Friday, August 10, 2012

I might need to think this over...

I have been told that I think too much.  A few times, by a few people.  So naturally, I start looking into this.  And basically that causes me to think about it.  I guess it could be true.  I suppose I like to think that I am taking in information and making sense of it.  I like to go deep, I’m usually just thinking about what others are saying or doing around me, possibly in an effort to understand how I relate in comparison, or how best to understand and relate to what’s being shared.  It might even be a result of really hearing someone and giving what they are saying great credence and thoughtfulness, which certainly requires thinking. I take in most heavy information this way.  Not all information, just the big heavy variety, and I have been in an unusually long period of heaviness.  I don't really stress the small stuff and turn it into big stuff. 

Recently when I was told this, I decided to think it over.  I am big on reflection and I thought this needed a little examining.  I am not entirely sure if I think too much based on what I have been hearing someone else say lately, because I have also been told I don’t listen.  Except that I have heard this, so I must have been listening.  But hearing and listening aren’t exactly the same.  I suppose it’s kind of like tasting and eating? Or touching and feeling?  Smoking and inhaling?  OK I suppose I might be overthinking this… I might need to think about that….

I am usually listening, I may not always appear to be acting in kind.  I’m kinda wiggly, and fidgety.  I do sometimes jump ahead which means I may not be listening actively.  I’m fairly active, all the time.  It’s incredibly difficult for me to be inactive and listening.  I might be actively attending to something else in relation to one part of what I heard while I was listening and then I am off and running, or pouncing or pulling up facts and figures to substantiate what was said earlier….It’s definitely active and listening but maybe not active listening.    I sometimes start attending to something else as I listen, I get distracted easily.  But in reality?  I am listening, I will be thinking about what I heard for quite some time afterwards and reflecting and considering from a variety of angles.  I listen in the utmost active way and I can recall a great deal of what was shared long afterwards in case you want to discuss it at a later date.

It has been said that I am intense.  I can’t exactly comment on that, well I could but I don't like to think about it.  Because I have nothing to add.  Or retract.  That’s one that I have to sheepishly move to the back of the room and hang low and hope no one saw me enter, until something is said that I hear and I don't like much because it is way off base and somewhat damaging or disturbing and then I don’t think about it long enough and just go right ahead and react to, or respond to, or scream at, or stare down, or hrumpf at.   And that might be when, you are sorry I didn’t think that through a little more carefully or maybe just a little more. I don't react intensely to everything that I hear and don't agree with, it's those big heavy damaging things.... ya know, the intensely wrong information.

I like to think that I am impassioned.  And thoughtful.  And I also like to think that I do listen really well, most times.  It is true that I am often distracted and excited about one thing or another.  I don’t think this is necessarily bad, I do think it is not easy for everyone to deal with.  And, in that case, they may want to think some things over without questioning me for my thinking or their perception of my thoughts or thought process.  

When it is clear that what is being shared is in need of my full attention, I am a good listener. But this is a collaborative effort, this listening and being listened to.  I am going to need a few things established if you want me to really listen.  I need to be in a quiet location, so that I may fully listen, because well, I listen to everything.  I need to be able to see and hear and sometimes even feel what is being shared.  I rely heavily on eye contact and inflection and tone.  Non-verbal cues are really very telling and might scream out information that is missing from the verbal telling.  I may need clarification and the opportunity to ask questions so that I can fully understand.  Not because I need to overthink or analyze.  I take listening pretty seriously and I prefer not to jump to conclusions or react too quickly.  Maybe this is something I might have a tendency toward in the absence of clarity and the presence of passion.  Aside from thinking, I also like to be active and action comes from response and reaction, but I might benefit from slowing down here before bounding off and responding or reacting in an effort to be active.

On a final note, after reviewing the issue of thinking too much, I did a little research.  It turns out if a person suffers from thinking too much, they typically don't do very much.  They tend to suffer from "paralysis by analysis"  meaning they aren't able to act on  very much because they are too busy thinking too much and worrying about too many things, and well, I don't have time to think about all of this, I have way too much to do.  But I am more than happy to listen, actively, in the presence of your company and a quiet location if you have something important to share with me. 

1 comment:

Celia Abernethy said...

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.
Epictetus, Greek Philosopher