Tag Archives: anxiety

Are You One of the Quiet People?

Become-a-Quiet-Person

There is no such thing as absolute quiet within our world. Rather, there is the absence of certain sounds. I have control over some of them and powerlessness before other ones.

For some people quiet means something is wrong. They are never without some form of noise. The television or radio must be on, or ear buds  must always be securely in place. A break in a conversation must be filled in with words.

For us it is the opposite. By temperament we are quiet people. Silence means that all is well. I know where this comes from in my life and it is not because I am an extreme introvert or anything like that. I grew up in an anxious family where the emotional tension was palpable at times. When things were stressful my father would get angry and withdraw and my mother would talk – compulsively. The more tense the situation, the more my Mom would talk. The television was rarely off in the evenings. I think it served as an emotional buffer a part of the time.

I remember a vacation we took up the coast of California. We had one of those little travel trailers, less than 15 feet long. It was designed to sleep a bunch of people and not much more. My Mom decided driving up Highway 1 between San Simeon and Carmel would be a fun idea. My Dad thought otherwise, but being somewhat a passive-aggressive person, he agreed. Our station wagon was relatively old, and navigating the narrow, sometimes steep road pulling a trailer was very stressful for him. His anxiety triggered Mom’s anxiety and so we spent several long hours listening to my Dad being angry and blaming, and my Mom talking incessantly. So much for a pleasant vacation for us kids.

My love of music compelled me to break this tendency towards quiet. When first married and for many years afterwards our house was constantly filled with music – live and otherwise. Music is joy for me and for Nan. For years Nan danced around the stereo when the television was turned off, hooked up to a pair of Koss headphones. I think maybe Nan drowned out the more unpleasant parts of life with music (loneliness from being unequally yoked in part). It was a skill she picked up while living in her chaotic home growing up. As a child I used to practice piano for hours at a time joyfully, but it was also my coping mechanism for blocking out conflict. As an adult I used music to try to give meaning to life and masked the unpleasantness with alcohol.

But these days the need for quiet is strong. The contemplative side of me has emerged. Perhaps it’s a natural reflective state of being for those of us who are aging. Regardless, those quiet moments are very life-giving. I am more aware of my senses – color, sounds, smells, taste, touch and our sixth sense – spirituality. In those places of pause, I am more likely to hear the still, small voice of our Creator.

I have tried to develop tolerance and patience for those who are not quiet people. But I gravitate towards those who are calm, especially during our off-work times. Perhaps you can relate to me because you are like me. Or maybe you can empathize and try to develop tolerance and patience for people like us because you are not.

All of us need connection, we just do it differently.

Dating Advice for the Not-Yet-In-A-Relationship

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One of the things that Nan & I do with relationship seekers is to give out a list of “Must Haves” and “Can’t Stands”. It is basically a collection of both character qualities and preferences that can guide a person while “interviewing” potential mates. The instructions are to choose your top 10 in each category.

These lists serve two purposes. For some, it is necessary to limit the choices to a realistic collection of desired attributes. That is why the choices are capped at 10. For others, they tend to set the bar so low that they need to work on raising their standards to an acceptable level. Which group do you fall into: too picky or too lax?

There is a catch, too. You must become what you want to attract.

So many people focus on what they want from a relationship, but fail to ask the question “What am I willing to give?” I suggest making out a list of all the things you will bring to the table. Marriage is a partnership of two people willing to contribute equally to a common future.

Too many times we have seen items on a person’s list that don’t match.

  • “I want someone physically fit” – but they themselves are not.
  • “I must have someone who is organized” – but their personal world is a mess.
  • “I want someone who is ambitious” – but they have no goals in life.
  • “I desire someone with high moral standards” – but they, well… you get the point.

Our advice is often to back off of relationship seeking until you have made the necessary adjustments in your thinking, attitude or physicality. You are far more likely to connect with a great partner if you do.

Are you a workaholic? Relationships require ongoing time investments. You many have to cut back from your job so you can contribute more at home.

Are you lazy and want to be taken care of? This is a prescription for resentment to grow in your relationship. And resentment will create distance and isolation eventually. Try to match your partner’s energy.

One other thing comes to mind. For some the quest for a relationship is fear driven.

“I don’t want to end up alone.”

Unfortunately, this anxiety is often palpable and obvious and may be the key reason you are not able to connect. You may exude a seriousness that makes others back off. Dating should be fun and easy, full of smiles and laughter and enjoyment – not an intense pursuit toward a goal. That comes later after you have established that the person really is a good candidate for a deeper relationship. Nan suggests a minimum of 12 dates with 12 different people in 12 months so you don’t just get stuck on the first one that comes along.

You can make up your own “Must Haves” and “Can’t Stands” lists – but remember, you must “be” all the things on your lists.