When I first started this blog I had an entry called SilenceTruly Is Golden. In it I discussed the importance of silence, listening, and not forcing others to speak if they do not so choose. In the post I spoke of my love of talking and hearing the sound of my own voice.
I recognize my challenges:
- Silence scares me.
- I speak to fill voids with friends and loved ones.
- I ramble and can’t stop myself when I am in the presence of someone I perceive to be “better” or more powerful than me.
- I speak to show off my intelligence (or better still my ego’s need to show off)
My inability to quiet myself is, I feel, my greatest weakness. There are often moments when I clearly recognize myself spewing forth word vomit and I cannot stop. It’s as though I am outside of my own body, begging myself to “shut your mouth.”
I often feel my inability to know when I should stop talking has hindered my career choices and the way my leaders view me. I’m good for a “laugh” but I’m not always good for a different job choice or a chance to grow myself professionally. This coincides with challenge #3. My inability to stop talking when I am face to face with someone who is “more powerful” than I am.
This is also a problem in the “dating” world. Not that dating has been an issue for me since I haven’t been dating, but, in the past, when I’ve been talking to someone I felt was more attractive than I, I can’t stop talking, trying/hoping to impress them. I often go back and replay conversations in my head and can’t believe how stupid I sounded. All to impress someone. I often am disgusted with myself. My fear is, if I quit talking they will leave and not return.
I will admit I am slowly getting better. Especially with the principal of my school. She is the strong silent type to begin with so my need to shut myself up is even greater with her. I have learned to stop myself. At times it may seem abrupt or rude, but I feel the brief oversight in decorum is far better than sounding completely inept. I now find myself asking, “is this a necessary comment or conversation to be having?” Ninety percent of the time I can answer, “no”!
I’ve also noticed, especially with my leaders, I talk to be noticed. I catch myself trying to think of something, anything to say, just to get their attention. It is another reason I hate silence. I am afraid I will be lost or forgotten if I don’t remind them I’m here. Remind someone I’m alive. Some of you may read this and roll your eyes at the dramatic nature of this response, but many of you will read this and understand completely what I am talking about.
The Buddhist precept of “Right Speech” has always been the most difficult for me to abide. I can usually avoid hurting others with my words, but I often cannot fight the damage I do to myself by not silencing my mind and my mouth. It is a struggle I face every single day.
So, I continue to work. I ponder my silence, or lack there of, on a regular basis. When my meditation was more frequent it was a focus of my practice. I have gotten to the point where I can step away from a situation where I won’t be able to stop myself from talking, but the fear of oblivion catapults to the forefront of my mind. But, I remind myself that silence truly can be golden.