I don’t think you’ll meet many people who say that they find their own thoughts, on most occasions, annoying as hell.
Well, today is your lucky day. I’m one of those people. :-)
If I were able to sit across from me while I start overthinking, I would probably first stare at myself in disbelief for the hardcore branching out of my brain, then – unable to bear the incredible noise thoughts create – I’d hold my hands against my ears and scream
“Cut it out!
This is … JUST … NUTS!”
And then there would be silence.
That’s really the only way to make my thoughts stop ... for a while; by becoming aware of what's going on in my brain. Only then can I tell the thoughts to get lost and give me a break.
I’m actually very proud of myself to have come this far and being able to catch my thoughts while they have a rock concert and a blast in my mind. As I wrote in my last post My dark side those thoughts can be quite cruel.
Sometimes I witness someone else how their thoughts "go mean", and I wished I could just shush (in the most caring way) that person. Especially, if the thoughts are not so much against themselves but more against people around them.
Too often we say something that can be upsetting, hurtful, ignorant, or/and aggressive.
All this makes me wonder:
If millions of us walk around with a head on our shoulders filled with A WORLD of unrealistic, senseless, and unhealthy thoughts – regardless of whether they are against ourselves or others – is there even a way how we can at least reduce those clashes of WORLDS between humans in daily life?
Before going deeper into this question, let me first give you an example for what I mean with "how WORLDS clash" and how we lack in communication skills:
The other day my sister-in-law came over to our house. First, let me point out that I care about her very much and respect her for doing a fabulous job on being a single mother and raising a cute and wonderful boy.
The other day she had bought a present for our mom for Mother’s Day in all our names, and my husband and I told her we’d pay her our share next time we see each other. On that day though both my husband and I didn’t have any cash at home and we apologized to her, saying we’ll have it ready next time.
„Why am I not surprised?“ was how she commented on that.
The words were out and gone as quick as a cat slides on a slippery floor.
My brain still managed to record it though but left the analysis and the headache for later.
Now, you could look at the comment from different perspectives – from funny, sarcastic, to harmless or thoughtless.
In the end though, after our sister left and my husband and I talked about the evening, we discovered that in our minds we both had recorded the same episode of the night and that we both had been taken aback by the comment. We wondered what made her say that, especially with a slightly bitter tone mixed with a smile as if to camouflage some kind of negative emotion.
Coming back to my theory with our WORLDS and carrying our own stories with us when we are with and around people:
My husband heard the comment through his WORLD – meaning, who HE is, what personality HE has, what history HE has with his family and his sister, and on top of that, how his day at work was.
He felt attacked and utimately hurt by her tiny comment as he wondered what his sister was hinting at: As far as he remembered, he had never borrowed a big amount of money from her, small amounts he had always paid back, and when going out together or going on a family trip he tries to cover most of the expenses.
I on the other hand, don’t have a long history with my sister-in-law but I noticed that my WORLD was thinking that I don’t know anyone who takes his small and big debts as serious as my husband, and that I always see him cover most of the expenses when we go on family trips. Ultimately, I noticed how defensive I felt regarding my husband and sad at the same time for sensing a potential family constellation difficulty rising up on the far horizon.
As for my sister-in-law, I can only come up with random guesses about what went on in her and HER world: Maybe my husband DID forget to give her back her money a couple of times when they were younger or in their twenties and that’s what SHE remembers.
She might have had a bad day and just felt like letting it out in some way.
Sometimes we have expectations on people close to us that they possibly can't live up to, which makes us feel disappointed in them. I still catch myself thinking like that in certain moments and maybe my sister-in-law went through the same thing – having an expectation completely unrelated to the situation simply because you have the urge to release a disappointment that’s been boiling in you for ages.
my two reasons
As an overthinker I’ve thought this over (woohoo) and here is my conclusion. WORLDS clash 24/7 for two reasons:
1) Despite the Internet, phones, social media, afternoon teas, let’s not be fooled - humanity is still in the early stages of development when it comes to communication skills. The things named above are just tools and NOT methods for how to communicate in a kind and efficient way with each other and we seem to mix up tools with methods. 2) people like me who are tiringly sensitive need to grow a thicker skin and not take things too personal.
I’m not a politician, or a scientist, nor am I a philosopher. My blog is probably just being read by a handful of loyal and dear friends, and is surely not comparable to a statement on facebook. This post is not a declaration, so, let’s all relax and not feel offended by my naive, utopianlike dreamy proposal for how we could start having a kinder and more understanding sort of communication between human beings.
my humble proposal
So, what to do about these WORLD clashes?
1) How about we all get more involved in reading, sharing, and listening to spiritual teachers like Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, and Neale Donald Walsch. They teach us how to self-inquire our thoughts that make us suffer and become more aware of them. If more of us started to understand what’s going on in us, and how we can work on ourselves (rather than trying to change others around us) then we could enjoy ourselves and our lives more. We’d not only shake up this world in a positive way but we’d also be passing this way of thinking on to our children and the next generations.
2) A lot of us think that we are good listeners, where, in fact, we are still far, far away from what being a good listener means. Often we are not really following what the other person says. Instead we prepare our next sentence we want to contribute to the conversation. Our reactions are not neutral and our comments are focused on our own stories. These two elements unfortunately end up in the other person derailing from what they originally wanted to share with us.
3) We should learn how to speak to each other with respect and become more aware of how we use language. There are ways we can learn how to be more understanding, how to choose kinder ways to say somthing and still make sure our message comes across and that we are able to limit set the other person in case we feel our rights or feelings are being stepped on.
4) Wouldn’t it be great if all these commiunication methods mentioned above were actually part of every education system all around the world? Just like math is a subject, communication skills should be one too.
What a wonderful world that would be.
For now, all I can do is try to do 1), 2), 3) and be kind to myself while trying to learn these things, and simply spread the word.