Many people don’t actually listen to you when you’re talking.
Have you noticed?
Their eyes may dart all around you, looking at everything and everyone BEHIND you, but rarely focusing on your face
Or they may have positioned their phone on the table in front of them and periodically glance down, breaking eye contact with you and making you feel like — you’re not listening to me you bloody bitch, Susan
Or maybe they look like they’re paying attention & you THINK they’re listening, but you notice they rarely make any useful / appropriate comments about what you’re saying — meaning they’re actually all up in their head…
Stuck in a fog of internal thought.
They can’t help it — its hard to concentrate on what’s going on around them when their mind is running through an internal checklist, or internally whinging about the situation in their head, like: “This fcking chair is digging into my spine, I’ve got a splitting headache — how much longer will she want to stay here?
If you’ve ever seen that TV show OFFSPRING — with Asher Keddie (AKA Nina Proudman) then you’ll be all too familiar with this distracting inner chatter.
Nina is constantly dragged around by her mind, distracted by a string of thoughts, constantly imagining scenarios in her head
She’s what you’d call — ‘off with the fairies’ most of the time.
Apparently for up to 70–80% of our day, we are LOST IN THOUGHT.
Whether you’ve thought about it or not, did you know that being lost in thought is actually quite draining?
Most of the time were either dwelling on the past, or getting too far ahead of ourselves, stressing about the future
Its not exactly peaceful to be lost in thought — therefore you aren’t exactly happy either.
So, potentially you are unhappy 70–80% of your day.
Geez, thanks dickhead.
Not to worry, we’re all in the same boat with this dilemma.
First way out of this mind fuckery?
I thought you’d never ask.
My mindfulness coach suggested I name my mind
I called her Nancy, Nance for short (as in Negative Nancy)
I know, could have been more creative but this one just kinda gelled with me
And no, before you ask, I am not suffering from schizophrenia — I’m talking about the normal diarrhea of inner chatter that everyone has
I decided she wasn’t me & started to think of her as my anxious, over-thinker, little ‘roommate’ (who is a bit of a dick but has the best of intentions).
Next is to start noticing how often and exactly what your mind says to you:
- That you look tired;
- That your skin is terrible today;
- That its Monday and therefore you’re going to have a shit day.
So much complaining.
(Its très annoying)
There are repetitive ‘stories’ that it feeds you. You should start to notice what they are and label them, so that next time one comes up, instead of getting bogged down by it, you can just label it, like:
“Ah, yes, the: ‘I’m A Shit Saver’ story (for every time I buy something other than necessities) my mind says to me:
See, you cant help yourself, always buying shit. No wonder you never have enough savings
But to do this you first just need to be AWARE. Awareness is key, friends.
As far as being a shit listener goes, next time your with a mate, instead of waiting for the point in the conversation where you can interrupt and give your opinion or share your story, show some goddamn restraint and allow the other person to say what they want to say.
It’s not all about you and getting everything you want to say out, you know?
If you’re a level 10 phone addict and social media stalker, how about we just keep your phone in your bag, pocket, throw it over the other side of the road so you’re not constantly responding to every ‘ping’ and being distracted from your mate.
If you’re particularly scatty today — BEFORE you sit down to talk/listen — take 10 mins to yourself to get centered. Don’t arrive feeling rushed and flustered and then banging on about how stressed, late, annoyed you are for the first 15 mins of the conversation.
Its okay if your mind wanders when you’re practicing this ‘listening’, just gently refocus on your person when it tries to distract you with reminders to shave your pits and get the meat out of the freezer for dinner tonight.
(I love to watch the way peoples lips move when they speak, its just a weird habit but it’s my tool for getting myself to concentrate on someone when they’re speaking)