How to Use Silence with Others

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Silence is something more of us should do.  The more social media that I read, the more I think that humankind has a need to be heard, to always respond.  Despite the need to respond, we don’t always want someone to give us feedback.  Feedback is sometimes the hot button that just makes a person clam up.

The opportunities around silence are immense.  

  • Silence from others, allows us to process what is affecting us.  Immediate feedback only disrupts this process.
  • Silence communicates a respect when you are listening.  It allows others to know you are present with them, not discounting what they are saying.
  • People in pain, don’t need automatic response.  They need presence.
  • Silence keeps us from sometimes saying something we should not say.  It keeps us out of hot water.

Knowing when to be silent and when to respond.

  1. Respond when the person appears ready to accept your response.  Keep your eye contact focused on the other person.  Keep a safe but engaged distance
  2. Silence means you are processing what is being said.  Respond only when you are expected to respond, ask questions, configure your language to reflect what is being said
  3. Responding is not always necessary.   Respond in ways that you would like others to respond to you.  Take time to focus on other’s immediate needs.

Asking permission to respond is a respectful transition.  The other person will let you know when they are ready to receive your response.  Then they will be ready to complete the transition.

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Dealing with Intrusive Problems in Your Life

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Dealing with ongoing problems is a part of life.  Life presents challenges everyday, and in many cases solutions emerge, and we move onto the next challenge.  Without problems or challenges, life could be mundane.

Intrusive problems are difficulties that are chronic in nature, and keep screaming for our attention.  The more intrusive the problem, the more it screams for us to deal with it.  Failure to deal with ongoing problems, can lead to more dramatic impact on relationships, our health, and are a common cause of financial and interpersonal conflicts.

Intrusive problems as thoughts and value conflicts – Conflict is a result of having a wish and a fear.  What we fear, is often a result of conflicts in our lives that have no current resolution.

Why Do You Let Things Rent Space In Your Head? If intrusive thoughts are a function of unresolved problems in our lives, they have a direct relationship to the way we think about our wishes and fears.  They also correspond to the way we violate our principles or values, and how we may be compromising other areas of our lives in pursuit of an unacknowledged expectation. Think of your mind as a big hotel.  A hotel can be expansive, large, or small.  It can have multiple rooms.  If your mind is carrying around all the weight of unresolved emotional business, then obviously you are ‘letting a lot of these things rent space in your head’.  Sometimes, we let the problems mount, and we actually expand the number of rooms in our metaphoric hotel in our minds.  We let more stuff in, that has no value for our progress, and may actually begin to take over our capacities for change, and resolution.

Naming the Conflicts – The best way to eliminate the baggage we carry around is to decide whether you will let these intrusive items continue to inhabit your thoughts, time, and attention.  Too many people spend unnecessary time dealing with things that hold them emotionally hostage.  Failure to deal with conflicts renders you unable to move forward.  Placing names to the things that rent unnecessary space is the first step toward releasing yourself from these conflicts.

Letting Go – Learning to let go of the unnecessary – is the preliminary step toward actual change, and eliminating intrusive thinking.  What do you control?  What is out of your control…and why?  Some questions to ask during the process of letting go:

  1. Why is the emotional baggage important to you?
  2. What would it be like if you let go?
  3. Do you want to be hostage to the intrusive thinking (which is likely not completely real)?
  4. Why can’t you live free of these conflicts?
  5. How is the conflict relate to what you truly believe?

Taking Charge – Being torn over something, doesn’t mean you have to stay that way.  Exercising courage to free yourself of unnecessary emotional baggage, and the associated thoughts is a process.  You have to decide if you are the author of your life – living out other people’s scripts, or you deserve better.