Monday, January 17, 2011

Listening to Oneself

I mentioned in my last weekly summary that I'm going to try listening to my rubberducking conversations to see if it leads to any psychological advances of any kind. I have a digital recorder leftover from when I was working to correct my speech impediment (that venture wasn't tracked here), so in addition to using it to document thoughts I have no time to write down I'm going to start recording my conversations and then listen to them before bed at night, and then delete them of course. What do I hope to accomplish in this?

Ever since I started the practice of rubberducking I've noticed that my speaking skills are improving, I'm getting better at introspecting on the fly, and I'm getting more comfortable talking about sensitive topics out loud. It is this last item that is of interest to me, both for my lovability goals and my strength as a person. While one may be comfortable in thinking something quietly in one's mind, it's quite another matter to be able to speak it out loud, and still yet another matter to be able to speak it to another person. Some thoughts generate emotions of such intensity that one may not be able to communicate it clearly or audibly, or at worst may be motivated to evade the subject matter and run away in cowardice, all to just stop experiencing a certain emotion. To allow such discomfort to persist will stunt one's intellectual development, as it'll be harder to engage one's deepest philosophical premises or to discuss them with other people, and can harm one's relationships by preventing bonding due to the avoidance of "uncomfortable" topics. If I am to fully realize myself and become a good person worthy of the value of friendship, this discomfort must be overcome.

Keeping with my rubberducking has done well to establish a certain comfort in speaking about tender subjects, but it has yet to make me comfortable in speaking about those things with other people or to be on the listening end of a conversation. For the former issue I'll certainly have to strive to alter my conversational topics with other people, but I think I can do well to establish comfort in the latter using the content of my own consciousness. Simply, my hypothesis is that I can become more comfortable in engaging in sensitive subjects by listening to myself speak about the issues most deeply meaningful to me. It takes one type of exertion to be able to formulate into words an uncomfortable thought, and another to be able to maturely take them in. What I hope to achieve in development is greater intellectual maturity, better listening skills, and the potential to bond more deeply with someone.

On this last issue, I am motivated to undertake this venture because I have been disappointed before at having my attempt at bonding blow up in my face with people I thought would be there for me. Of the few times I've tried to deepen a relationship I've seen the other person's discomfort make them brush me off, refuse to talk about the subject, or even explode into shouting. What I wanted to talk about was never out of line or inappropriate given the nature of our relationship, so it felt like a betrayal to see such a response coming from them. It not merely prevented our relationship from going to a deeper level, but in a way damaged and destroyed it since I lost respect for those persons. They gave every impression that our relationship was of the strength that such conversational topics would be possible and proper -- and then failed in their roles dramatically. I don't even feel interested in maintaining shallow relations with those particular people since such cowardice gained my contempt.

I don't want to be like that. I don't want to be the guy who can cultivate and cultivate a friendship or romance for months and years -- and then wuss out because a few intense topics made me "scared." The deeper you hurt a person, the quicker you are in losing them.

I usually only rubberduck on the way to and from work these days, but of such precious time I will make use and record my conversations, regardless of whether or not I have anything pressing to say. Then, when I get home and before I go to bed, I shall listen to myself to get in another person's shoes and sit beside myself in the car. If my hypothesis is correct, then I'll come out of this a more mature person.

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