I read an article Sunday night that made me so annoyed. It was about silence and all the reasons someone might choose silence in a given situation as an appropriate response. Here’s the bullet points of the article. Disclaimer, I’m sure this article was written a while ago but when I read it, I didn’t take this list quite the same as the author did. It went something like this:
– Sometimes silence means pain.
– …Means Love
– …Means devotion
– …Means Confusion
– ….Saves you from being the fool
– And so on
– And so on….
Basically, this article argued that silence is somehow a chivalrous move…
Well, ladies and gents, I’m here to tell you that silence is absolutely NOT golden nor is it a form of devotion or love. It does, however, CAUSE pain. Maybe not TO you literally, lucky duck, but someone/somewhere might one day be hurt by you choosing not to explain your game/life/argument/attitude etc. clearly before you just serve it up to those you have settled into a relationship with. This lack of basic consideration definitely creates confusion. So…that said, I wanted to redo this list and encourage everyone to reflect on how silence can be a very poor choice. Matter of fact, I find silence in tough situations to be the most cowardly move one can make.
Let me give some examples.
As many of us struggle to master working from home right now, I’ve realized there’s never been a more essential muscle we all need to flex right now than our brain. Thinking critically about your goals, your situation, your abilities….we are all doing it constantly. Stumbling our way through it, we’ve all had time to spend thinking about our intentions. Silence isn’t going to help anyone understand each other better. Neither is eating alone. It just delays resolution and causes gross animosity in between.
To play devil’s advocate, some say they don’t want to waste their energy explaining to others anything…I call this a bullshit move. At one point, a lot happened to build those feelings up between you and another. When it all gets twisted, anger and frustration fester. Heated words get exchanged. It’s alarming. I get it. But your silence won’t help fill the communication gaps; it will likely make bigger ones. Matter of fact, not telling the cold hard truth from your perspective in tough times makes you this guy:
Oh, yes, yes I can. Leave me. Hate me. Hurt me. Whatever you do, don’t just walk away in silence. What that tells the person you are in a relationship with is that you don’t respect them enough to give them all the facts up front AND you care more about YOU winning than US winning. Cowardly. Don’t do it. Just talk. Awkward as it may feel, you step out of your comfort zone to meet another just outside of theirs…that’s where long-lasting magic happens.
You see, the problem with silence is that while it answers a lot of questions, it also makes a huge gaping hole between people. One person rambles about the injustice they feel, while the other is in utter disbelief that one could think that of them at all. So one shuts down. One turns in. The other now has no choice but to do the same. Bitterness, loneliness, and anger often root in these moments. They root deeply. So note, the longer it takes you to be ready to talk, the longer the roots dig. This is where many just walk away and never look back. I’ve done it. Several times. But I confess, at some point, I always circle back. Why? Because I realize that the relationship mattered more to me than my ego and one-sided perceptions. I’m aware that it will take work to talk through the pain words caused from both sides. It’s called respect. You give it, you don’t earn it. That’s narcissistic to think others have to EARN your respect. It’s not always glorious to have heated debates. It’s actually humbling, often humiliating, and just not fun. So why do it? Why talk it out? Because we are human. We ALL make mistakes. We all have bad days. Bad moments of weakness. Because forgiveness is healing. Holding space for someone who’s hurting is healing. Being able to say “I see you and I will sit with you through this bad moment because I want to then help you stand”. That’s a love worth dying for, fighting for, and dreaming for. It’s bond is so deep, it can uproot those painful memories and help replant them in a more fruitful soil where love grows outward, not hate pouring down into tainted ground.
All I’m saying is this…use your silence to reflect, but then I challenge you to use your wisdom to speak. Don’t be silent. Confrontation isn’t fun, but it’s essential. One can’t get to a better understanding, a better result, a peaceful resolution….NOTHING will change if we just let silence take over the voided space. Silence is the easy road, not the high one.
I always tell my close friends, I tell you what I think not because I think I’m right. I tell you because I’m hoping you will tell me how it really is. Assumptions are evil. They put people in glass houses with no windows or WiFi, just a bunch of rocks sitting on a table. No one wants to live like that forever. Eventually, the only way someone trapped can get out is to throw the rocks.
Don’t put your friends in a bubble. Don’t put those you love out on a solo mission because you can’t be bothered by their issues. That makes you a narcissist. If that’s who you are, please stop reading immediately. This blog means nothing to you. I’m writing this for the big hearts, the givers, the lovers who are drained from a lifetime of giving and never receiving. Watch them. Ask if they need a sounding board. Just, for the love of god, don’t tell them to just be quiet and walk away. I have those wounds. I bet we all do. And they never heal right. They leave hideous scars. While those scars aren’t on your soul, you should care just as much. One day, that struggling human could very well be you, your kid, your family. I’d hope someone would hold space for you too.
It’s simple. Don’t be afraid to speak. Don’t be afraid to then listen. Confrontation is inevitable when one side is oppressed for too long. The art of coexistence is about letting those with deep rooted pain feel safe to release it. Once it’s released, you have an opportunity to SHOW the other how it will be different moving forward. Maybe you didn’t directly cause their pain, their confusion, their fear. But you can definitely be a part of healing it and creating a more inclusive and loving future. It’s a choice. Be silent and do nothing. Or face the storm, whether it, and rebuild TOGETHER. It’s time. It’s so very much time. I pray you choose the path less traveled. It will make all the difference.
Nothing but love,
JB McCann has worked in “The Biz” for almost a decade, yet she’s somehow managed to keep her feet firmly on the ground. Her altruistic spirit aims to evoke your Inner Phoenix and encourage readers to take the difficult leaps in life, so you can continue to grow.