Thursday, February 19, 2009

one thing i really don't like

recently, i was strongly reminded of something i really dislike. generally, i'm pretty easy going and don't get upset easily. (at least i think this is true .. ) but last week i was in a situation, and saw again just how much i dislike this particular habit some people have. it may not seem like a big deal, but it feels like a symptom of something bigger.


growing up, my family ate dinner together around the table. we actually sat and ate together and had good conversations. there were things that came up sometimes, and not everybody was always there .. but generally this was true. and when one person talked, everyone else listened. honestly. as a little kid i was quite talkative, and sometimes my parents told me it was somebody else's turn to talk and i needed to eat my food. but the fact that i was able to talk and be heard by everybody? i mean .. i'm 7 years younger than anybody else in my family .. and they all listened to me. i was respected and valued and heard. and in turn, i learned how important it is to respect and value and listen.

but it seems like there are lots of people who haven't learned that lesson. the world isn't always a nice place for quiet people. their voices aren't always sought out. those who are loud and noisy are often those who get what they want. but quiet people have important things to say too. sometimes .. because they have more time to think about what they say .. their words and thoughts are incredibly beautiful. personally, if i have to interrupt to be heard, i often choose to just listen instead of trying to push my way into conversation. not always .. but generally.

so .. when there is lots of interrupting going on, what do i read into it? what do i see? i see disrespect. i see people who aren't assured enough of their own value to let someone else talk. people who feel like they need to speak up to gain approval or to be seen or to prove something. maybe that isn't always true. and interrupting is so common, it is a behavior that can easily be picked up and become a habit. sometimes if you want to be heard, it's just about the only way to accomplish that. but .. it is frustrating. and saddening. if one person is given an opportunity to talk and others keep jumping in, it seems like they don't value that one person. not sure how one could go about changing this in a community .. gently shifting expectations and behaviors .. and even if it should be done .. but it certainly makes me wonder.

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