I am known for being talkative and longwinded. I often have something to say and I rarely allow others to get a word in edgewise. I dominate the bulk of the conversations I engage in and have a tendency to always feel the need to put my two cents in.
While there are times when I get extremely silent (which sends my loved ones off into a state of concern for me), for the most part I am always talking and always laughing.
I have been aware that my loquaciousness isn’t necessarily a positive character trait since I was a pre-teen.
And so for years I have been working on it. I work on it because even though I know that it is a part of my personality, I also know it could definitely use some fine tuning.
I work on it for several reasons. One of which is that I recognize that it prevents me from being a good listener.
For example when my friends call to tell me about their day and I don’t give them voice to speak that is an act of selfishness on my part. And I do not care to be selfish.
Furthermore, I had to learn to be quiet as not to be a know it all. Because the truth is, I don’t know it all. And on the occasion that I am a master at a subject I have come to realize that I don’t always need to make it known to everyone everything that I know.
When it comes to making a decision I try to stop and ask the question:
What’s my motivation?
Whenever my friends call to ask me for advice I often ask them:
What’s your motivation?
From there I challenge them to ask is their motivation positive or negative.
Understand that whenever I ask myself this question, I pause, get really silent and search myself internally for the truth.
Asking this question has proven successful for me time and time again. And that is why I share it with my close friends and also why I am sharing it with you.
For, if my motivation is not pure and from a positive place I don’t feel comfortable saying or doing the thing in question.
By asking myself ‘what’s my motivation’ I talk less than I did in my past because I am filtering out negative conversation.
If my motivation for speaking is solely to brag so I can sound superior I have found I benefit more when I choose to refrain from speaking. I refrain because I realize that it is unneccessary. I know who I am and for me it is not necessary for others to know who I am.
If my motivation for speaking is to engage in gossip, I try to hold my tongue. I do this because I recognize my purpose is to uplift others and not to tear them down.
If my motivation for speaking is to dominate a conversation because I think that I am right and the other person is wrong. Then I pause to recognize that I am missing an excellent opportunity to learn and to hear the thoughts of another. For in truth I am not 100% right. I am flawed and so I have a lot to learn. It is only when I take the time out to listen to the thoughts and ideas that others bring to the table that I am able to clearly see in a greater way that I don’t have all the answers.
I don’t have to agree with them, but there is a level of growth that comes in respecting the thoughts of another.
Over the years I have come to find that it is when I am busy speaking without checking my motivation that the lying, exaggerating, gossiping, negative talk, slander and hurtful words escape my mouth. Using my words to do those things doesn’t please me. This is because, I believe that I am responsible for the words I speak. And with that being my belief I strive to speak life and not death.
And yet there are times when I fail.
Like the times when someone wasn’t particularly kind to me and I shared my negative thoughts about them to someone else.
Or the times when I made those jokes at the expense of others. My laughter brought someone pain, and that is not something that I am proud of.
And the times when I used self-depricating humor and actively engaged in negative self-talk. There are enough people in this world who will speak negatively about me, I don’t ever need to become one of them. They can have that job, for as Byron Katie says “It isn’t your job to love me, that’s my job!”. Therefore me speaking negatively of myself is not in my job description!
Additionally, I often ask my ‘What’s your motivation’ question before I act.
Sometimes I want to send a text or email and I stop to ask myself what is my motivation?
For example, am I sending this message out of love or to make the person feel guilt.
When I give to someone I stop and ask is this because I want to manipulate a person and/or situation or is it because I genuinely want to release something and place it in the life of another.
If my motivation is the former then I do not give because I know I am not releasing it from a healthy place. However, if it is for the latter reason then I give and I give freely.
I must admit, I don’t always consciously ask this question but I do think it enough that it has become a gauge in my life. I have been doing this for almost a decade and I have seen what I believe to be great improvement in my behavior.
Everynight before I go to bed I take an account of my day. And I make an honest attempt to see, if possible how I could have responded to people and situations better. I do this to strive to become a better me. I replay the conversations and interactions that I had throughout the day. Not to beat myself up, but to build myself into a healthier me.
If I find myself at fault I forgive myself and within reason seek forgiveness from the person that I offended.
Again, I don’t beat myself up about it. I simply try to become aware of who I am in an effort to become the best version of myself.
Am I still talkative? – Yes, very much so.
But my voice is much less judgmental, I engage is far less negative self talk, I am listening more and gossiping much less. I work not to laugh at the expense of others and I try not to speak negatively with the motivation of harm.
In essence I am loving me and those around me enough to use my voice to bring life to situations.
So before you get ready to do or say something take a moment and ask yourself ‘What’s my motivation’. If it is to help others, to improve yourself, to help others to grow, to show love and kindness or to be a good friend and it truly comes from a healthy place then that is a act or word of love and I have found it best to go with it.
But if it is to put you or someone else down, to criticize and fault find, to gossip, to act superior, to elicit jealousy, to try to cause harm and/or the words or action comes from an unhealthy place I have learned that those words and actions don’t yield the best reward. And so I try refrain from them.
I encourage you to love yourself enough to try to speak and act from a positive place and in doing so you will start to experience positive things.
So, what’s your motivation?
© Renata Pittman, Renata Nicole and RenataNicole, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.