Six perks to speak­ing less and lis­ten­ing more

Walker County Messenger - - Sports - By Pam Young

Does your mouth get you into more trou­ble than any other hole in your body?

Thank good­ness we only have one mouth! How many times have you wished that you didn’t say that, or didn’t eat or drink that?

I’m sure there’s a le­git­i­mate rea­son why we were made with one mouth and two ears, in­stead of the other way around. Maybe there’s a clue here to the ra­tio of use. What if, just for to­day, we lis­ten more than we speak? How do you think you’ll feel tonight when you go to bed?

We’ve been blessed with the pre­cious gift of speech, but this gift (as with ev­ery gift) can be abused and come back to bite us. Bal­anc­ing speak­ing and lis­ten­ing will serve you in great ways. I’m sug­gest­ing we use our mouths half as much as we use our ears (just for to­day).

Here are 6 ben­e­fits to speak­ing less and lis­ten­ing more. At the end of my ar­ti­cle, I’ll share how I stopped nag­ging as a young, sin­gle mom of three chil­dren ages 4, 9 and 12. 1. You’ll ac­com­plish more As long as your goal is to make your world a bet­ter place, lis­ten­ing will al­ways beat speak­ing un­less you’re Oprah. And when your fo­cus switches from talk­ing to do­ing a house­hold chore, you’ll ac­com­plish so much more! When you speak less, you nat­u­rally do more. If you could hush up for five min­utes a day, in a month you would’ve given your­self two and a half hours of quiet ac­tion time. Just like a pic­ture is worth a thou­sand words, so is a hug, a home­cooked din­ner, a clean bath­room, fresh laun­dry and a hun­dred other acts of love. 2. What’s im­por­tant shows up You’ve got a smart phone, so who’s the smartest, you or the phone? You’re the smart one if you limit your use to what serves you and up­lifts you. In­for­ma­tion overload cre­ated by the in­ter­net is a choice. You get to de­cide how much of your time is go­ing to be spent on the In­ter­net or yakking on the phone.

The next time you start to call some­one, ask your­self, “Is this re­ally im­por­tant or will I be talk­ing just to hear my own voice?” If it isn’t im­por­tant, hang up and write a thank you note to some­one you love. 3. Re­duces stress Think of some­thing you can do with your fam­ily, in si­lence. See what hap­pens if you and your mate go for a walk with­out talk­ing or watch the sun­set with­out com­ment or eat a speech­less meal. Terry and I play a card game with friends that in­volves deal­ing many dif­fer­ent hands start­ing with each per­son get­ting one card up to one hand where each per­son gets 13 cards. One of the hands is de­clared a silent hand and no one is al­lowed to speak un­til the next deal. It al­ways ends up in laugh­ter and it’s usu­ally a woman who breaks the si­lence!

Once I told my three bick­er­ing chil­dren that I wanted quiet. I said, “You can keep play­ing, but the first one who talks has to fold this load of clean clothes and put them away.” It was amaz­ing how qui­etly they played, (one was cut­ting out pic­tures in a cat­a­log, one was play­ing with Le­gos and one was play­ing with her doll). Af­ter about five min­utes of golden si­lence, the first sounds I heard were laugh­ter and then whis­per­ing.

4. You’ll learn valu­able lessons

Re­ally lis­ten­ing gives to the per­son who is speak­ing time to fin­ish his or her thoughts and for you to learn from his or her per­spec­tive with­out in­ter­rup­tion. Pre­tend you’re in an au­di­ence lis­ten­ing to a speaker.

Our friends and rel­a­tives are our teach­ers and those that seem to be the hard­est ones to lis­ten to are our great­est teach­ers with our big­gest life lessons to learn. (Even if the les­son is that you don’t want to be like the per­son.) 5. Gain Re­spect When you think be­fore you speak, you al­low what you say to be wise and not just thought­less jab­ber. Peo­ple will be more apt to lis­ten to you if what comes out of your mouth has been through your men­tal laun­dry room. Let kind­ness and love pre­vail and hold your tongue (lit­er­ally if it’ll shut you up) if you think some­thing snarky or mean is go­ing to come from us­ing it.

6. Get di­vine guid­ance and get to know your­self bet­ter

All the ben­e­fits I’ve writ­ten about have to do with be­ing quiet and lis­ten­ing to those out in your world, but there’s a whole world within you and when you be­come still, you’ll re­ceive the wis­dom you need at any given time. There is the di­vine voice that’s al­ways broad­cast­ing to you but you must be quiet to hear it.

“Be still and know mighty in the midst of you is God.”

When you’re writ­ing, some­thing very in­ter­est­ing will hap­pen: you’ll be re­quired to lis­ten. In that si­lence you’ll hear what you re­ally think and you’ll get to know your­self bet­ter. You will be with you through­out eter­nity and get­ting to know who you re­ally are and what you think is prob­a­bly the best ben­e­fit of lis­ten­ing.

For more from Pam Young go to www. clubor­ga­ You’ll find many mus­ings, videos of Pam in the kitchen pre­par­ing de­li­cious meals, videos on how to get or­ga­nized, lose weight and get your fi­nances in or­der, all from a re­formed SLOB’s point of view. Pam’s books are also avail­able on Ama­zon.

Pam Young

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