So my husband and I have both been trying to make changes in our lives. He’s recently given up Facebook, and I’m not far behind (I’m giving up the personal one only, the professional one will still exist.). We’ve given up any and all pay internet tv (we already don’t have cable or satellite). Then he came up with a new challenge early this week. And while it didn’t last long, it did have a great effect.
The idea was this: to go until the end of the week and not talk to each other unless it was about something necessary to run the household. No, this was not “we’re in a fight and we’re not talking because we’re upset.” Instead this was, “let’s not distract ourselves with using too many words and focus on what we are thinking, feeling, etc and why are we doing so.” It was, in many ways, the ultimate magnifying glass for ourselves.
And while the challenge only lasted one day, it was more than enough to show us just how much we talk just to hear ourselves talk, but also so that we cover up the voices that our constantly chattering inside our heads. Little challenges like teaching ourselves to not talk unless necessary is a phenomenal way to be more observant in every other aspect of our lives.
Doing a challenge such as this also has other benefits. While we didn’t make it the whole week without speaking, by the end of the week our conversations were less superficial and much more in depth than we have had in a long time. It’s helped us to reconnect on a deep level that we haven’t done in a long time.
This isn’t an exercise that you have to do only with a spouse, or long-term partner. You can do this at anytime, with anyone. It doesn’t even take multiple people (though the experience will be much more fulfilling with a focused group setting the same intention). You can choose to do this totally on your own just to learn to focus more, and pay more attention to small details in every day life.
For me, I intend to continue to talk less and try and pay attention more. I also intend to set up the challenge again, and see if we can carry it through a longer period of time. I’m looking forward to enjoying the silence.