While The Rest of the World Is Talking

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I have a challenge for you all.

Just for one day, say nothing. Spend the day without vocally expressing a single sound if you can. Don’t talk to another soul. Just stand back and watch the day go by. Actually, stand back and listen to the world around you. Pay attention to your surroundings. Does the world seem different than it did when you participated actively in it? Likely, it will seem like another reality for you.

You’ll notice a lot more when you play the part of the third person omniscient narrator in someone else’s novel rather than a character or even worse, the protagonist. When you stop to listen and experience instead of participating, you are given the rare opportunity to see the world for what it is instead of your perception of it. It’s easier to see the world when you don’t have to be in the world.

I hate it when life’s author gives me dialogue or things to do in the world. Hey life, let me read the story a little bit instead. I want to be a part of the audience, not a character for once in my life.

I’m a quiet soul. I love sound and speech, but I just don’t like creating them. During the day, if I don’t have to employ my vocal cords to communicate a thought or a need, sounds will not likely escape my throat. Waves of chatter from co-workers and other people who pass me by wash over me as I sit in my chair at my desk and type up my various work tasks. While a lot of people will describe me as someone who doesn’t talk, it is just because I’m trying to take everything in. I may not engage actively in constant conversation with others, but I listen to the conversations they have. I know their stories because I listen.

Most people call me shy or quiet, but in reality, I’m just taking the world in without playing a particular part in it. You could say I’m reading the world.

However, while my desire to observe the world is probably the biggest factor in my lack of speech, it isn’t the only reason.

A lot of my lack of speech comes from my belief in my words having worth or authority in the current conversation. I’ve yet to fully establish why people should listen to nothing  of actual substance. I absolutely need something to say that scratches more than just the surface. I love language, and I am heartbroken when it is taken for granted with meaningless vocalizations. Words matter. They shouldn’t just be used to blandly discuss the atmospheric conditions of the day.

Fear, however, seems to play one of the loudest role in my silence.

People spook me. Call it social anxiety or whatever, but I get nervous to use my voice in the crowd. I don’t have the confidence in my own voice or myself to feel like people should listen to me or care what I have to say when I vocalize something. I’m still trying to figure that part of me out.

Well anyway, the bottom line is listen as much as you talk. Speaking our minds is important, but hearing the

Don’t just hear the sounds of the world. Listen.

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