Monday, May 07, 2012

Learning to keep my mouth shut...

I'm forty years old and for the past forty years I've struggled with activating my mouth before engaging my brain.

More times than I can to recall has this habit landed me in searing hot water.

I think very quickly, but I often stop thinking before my mind gets to the consequences part of the equation. It's probably an ADHD thing, but as with all the other ADHD things, I'm trying to find strategies to reign in my impulses. Partly because some of them win my no friends, partly because I want to be able to set an example for at least one of my children (possibly two, as time passes) who suffers from the same set of impulse control issues as I do.

I don't know if hormones play a part. I have noticed that I have days at a time where everything everyone says sounds imbecilic to me and I have to literally, second by second, fight my impulse to force them to acknowledge their stupidity (yes, see how that sounds, it's not something you'd find in the 7 Habits of Successful People book, is it?)...

So, I'm trying (I'm very trying at times) to keep my mouth shut when I hear other people says stuff which, to me, seems to drip ignorance and hypocrisy or just plain old stupidity.

It's hard.

I want them to know how far superior my intellect is to theirs. I want them to see that what they are saying is not at all logical or rational. I want them to work past the infancy of their current thought process to something more mature, better considered.

Don't worry, I'm cringing, too.

Why do I feel this way sometimes? I haven't answered that question. I often wish I had a lot more humility and compassion and respect. If I earnestly want these things, why am I so arrogant? I just don't know.

There is something else. Something I found myself worrying about last night in the shower (showers are great places for thinking).

How can I have such strong convictions about certain concepts and yet feel so weak in the face of an opposing view. How is that I can have thought something through, and kept thinking it through, battling my own preconceptions based on others preconceptions and found my own logical and rational conclusion based only on what is truly evidenced (as opposed to whatever is extrapolated from perception) and yet, in the face of another person's strong conviction I forget all my own thinking in that moment, even though my instinct tells me they are not acknowledging some vital evidence to the contrary of their own view?

Afterwards, when I question myself about my own conclusions, I end up kicking myself for my self-doubt because, on examination, I can still only come to my previous conclusion - it really is the only one that makes any sense to me.

Schema - look the word up. Schemata are fascinating.

Anyway, back to the title of this post. I'm learning to listen, even when I whole-heartedly disagree, I'm learning not to jump right in there with my own view, but to let the other person conclude their thoughts because I've found sometimes, not often, but sometimes, this leads them to think even beyond their own conclusions and add a new thought process. Whereas jumping in and attacking their flawed thinking forces them, in self-preservation, to cling to their conviction in defence of their reputation.

It is hard.

It is so hard for someone like me who is so very arrogant and so very sure I've considered everything because I spend so much energy turning ideas over in my head all day long.

It's painful.

I'm so far from being humble and compassionate and respectful... and patient. Patience is just a dot on a map someone else is holding just outside me field of focus.

I dream of humility, compassion, respect and patience. Maybe if I can master keeping my mouth shut, those things will come to me and not be frightened away by my arrogant voice.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Love this post. This is so me, at times.

Especially behind the screen.

Usually I find it too hard to get into the flow of a conversation to get my three cents in, so I just end up listening and getting frustrated. And, no, they don't usually go on to explore their thought processes, they just manage to confirm their own beliefs through the same old ingrained arguments.

Ah, compassion and patience, wherefore art thou?

Good Job!