How many times have you listened to someone’s heartfelt story, not saying what you were thinking? Why do we do this? For many reasons actually. We were taught it’s impolite to interrupt, it would hurt someone’s feelings and or it shows them we care if we are an attentive listener, to name a few. I was listening to a pastor this morning on the radio. I enjoy this person, his messages are very much in alignment with what God has guided me to share. This morning however, he was teaching not to interrupt when someone is speaking, to be a good listener and allow the person to express everything they want to share. It was in the context of creating “good” relationships that honor those you love. I would agree there are many situations this might apply, however absolutely not in every situation. There are as many situations being polite doesn’t apply as there are that do. As well as numerous versions of the length of time to listen before interrupting the flow of storytelling that’s occurring.
There’s the rub, there’s a lot of storytelling coming from peoples emotional field of past experiences. The unconscious world that exists within us is continually showing up outside of us. It shows up in our communicative offering to those we are in relationship with. Everyone has similar foundations, as well as a wide variety of experiences, creating the platform we function from. We all have Mothers and Fathers, relatives, friends and experiences with education, vacations, homes, necessities (food, clothing, utilities) that have shaped our lives. What we experienced as we were cared and provided for created the platform we interact and communicate from. To add to this, we carry everything our lineage has ever experienced in our DNA. All this being said, you begin to get the picture as to why it’s not always useful to just sit and listen.
Everyone’s unconscious world is playing out in the physical world, often un be knowns to them. Just as it’s useful to stop enabling the physical actions of an alcoholic, we wouldn’t want to enable someone’s story that’s simply an old repeating pattern no longer useful in their life. Interruption appropriately placed is a Break State. A Break State is of great importance when ending old patterns and implementing new ones.
As stated in NLP world, “A break state is a sudden change in the context of speaking or movement that changes a person’s state quickly. An example would be to conjure a picture in your mind, once you have done this, open your eyes and clear your mind by stretching and looking around the room. In NLP, this is called a break state. Another example is, after doing an exercise; break state by thinking about smelling flowers. A break state is also when you break from the state completely by thinking or talking about or doing something completely different like listening to a piece of music, reading the paper, doing some exercise. Breaking the state is very important as it serves to leave one state behind and enter into a ‘neutral state’. This helps to reduce or even stop the residue or contamination from one state to another. It acts like a bridge. People sometimes find it difficult going from one state to another, especially if they are both powerful states. The break state acts as a stepping stone, a bridge that is neutral to both states.”
Conscious communication skills answer the question when is it polite to interrupt? When someone is talking, heading in an opposite direction than where they would like to be, interrupting is a very polite and caring action to take. It stops the flow of the old repeating pattern. Having a discussion about what they were sharing before you interrupted is very useful. Asking lots of questions and communicating with the person about what they were discussing allows them to STOP and think about it in a different way. It also allows them to feel how resistant they may be to change and letting go of their story. More importantly, this type of conscious communication allows for both people to really get to know one another. Trust that it’s safe to express and share openly, lovingly and honestly.
There are many ways to interrupt the flow, literally saying “OK, stop” let’s talk about that for a moment.” As discussed above, doing something different, like getting up to go to the bathroom can also interrupt someone’s flow politely. God has a way of interrupting as well! I never tell people to turn their phones off in my speaking events because I know if God wants complete silence in the room that’s what will happen. Likewise if there is a need for an interruption, phones with all of their fun ringtones can be used in beautiful and useful ways. I’ve experienced it happen many times. I welcome every late person with open arms to any of my events. Why, because they are right on time. The timing of their entrance into the group adds to what’s going in that moment and often gives everyone the momentary break that’s useful. In that moment the shift in thought allows effective integration of the information being shared.
I am not suggesting that you should ignore or tell someone what they share is “right or wrong or good or bad.” I am suggesting that you pay attention to what they are saying, at the same time paying attention to what you are experiencing as they talk. When you communicate and interact in this conscious manner with honesty and respectful expression of what you are experiencing, it’s both useful and effective. Having an open honest relationship with out the manipulation of what you think will hurt someone’s feelings or offend is how everyone can get to know each other. If we know one another, we will be more successfully choosing people who enhance our life’s. Conscious communication allows for long lasting empowered intra and interpersonal relationships to be created. Remember, sometimes interrupting is the most loving polite choice you can make.
Thank you for sharing in another present moment experience of our Beautiful world.
Love and Light Susan Newton