Day 8: ENGAGE IN MINDFUL CONVERSATION
Having a mindful conversation is probably the hardest thing to do.
Which of us can honestly say we've not been selfish in our conversations?
When we listen to someone, are we listening with all our attention? Or are we only partially paying heed, while the greater part of our mind is drafting our own response to what the person is saying?
Or maybe when someone is telling us about how their day/week/year/life has gone wrong, we can't wait to tell them about the bad stuff that has been happening to us. Just as bad as what's happened to them, or maybe worse.
Are we always trying to steal other people's thunder?
Whether positive or negative, are we always ready with a story of our own?
I must plead guilty, because try as I might, I can't get myself to stop. I've always got an interesting story to recount, in response to someone else, and before I know it, I may have ended up sabotaging the conversation.
Next time, I listen, I shall seek to do just that.
It is so much more important to listen than to merely hear, which is what we, and I, do.
The reason why we can't have a mindful conversation is because our minds are too full.
Of unnecessary things.
The situation is no better when we are talking to ourselves. We'd never speak with a loved one that way.
Which is why I have simultaneously signed up for the 21-day Amygdala Whispering Challenge, also on Kindspring, like this one. Why I encourage all that negative self-talk with myself, I do not know.
I talk badly to myself, and then I absorb that badness and make it my own.
Being mindful in conversation means listening, without judging, or jumping to conclusions or making assumptions of any kind. Or criticising.
It means listening, without feeling the crazy urge to see, just for a teensy-weensy second, who else is online at the moment and to see if they've pinged you.
It means looking at the person as they speak. Maintaining eye contact, without fidgeting or squirming.
Interruptions are a strict no-no. Not for the sake of offering advice, not for the sake of pointing out wrong behaviour. Not even for the sake of asking questions.
When it is our turn to speak, we must speak slowly and kindly, and pause, giving others time to collect their thoughts. Not rush to speak as soon as someone has finished.
Being mindful in conversation is about making the other person feel as if his/her words and thoughts matter to you. That they are significant in your life.
Whether it is a family member, a friend, a colleague, or even a stranger on the daily commute who wants to vent.