Here are the titles of three books I’ve recently read:
Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World
The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection
Both by local author, Michael Harris.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain
Perhaps you see a theme?
The other day, after my nine-hour day at a busy retail store, I exclaimed: “my ears hurt”. My colleague laughed but she knew the context. The day was filled with people who just needed to talk and/or interrupt me. They were not necessarily there to listen to answers from me to their questions, but just talk. The day was a diatribe of words accosting my auditory sensibilities……and as a consequence, my ability to think and concentrate.
As an introvert and person who has been trained in communication, leadership, the psychology of sales and counselling with an understanding of Emotional Intelligence, two (of many) things I’ve learned surrounding effective communication are:
1) Ask leading and meaningful and specific open-ended questions and look another in the eye
2) Listen actively to the answers and look another in the eye
(there’s much more to having effective communication skills than these two points, but these will suffice for this article)
I notice many people cannot do this. There seems to be a lack of active engagement between two people who are supposed to be having a communication experience. I would say that most of this has to do with distraction. Either someone is just ‘looking around the store and talking out loud to anyone who will listen’, or glancing at their iPhone, or just caught up in their own head and life.
This just doesn’t show up in my work life, I see it in my volunteering and personal life as well.
I don’t know when my sensitivity of constant sound – and not just people talking incessantly, but all kinds of non-nature sounds – became such a challenge. I think it just kind of morphed over time.
Although I do remember stomping out of a nightclub in my early 20’s to get away from all the ‘noise’. Though I kept going back for some stupid reason. Wanted to have fun, I guess. HA!
In my late 20’s I really started to notice how certain environments could really affect me. Sound, movement and smells. Too much or too noxious and I’m ready to puke.
I feel I’ve resurrected my own sense of peace. As a young person I was pretty much on my own to entertain myself. I was okay with this, but then I guess I got caught up in having to be out there and be with the ‘crowd’.
Didn’t really work for me, in several ways. Learned the hard way as many of us do.
I am totally at peace just hanging out in my apartment and watching the masses of people down at Kits beach and English Bay tonight. I have my music, writing, library books, new ukulele and a kitty for the weekend. I have the mountain and water and sunset view. I have peace in my wee apartment. Peace and quiet. My music. My smells. My movement (and of course the pitter patter of tiny kitty feet).
Some may accuse me of being anti-social or reclusive. Not so. I am IN the world almost EVERY day of my life with my paid and volunteer work. Both very intense! This is good for me, but it can be challenging. The introvert in me HAS to recharge my batteries on the day(s) I am not engaged in doing work and being out there on the busy city streets.
Another couple of realizations to add to all this. Today I decided to walk six blocks out of my way so I could get to my destination without going through the throngs of people on the busier corridors.
I heard birds, and smelled flowers and saw bumblebees. There was no having to navigate the sidewalk with pedestrians, strollers, joggers, people zigging and zagging for whatever reason. (and of course the smell of cigarettes, vaping and pot….not pleasant for me AT ALL!)
And, while riding the elevator up and down to the laundry room this evening, I talked with two young people about their experience at being at Kits beach, both said, in an exasperated way: “there were a lot of people down there!”
So, I guess I’m not the only person who feels Sensory Overloaded. 🙃
~Christine, June into July 2019