Have you ever left an interaction with a friend, stranger, or acquaintance and upon your exit or drive home, you think to yourself, “Why did I just say that?” or “Did I talk too much?”. Or maybe you can’t quite remember the details of the conversation, however short or long, because you seemed to be in some type of autopilot mode. Maybe I’m crazy and I’m alone in this, but it seems to me that many of us, when faced with a human-to-human interaction, often default to a zone of mindless speech as opposed to carefully thought out words. The chaos that is taking place in each of our minds travels down to our mouths and spills out all over one another, leaving us with a mess of a conversation. Or, in other cases (in which some of us have learned to put our minds on a tighter leash) we formulate a more automated, meaningless, in other words, “Bullshit” conversation. This may be a result of what we now refer to as “social anxiety”, but what creates this habit in the first place?
As a self-proclaimed master “bullshitter”, (which most of us are) my hypothesis is this:
Because we have gone most of our lives in constant thought, and constant conversation, silence is no longer an option. As I continue on my journey to enlightenment, higher consciousness, (or if those terms weird you out, you can interchange them for “peace” or “true happiness”), I have experienced this first hand. Being silent and observing a situation, or simply taking the time to just be before thinking at all, sometimes causes others around you even higher levels of anxiety. I don’t enjoy creating any negative emotions in others, and I would guess most of you feel the same, so why would we even dare to consider it an option, when interacting, to have any moments of silence?
In fact, it seems that in general, our conversations have shifted from meaningful, purposeful content, to an attempt to avoid silence out of fear of “awkwardness”. That’s when we are left with a nervous exchange of empty words.
What I am proposing is not even near as difficult as actually speaking truth. No. You don’t need to tell someone what you actually think, that’s an entirely different mountain to climb. All I am suggesting is that we give ourselves permission to ignore the urge to fill space when we find ourselves face to face with one another. I challenge you to take a few deep breaths before saying anything in a conversation, and if you’re brave enough, only speak if you truly have something valuable to offer. No need to be rude, but don’t let the fear of silence pull you into speaking words that aren’t truly yours. This will take time. Be patient with yourself.
Next time you find yourself in a conversation, ask yourself if you’re speaking because you want to say something or is it just your turn? Just know that being still and mindful will feel so much better than being busy and mindless with your words. My final point here being- Silence is better than bullshit.