I was reflecting today about some of my short comings….they are too numerous to list at the moment but that’s what this blog is about…learning, growing and understanding. One such short coming I have that drives me and everyone else crazy is I have a tendency to interrupt and/or finish other peoples sentences. I feel like I am a hummingbird for some reason…..the world and those in it around me just move too slow or I am just moving too fast. I need to stop and slow down. I think one reason I have this particular habit is my mother will take forever to finish a thought (sorry mom). I believe she too has too many thoughts running around in her head so she has to pause to sort out the one she is trying to convey. For people like me that have one setting and that is turbo….waiting for her to finish is a painful process that I usually try to hurry along by interrupting or finishing her thought. Unfortunately this has carried over to everyone. My daughter Jessie would get so frustrated with me because I was continuously trying to finish her thought but I was clueless as to what she was trying to say and now this poor girl is a motor mouth….when she gets nervous she talks so fast only I can understand her.
I was reading to my mother today from a book called Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff….and it’s all small stuff.
In chapter seven, titled “Don’t interrupt Others or Finish Their Sentences” Richard Carlson talks about this very problem I have combated for years. I found it funny and thought I would share what I think should be today’s lesson for myself.
“It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized how often I interrupted others and/or finished their sentences. Shortly thereafter, I also realized how destructive this habit was, not only to the respect and love I received from others but also for the tremendous amount of energy it takes to try to be in two heads at once! Think about it for a moment. When you hurry someone along, interrupt someone, or finish his or her sentence, you have to keep track not only of your own thoughts but of those of the person you are interrupting as well. This tendency (which, by the way, is extremely common in busy people), encourages both parties to speed up their speech and their thinking. This, in turn, makes both people nervous, irritable, and annoyed. It’s downright exhausting. It’s also the cause of many arguments, because if there’s one thing almost everyone resents, it’s someone who doesn’t listen to what they are saying. And how can you really listen to what someone is saying when you are speaking for that person?
Once you begin noticing yourself interrupting others, you’ll see that this insidious tendency is nothing more than an innocent habit that has become invisible to you. This is good news because it means that all you really have to do is to begin catching yourself when you forget. Remind yourself (before a conversation begins, if possible) to be patient and wait. Tell yourself to allow the other person to finish speaking before you take your turn. You’ll notice, right away, how much the interactions with the people in your life improve as a direct result of this simple act. The people you communicate with will feel much more relaxed around you when they feel heard and listened to. You’ll also notice how much more relaxed you’ll feel when you stop interrupting others. Your heart and pulse rates will slow down, and you’ll enjoy your conversations rather than rush through them. This is an easy way to become a more relaxed, loving person.”