“Silence isn’t empty, it’s full of answers.” – Unknown
The balance between actively listening and sharing words can stifle even the best communicators. Most of us have heard the term, “waiting for our turn to talk”, which is what most of us still do emphatically, while we seem to be intently listening to our loves ones share their hearts and souls to us. If we have taken a few notes along our journey of becoming better communicators, we should be quite aware that this version of “listening” does not depict the image of an effective listener, however it does allude to one still in desperate need of work in this area.
Not to worry, this post is not designed to cause those that feel less inclined to listen at any given moment, guilty. I am not here to judge nor point blame. I am here to say, “sometimes there are no more words to say”, simply stated.
For the ever-debating type, the one accustomed to having their final say or even for the one seeking further dialogue between both parties, this may be a hard pill to swallow, but guess what? This is what it kind of looks like when the mic has just been dropped, and possibly just dropped on you.
So we could continue to seek arguments, delving for that climatic entry point of no return that we believe somehow will entirely change the landscape of the conversation, or we could simply accept enough has been said, at least at this juncture.
For those like myself, who tend to be over analyzers, in search of new methodologies of sharing a point, or relentlessly in search of improved ways to deliver our self-defined profound messages, we also need to recognize when to sit down, listen and observe the silence we have just encountered.
Lord knows I can break down a conversation into small pieces of points that will make total sense to me, but life has a way of teaching a lesson that once seemed like an impossibility. A lesson that exposes the worst in us, yet is designed to bring out our best. It has been in the quiet, where my soul has been able to hear the voices crying out from within seeking restoration, comfort and peace. The decision to drown those voices out with more gratuitous noise, aided in the ambivalence I was already experiencing, so the cycle was endless.
The ambivalence grew and so did my pain. To fight it was to literally fight my own self, so I had to learn to stop and take note to what was happening in me. There was an all out war engulfed inside my head and heart. A struggle of what I defined as good vs. evil, bad vs. good, pause vs. move forward, release vs. stand my ground, hope vs. give up and listen vs. hear. It all came like a whirlwind and the only thing that could save me was the ability (not my inherent desire) to sit still in solitude and silence.
In that silence lied a man who wanted nothing more than anything to be understood and to understand. My decision in times past to ignore the emphatic words designed to encourage me and bring light to my darkness were finally able to seep through, like rays of sunlight through a dark cloud. Not only was I listening for the first time, but I could hear, as if I was once deaf. Perhaps I was in many ways, because the words I did hear failed to transform my thought life, until I learned how to observe the silence.
So unless you plan on taking a vow of silence like a monk, words will most likely always be a part of your life. Therefore, choose how you communicate with great care and thought. Sometimes you will need words to express yourself, and at other times your deepest intentions require nothing but your silence. The key is to know the difference.