It was my me time with my husband. I had fought to get it. The conditions were no electronics, total attention, eyes open.(yes, I had already googled it and read self help books)
But what now?
My mind went blank. I did not have anything to say?!
So I tell him, “ you tell me what to talk about, just for a headstart. maybe it is because I stay at home and nothing exciting happens to me. I don’t want to discuss the normal problems of home , marriage and kids.”
My husband closed his eyes.
Please don’t fall asleep. Its my me time, I prayed.
Then he came up with the solution , typical man ( problem solving machines)
“ tell me what you THINK, then”
Now, that was cool. I think the whole day . I can definitely do that.
Still blank. Nothing!
We went to sleep
Next morning , he had this eureka look in his eyes.
“ I know why you can’t talk. It is because you think too much about whether what you are going to say is right or wrong for the other person .”
this got me thinking.
Of course , I cant talk because I am constantly trying to match what I want to say with what the hearer wants to hear.
No wonder, It is a lose-win situation for me in my conversations !
they are so devoid of my character and superficial. I get stuck in generalities.
Over the years , I have noticed how ordinary people in villages speak. They talk freely without inhibition. They say what they want to say.
They are able to express their happiness or sadness immediately. They can vocalize both the good and the bad.
They don’t have the stress of holding in thoughts and feelings. So they don’t need therapists or self help books or prozac. they rarely have self esteem issues.
So what do I do with my communication woes?
With my friends and relatives:
Observe my pattern of speaking and listening. Wait for that space in conversation where I can contribute my ideas instead of trying to please others by saying what I think they want to hear
Talk only if needed. There is no need to entertain others or fill the uncomfortable gaps
Be aware and respond intelligently to the situation. Many times we try to create situations. instead just flow with it, which is so stress free and efficient. Because life approaches us with inherent solutions
I genuinely like people so I don’t need to act interested
With my husband:
Speak, speak, speak. Even if it sounds silly . stop protecting myself from imagined (or real) rejection of my ideas or thoughts
make him familiar with the inner me. mostly what happens is , I have these ideas for years, played them in my mind for years , they are so familiar to me that I expect my husband to get it the first time I tell him
keep telling him my needs and wants (not as demands), even if they are mostly rejected. He just needs to get familiar with them, just like how an advertisement grows on us
with my kids:
listen, listen , listen
kids are so idea rich , it’s a treat to listen and respond without judging
for almost 3 years i went to gym with my friend and walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes , all the while talking (which extended to the parking lot) . this event changed my life. I learned both to talk and to walk
i haven’t tried it yet , but I have this idea of talking to a voice recorder everyday. Thoughts , ideas, famous speeches, stories , poetry, anything.
Because I believe any activity done consistently over a period of time makes us good at that, I foresee amazing possibilities.