Oh, how often I steal from the moment due to my habitual need
to chime in and provide 'help' or (most often unwanted) insight.
I've begun to notice this impulse each time I interrupt the conversation.
Frequently filling the gaps with "I know...." or "you should try this"....
On the surface it seems innocent and meaningless,
dressed in false empathy and support.
However, what I've realized is how little I listen
and how often I feel the need to defend MY opinion, MY experience, MY ego.
Context: I've been receiving and responding to Snail Mail from a very dear friend living out West. At first these letters were nice means of keeping in touch, in a meaningful way. However, the depth and degree of each handwritten note continues to surprise me. My ability to recognize such personal pitfalls is not foreign, however being able to share these with another has definitely become a new practice. A practice that is proving to be extremely helpful in creating positive (almost effortless) changes in my habits & impulses.
Step #1. Notice.
Step #2. Accept.
Step #3. Let Go.
After our last phone conversation I felt a pitiful sense of regret for my pushy opinions and subtle [not at all] means of 'advice'.
After a day of such remorse I opened your letter...
"The practice of providing, not pushing."
I'm sure you've picked up on my impulsive need to toss in my two cents.
Please be assured this forcefulness has been a demon since as long as I can remember,
& is most definitely recognized as a shameful incompetency-
one I'm trying to tame.
I am aware, of course (after the fact), that my hasty responses
and 'I know it all' attitude is both a beast and a burden.
I'm also going to assume these patterns are generally brushed off,
maybe even unnoticed.
However, this is a shadow I've been dancing with two left feet.
So instead of running from it, I'll dwell a bit longer....
The question then becomes:
What is it I'm trying to defend?
This habit is not found solely in long distance phone calls, it has plagued me throughout all relationships.
Another question arises:
Why do I feel the need to be heard?
What is it that I'm retorting?
And why exactly do I attach myself so strongly to personal beliefs & opinions?
The answer is not solid, but I must start somewhere...
Maybe it is an empty seat filled with overwhelming doubt?
A lack of self esteem? A tactile response to keeping my head above water?
Instead of focusing on Self, I reflect on the gaps of the external world.
Is there a difference?
Only in the name I give it.
All-in-all, my ego screams to be heard.
This life, these relationships/connections are nothing less
than puddles of pooled lessons, mere reflections.
Am I doing it right? Am I being fulfilled?
If all I see is unfulfillment (flaws, faults, deficiencies) of others, that can only mean a void lies within. To combat the dirty downfall I welcome an integration - to practice listening more than I speak.
Please, be patient with my process.....