Sometimes silence is the only way to deal with certain situations and people. There is an old saying you all have heard at least a hundred times and it says:
If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say nothing at all!
The strange thing is that most human beings are very uncomfortable with silence. They find the need to fill up a room with inane chatter if it gets too quiet almost overwhelming. Silence makes them nervous, uncomfortable and I personally think scares them at times.
There is a level of comfort however to be found in silence, in simple sitting quietly with someone or even by yourself and simply being. There is no need to constantly fill up a room with words, with noise, with distractions. Often when we speak only to hear noise or in some people’s case to hear their own voice, a lot of really awkward and often hurtful or foolish things come out. It’s as if in the hurry to fill that silence their filter becomes strained to the point that those words slip out and then we cannot take them back.
My profession calls for me to speak a lot, at times almost constantly. Perhaps that is why I treasure those times when I “have nothing to say” to anyone and can simply take in the world around me. It’s difficult for those who think they know me to understand since they hear me talking a lot on the phones, to people in real time when I counsel them, or in social situations when I share some of my experiences. Words are my friends and allies you could say.
So when I suddenly become completely silent, just sit there deep in my own mind just thinking and contemplating, or am looking out into the world just observing what goes on around me, they are concerned that something might be wrong.
I often laugh when that question is posted to me and respond with:
No actually something is perfectly right!
It’s difficult not to be pulled into the constant rage against one thing or the other. Not to fall for the need to constantly force my opinions on others and argue them to the point of noxiousness. I know that myself. Just like the rest of you, I have certain pet peeves and very strong opinions on certain topics that make me want to shout at injustice and foolishness constantly, but unlike many I have learned an important lesson over the years.
The more you constantly rage about the same thing over and over again, the less it changes. Now I know you are confused because it is the opinion of the masses that we must protest injustice loudly and constantly, drag the “evil doers” out into the limelight and expose them harshly and verbally as loud as we can in order to bring attention to it. The problem is that instead by doing this constantly we are not giving anyone even the chance to sit silently and think about what they say and what needs to be changed.
Changes don’t come by outrageous behavior, but they come in the stillness, in the thoughtful silent moments when our minds actually shift unseen or unheard to anyone. When we are in silent contemplation, in a moment of meditation where we can hear that quiet voice of our higher self speaking to us and show us not just the problem but how WE as the individuals can be part of the solution.
Things change constantly and they change one person at a time. They change when we witness goodness and when we don’t herald those simply acts of kindness like a miracle instead of what they are, a natural way of behaving towards your fellow man.
Those things don’t need public outreach, public demonstrations, public praise nor a loud constant chatter. They simply and silently happen and make a huge impact on that other person and in extenuation often other people connected to that person.
It’s often that simple little gesture that is done by an individual for someone else in an utterly selfless way and without seeking the good guy badge, that often motivates the recipient to go out and be a better person as well. It’s paying forward on the most basic of levels and it can change an entire world if you let it just simply play itself out over time.
As human beings we think we need to force change, but change cannot be forced. It happens on it’s own time. It happens one tiny step, one single kind action, one caring gesture at a time. It seldom happens with words since as humans we have forgotten how to speak words of kindness and love to one another without twisting an accusation towards another into it.
We, as humans at large, have forgotten the meaning and power of words. They are flung around like Monkeys might fling poop. Without thought as to their consequences and often times they are twisted into those things that suit him or her who hears them. Words are powerful and carry a lot of weight, but are also some of the deadliest weapons to the psyche of mankind and humanity.
If I wish to demonstrate love to a person, I don’t just talk about how much I love them, I aim to show them that I do. I don’t march down the street with signs screaming about the injustice of what that person has endured, but I silently embrace them and am there for them. Without a single person besides myself and that person seeing or knowing about it. I do not love that person for the sake of show, but because that person is worthy of my love being extended to them.
I do not agree with the saying that we should love all people. To do so would mean to cheapen that love, for some people have nothing inside of them to make them worthy of love. They are not lovable. They reject love and scream about the injustice of nobody loving them, just to go out and do something else that makes them even less lovable.
There are no words that can be spoken that can change this. Not a single sound will make a difference. Yet perhaps silence will. For when those who scream the loudest no longer gain attention, then they too will at some point sit silently and think, contemplate and just maybe see where they have caused a lot of their own problems.
Yes, there is a time so speak and then there is a time to stop talking and take actions within ourselves. Not against others, not in violence, not in accusations or in any other form that might cause ill, but in the changing of ourselves and then slowly and gently in the behavior of kindness towards others.
(Last Updated: April 22nd, 2017)