social cues

Silence Suffering: When Quiet Makes You Uncomfortable

Day 5: Silence

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Today’s topic is one that I haven’t heard discussed very often.

I’ve decided to call it Silence Suffering. It sounds similar to silent suffering (when we suffer in silence.) That is when something is making us uncomfortable and we keep it to ourselves suffering in silence.

What I’m referring to is when the actual silence that can occur during a conversation makes you uncomfortable.

That feeling that you get while in the midst of a conversation and then suddenly the conversation runs dry…Often leaving an awkward pause or void to fill.

When you have adhd tendencies, it’s common to make the silence mean something something’s gone wrong.

Think about it, has this happened to you?

What is it that makes the silence so difficult to bear?

The next time it happens to you, here’s three tips to help you get through it.

1) Notice it - when you feel the quiet, welcome it. Notice the urge to fill the void. Pause. Allow the urge to talk to be there, but don’t talk. Let the other person say the next thing. (Unless of course they asked you a question! That would just be weird :-D)

2) Label it - Think to yourself “this is quiet.” Test it out like when you dip a toe into a pool to guage the temperature. See how you feel about it. What are you making the silence mean? Is it your job to manage the flow of the convo?

3) Listen - Use it as an opportunity to double down and build the skill of listening. Ask the other person a question, and allow them to speak for awhile. Be genuinely curious about them. Practice listening hard. A nice way to practice strengthening your focus muscle is to listen deliberately.

Tell me, have you experienced the discomfort of a quiet space in conversation. Do you rush in to fill it up by talking and talking and talking?

Why?

I’d love to hear more.

~Shaun

Being Reasonable is Overrated

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

— George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman
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Let's think about this...I've considered myself to be a fairly reasonable person most of my life. A few of my core values are fairness, justice and equality. I'm now thinking being reasonable is overrated. Why? Because what I hadn't considered, was WHY I strove to be reasonable. So that others would like me.

Some of the beliefs that I held were; 

  • reasonable people appear sane and in control of their emotions
  • reasonable people will be appreciated more
  • reasonable people are more mature
  • who doesn't want to be the "voice of reason"? The person that can help to bring clarity to a situation
  • reasonable people are less difficult and make it easier on others

Truth be told, that all sounds fairly noble and like it's coming from a good place. But what if it wasn't? What if it was coming from a fearful place? What if the truth also sounded like this:

  • what will people think if I'm upset and out of control?
  • I want people to like me, I don't want to cause trouble or make waves
  • I can be immature...acting reasonable will hide that
  • I want to feel admired and valued
  • I will act how others want me to, so they are happy with me  
  • I must influence the way that people feel about me by acting as expected

What then? Where do I go with those thoughts? What are my new beliefs going to be?

Here's what I know now, my old beliefs served me at the time. They helped me to feel safe because of what I thought "being reasonable" meant. I also know that I was confused. I prided myself on being chameleon-like and having the ability to fit into just about any social situation. I messed up a bunch, in fact, all the time, but at the very least I was kind and reasonable. It became my go-to way of being. It worked with teachers, parents, friends, even my spouse. I mean, who could argue with kindness and reasonableness? There are worse things. 

I also know that those beliefs no longer serve me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not on a mission to be mean, but I am on a mission to be a bit unreasonable. I am on a mission to usher in progress. I want to make a difference and being reasonable is not the pathway to where I'm headed. Being fully me is. 

Here is what I now choose to believe:

  • Reasonable people are not the change-makers
  • It takes a bit of being unreasonable to see something greater than what currently is 
  • Be unreasonable, ask for what is needed, the worst that can happen is the answer will be no

It takes all types, one is not better than the other, just different. We must choose the way we want to be, in any given situation and then really like our "why".

For growth, choose the one that feels the least comfortable for you and then try that on for a while. Let me know how it goes.