Silence is a tricky thing. It can be seen as wisdom. It can also be viewed as hurtful. In some situations, it may be perceived as disagreeing with authority. So, when should you be silent and when should you speak? There is a fine line between the two.
Wisdom will help you decide. Wisdom is knowing what to say, how to say it, and when to say it.
Hurtful, but helpful.
A deciding factor that many try to apply is, ‘will it be helpful or hurtful?’ Even then, sometimes it will be both. People are not always going to like what we have to say and sometimes it may hurt them, but that doesn’t mean that the words are not necessary.
Pain is gain, right? Sometimes. With that said, there is a way to say something and a way not to. In all conversations, we should watch and use our words carefully and thoughtfully. There is no reason to be spiteful or mean when having discussions.
Practicing self control.
If no benefits will come of what you want to say, then it is best to keep your thoughts to yourself. Being silent when you have something heavy on your mind, can be very difficult to do. The desire to speak can be overwhelming, sometimes to the point where you can no longer contain it.
That is where self control comes into play. We must learn to control our impulses. Not everything that comes to mind, needs to be said. Words do hurt and people do remember them. Use wisdom and be kind.
Know the whole story.
Situations will arise that will cause us to become angered or upset. However, we must remember that there is probably much more to the story than what we see. All too often, people jump to conclusions without taking the time to look at the whole picture.
Because of this, reputations are destroyed, friendships lost and rumors started. Therefore, before we spew our thoughts on someone, we should make sure that we have all the facts in order first.
Silence in the workplace.
What if you disagree with authority? Your boss asks for your thoughts on a matter. You know what he wants your response to be. Will you give him that response, or will you be brave enough to give an answer that is contrary to what he wants to hear? You could lose the respect of your boss, a pay raise, or even your job. What do you do?
Some may choose to stay silent and not answer at all. By doing so, your silence may be perceived as you being against him, a rebel, or indifferent. All of these can cause issues. So again, do you lie to your boss to satisfy him, or do you answer honestly and let the chips fall where they may?
Silence as a form of ignoring.
Two people have a disagreement. One of them then, decides to ignore the other. This happens in all sorts of relationships, and there is no age requirement. Kids do this, and so do full grown adults. Some people do so as a way of trying to avoid escalating an already heated discussion. That’s understandable, however they could easily ask for a few quiet minutes to calm down.
Ignoring someone with no explanation is belittling, vengeful and hurtful. ‘They’ say women are the biggest offender of this, but men are just as guilty.
There are times when silence falls into none of those categories. We are silent, because we have nothing to say. There is nothing wrong and we are perfectly content. Even so, people may perceive our silence as anger. Then, getting them to understand that their perception is wrong, can sometimes be impossible. What do you do? Nothing. Let them believe whatever they want to believe. You know the truth, and they’ll get over it.
It’s amazing how one word can have so many interpretations. Silence is a tool that requires wisdom, thoughtfulness, caution, and kindness.
Silence. It’s a tricky and powerful thing.