I don’t usually talk that much. I’m more of a listener, an observer. But I do think about things quite a bit. And when I’ve thought things through for a while, particularly if it’s a topic that has piqued my interest, anomalies I’ve noticed, or an area where my personal philosophy seems to differ from the norm, then I like to share my discoveries.
I’m noticing, however, that when I choose to share my thoughts aloud, my friends or acquaintances often don’t want to hear them. Perhaps they’re caught up in their own line of thought, unused to me speaking up, or worse, they feel challenged by my assertions. Then they get defensive and try to refute or negate what I’m saying.
Maybe my approach needs to be fine-tuned. I like to help people when they seem unhappy, so sometimes the thoughts I share are offered from a place of “perhaps I can help” or “here’s a different way to look at it.” Of course, I could wait until I’m asked for my advice or opinion. But then the person asking wants an immediate response, and there’s no time for thoughtfulness and contemplation.
The thing is, I really can’t do the debate thing anymore. There quickly becomes a lot of emotion involved, and not the joyful kind. I had some rough experiences with this in the past, on serious topics, with much angst all around. Lately, these conversations have been about what I would consider “lighter” subjects, like how to watch sports without getting upset at the outcome, or how to teach kids about healthy eating without being coercive, but still…the debate-style talk becomes a strategy game, like chess, with moves and counter-moves.
Then it becomes a competition, and someone is “right” and thus “wins.” The other person is “wrong,” or at least “less right,” and thus “loses.” I don’t want to be a part of that. To me, it shuts down the channels of communication through which we can share and learn from each other.
That’s why it’s so important to me to be a published author. There are many related reasons, actually: only those who are truly interested need read my writings; they read them in the privacy of their own home, with debates safely removed from my personal space; and I write much more clearly than I speak. There’s also less pressure to respond in the moment – I have time to craft my thoughts so that they (hopefully) express the wisdom I wish to share.
So if I seem even quieter than usual, I’m simply saving it up for the next blog entry, article, or book. And if you really do want to hear what I have to say, keep reading!