My first experience with this advice started off as a peaceful Lyft ride to work at 5:30 in the a.m. – until I asked the driver to please make a left turn instead of a right.
“Why?” he asked.
My response: “I’m more comfortable going in this direction – and it’s a more direct route to the interstate.”
Silence as he turned left, and for the next three minutes.
Then for the rest of my 10-minute ride to work, a full-on ramble – out loud so that I could hear – of how it’s his car, Lyft’s policies, etc. etc. etc.
No questions for me – he wasn’t looking for a response; just to be heard.
But in the back seat, the mouthy side of my Aquarian personality licked her lips, ready – as she always is when she feels she needs to defend me – for a debate.
But just as we slid into the Interstate traffic, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s sage advice popped into head …
“… it helps to be a little deaf….”
I closed my eyes, put my mouthy alter-ego in time out, chewed on my lip, and let my mind wander …
- Ooo McDonald’s; I can’t wait to get a cup of coffee when I get to work.
- My word he’s still talking. How long is this red light?
- Lordhavemercy this is hard; Justice Bader Ginsburg had the patience of a saint. I wonder if my lip is bleeding.
- Whew almost there; where else would this advice work?
Here are a few examples I came up with ….
Workplace personality conflicts
You spend eight to 12 hours of a 24-hour day at work. It’s more of a probability than a possibility that there’ll be at least one person who decides they don’t like the way you breathe and always has something negative to say.
Some conflicts are worth having a conversation to clear the air. But personality conflicts are just that – there’s no concrete foundation because the issue has less to do with you than with the person pushing all the negativity.
Tune it out and move on.
Following the above scenario, you will always have one well-meaning “friend” who feels they’re doing you a great service by filling your ears with all the negative gab the other co-worker is spitting about you. And of course that friend is not the problem right? How could they be when they are making sure you know who is speaking against you and what they’re saying?
YES – that friend is part of the problem and another example of why it’s important to be a little deaf.
Gossipers only keep your mind in a state of turmoil. Tuning them and the gossip out allows room for you to move past someone else’s drama and avoid internalizing it as your own.
Unsolicited advice, critiques, judgements from family/friends
In her book, “My Own Words,” Justice Bader Ginsburg related her advice initially to her marriage, but relationships in general benefit greatly.
In this instance, being a little deaf helps you tune in at your own convenience.
Advice can be heard even if not followed.
Critiques can hurt but offer useful insight, which in turn aids in emotional growth.
Judgements at worst are unwarranted opinions based on generalized information; at best they are conclusions after lining up all the facts for you to internalize at your own discretion.
Being a little deaf offers an opportunity to either learn and grow or maintain a level of inner peace, which was my experience that morning and many times after.
As a result of willing myself to be a little deaf, I got out of his car in a calm state.
As I do with every driver, I thanked him for the ride, encouraged him to be safe and have a nice day.
I walked into Amazon ready to begin my own workday – IN PEACE, rather than the emotional turmoil I might have experienced by bantering back and forth with someone whose purpose at that moment was to incite.
Have you ever tried to be a little deaf?
Feel free to share your experiences in the comments.