Have you ever been sitting, having an amazing and animated conversation with someone, and simultaneously been acutely aware of doing something you deeply hate about yourself? Thinking to yourself ‘gosh if I could only stop (insert said fault here).’
This morning I had two delightful women over for breakfast. Conversation drifted from how to make a good cuppa coffee, to how to give a good adjustment in natarajasana (we’re all yoga teachers), to how to deliver your child into the world (you know – all the important stuff.) We were animated- smiling and laughing throughout the brunch. As much as I was enjoying their company and the conversations, I was simultaneously detesting something about myself.
You see, I’m an interrupter. I’ve known this about myself for years. My sister pointed this out to me (in a way only a sister can get away with) when I was younger – and it stung. Colleagues who care deeply for me have given me this same feedback – and it still stings. This is not new news to me. I can actually mentally step outside of myself during a conversation and watch myself interrupt or talk over someone and some part deep inside my heart cringes.
It isn’t purposeful or malicious. During the conversation, an idea bubbles up from the ether and inflates growing in pressure and excitement to the point that it just bubbles over and spills out my mouth. Unfortunately, it often does so over top of the idea or words of another. To be clear, I in no way believe my ideas to be more valuable than an others. It’s a filtering issue. I simply get so excited to share that I can’t hold it and they spew out of my mouth. Regrettably I find this organic expansion of energy difficult to contain. It’s like the intention to hit the breaks is there, and then you slam on them but it’s too late and you just smash into the interruption anyways.
Louise Hay would probably have something radical to say about self acceptance. I can just hear her soothing granny voice now “ohhh darling”. As though I’d done something foolish but harmless. And perhaps she’s right. Perhaps instead of beating myself up about it I can be a bit gentler. However – this isn’t putting a plug in the rudeness. Nor the effect it has on the victim of the interruptassault.
If part of yoga is ‘bearing witness’, how does one respond when one witnesses an undesirable behavior? Maybe my practice is simply to keep widening the gap between stimulus and response. Ultimately I can better control the simmer of excitement in my belly to time it’s boil to the ‘appropriate’ moment in the conversation. I am acutely aware of trying to bite my tongue. Bahh! It’s so hard! What part of ‘biting ones tongue’ is to abide by certain “social graces” and what part is playing small and holding back what I have to share?
So far, the best solution I can dream up, is to do my best to love myself in spite of this. To keep witnessing my habit. To keep lengthening my listening. The other day, I heard somebody say “Perfection is boring. It’s our faults that make life interesting because they make us grow.”
(My inner Virgo calls bullshit.)
Alas – with each conversation I learn. More about me, so I can be more me. I am able to create space for others to be more them. In the words of Marianne Williamson, “as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
(Do you have something you hate about yourself? Are you an interrupter? How do you manage this about yourself to find peace and growth? Tips appreciated.