Saturday, August 15, 2015

Some Silent Observations

Normally, I am quite loquacious. I enjoy conversation and I consider it a job well done if I can help someone be more cheerful or laugh.

I'm actually an introvert but it's hard to tell due to my temperament type. I am talking about the Myers-Briggs temperament indicator (or Keirsey temperament sorter). I am an INFJ and we are a quirky lot as far as introverts go and we are BIG on conversation where other introverts tend to eschew it entirely. I get it. I'd rather stay at home myself. It's just I talk when I'm in the presence of others. It's hard for me not to.

This presents a kind of issue I'd like to overcome. I'd like to speak more mindfully and spend more time listening. So, I decided to go all Eat Pray Love and have a day of silence. I've noticed others have been doing this to good effect. I'd like to do it every week. Just a day a week.

Well, today was my first silent day. I think it went well and I have some observations.

First, my husband was not as patient as I'd hoped. He said he supported it but I think he was expecting that I just wouldn't talk to everyone ELSE. He got very impatient with me. He didn't like trying to figure out my pantomime and he hated reading little notes. Plus, he squinted a lot. I really think he needs to use readers. (don't tell him I said that, he seems sensitive about it)

Next, I noted that everyone, EVERY SINGLE PERSON, was exceptionally kind to me and understanding of my choice. I even asked a man to help me get a bottle of water out of a cooler at Target since it was on high shelf and way in the back as well. I caught his eye and crooked my finger to call him over and pointed to the water with a plaintive look (I hope) on my face and signaled that I needed two and he reached it right down and I signed "Thank you!" (I took two semesters of American Sign Language in another life long ago.) and he said I was welcome. I also signed/pantomimed to a woman that I liked her ink. It was beautiful. She smiled and said, "thank you" to me.

I found I could convey a lot with just my facial expressions and I also found I needed to convey little else that I actually had to write down.

I noticed things and people I would not normally. I noticed decorative touches I might like to try. I saw all kinds of cool people. I listened. Weren't many people interested in talking to me versus my non-silent outings. Apparently, I initiate a great deal of the conversations I have. I guess I didn't realize that.

Since I am back to talking tomorrow, I think I will try to minimize the extraneous talking and spend as much time listening as I can. I also plan to try hard to stick to what is necessary, truthful, and kind when I do speak... well, aside from pleasantries like "Please." and "Thank you." and maybe "Have a nice day!"

You are probably wondering how well I did with not talking. Did I slip? You bet I did.

 Late last night, I found myself talking to myself out loud. Once I realized I was doing it, I focused on not doing it and that seemed to put that to rest. I wasn't very pleased with what I heard myself say to myself. It wasn't very complimentary. I need to work on that. Hard.

After that, the only times I slipped up were talking to my dog about twice in a soft voice (to praise him) and once talking about my dog (Yes, he is a good boy!).

So, basically, I slipped up to put myself down and to praise or speak in praise of my dog. I never even yelled at the cat and she usually makes me want to.

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