The Power Of Silence
It seems as though there is a theme occurring in my life as of late, that theme being this pull that I have to enjoy and embrace silence. I’m not entirely sure how it came about. Perhaps it’s because I’ve become more intentional with my thoughts and words, or it could be because I’ve become more conscious with where I invest my attention.
Nonetheless, after a few conversations that I had last week, I found myself reflecting on how much I say that doesn’t need to be shared, and with this reflection on the amount of talking that I’ve done, I started to consider how much we talk for the sake of speaking.
Throughout analysing both my own and others exchanges, I’ve come to realise that many of us talk without intention. Whether we talk to fill a void, to prove ourselves to others or because we think we have too. With few being intentional and conscious of what they say and why they do so.
Silence is better than unmeaning words. — Pythagoras.
Which is why, as of late, I've been actively questioning the urges I have to speak alongside being conscious of the words that I use throughout my conversations. To do this, I ask myself … What’s the purpose in me sharing this? Will I be adding value to this conversation, improving someone's day or helping someone better understand something? If it isn’t any of these, I then remind myself to keep quiet.
Additionally, what most of us tend to forget is that once words are out of your mouth, you can't get them back. It’s not like you can delete what someone heard, and if it's something that offends someone, even if it’s unintentional, it can be hard to come back from that. Yet, with silence, you avoid such problems as there’s nothing to misunderstand and no words to misinterpret.
Funnily enough, the irony in all of this is that people appreciate your words more when you seldom use them. Being conscious of the words you use shows that you use them with care and purpose, thus when you do share them it’s usually worth it for one to listen. What’s more, is that with fewer words used you also create an air of mystique about you. Your silence intrigues others, it keeps people guessing and makes people want to know more about you.
However, what most talk-a-holics don’t realise is that their constant talking leaves little to the imagination. You always know what they're thinking whether you want to or not. Plus, in many cases, people talk about things they don’t truly understand, and while people might be polite enough to not point out your ignorance, they will note it mentally.
Those who know don’t speak, those who speak don’t know — Lao Tzu
In understanding the power of silence, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that we should refrain from sharing our opinion. That we shouldn’t add value throughout conversations, or that we should stay quiet about the things that matter. However, in doing so we should be intentional about the words we use and the things we say, to ensure that we’re doing so with care and purpose.
In a world noisier than ever, embracing the power of silence is a remarkable way to reclaim your power — to bring back intention to your words, thoughts and conversations. Doing so will not only see others appreciate your words more because you seldom use them. It will also allow your words to be delivered with care and meaning.