastised, "Now it's your turn to speak."
Pregnant pauses are good things, unless someone never lets you get a word in edge-wise. Over times, I've had to remind Excy that other people may want to interject into the conversation and just may have something interesting to say, for example. Excy has good stories and is a wealth of information, but he tends to 'ramp up' and can monopolize the conversation. If I'm around and he is 'pontificating,' I'll say "Thank you, Professor." Code for STFU, will ya?!
Now, I'm still guilty of interrupting when the conversation gets lively, when others encourage the 'flow,' or if it's the only way to be heard, or if the same speaker and I are on the same wavelength. If I don't get to open my mouth, though, I figure I've learned something -- usually do - about the subject, the person speaking, whatever --and the loss of my comment isn't any earth-shattering deal.
But I really do like to listen - fully engaged listening -- and to do so requires setting your 'monkey mind' on slow -- not pause -- consider, and then respond.
Note: I am feeling pampered. Tonight Excy is going to make dinner -- his famous blueberry pancakes, with sides of applesauce and bacon, and I don't have to worry about what's for supper or cleaning the kitchen, and I can relax and watch "Emma" on Masterpiece on PBS. I am a Jane Austin junkie and my beloved knows it....