Last week, I wrote about the distinctions between silence, violence and peace. As a child, I recall hearing phrases such as “children should be seen and not heard,” and “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
To some, a child’s silence might represent a sign of respect, and not speaking about the not nice things allows some temporary comfort and ease.
Who is your silence protecting or keeping comfortable?
What is the price? Avoiding issues that matter, and not addressing your own needs or someone else’s, often creates further discontent.
Teaching children or encouraging anyone to keep quiet about their experiences may lead to bigger issues later in life.
I coach professionals from time to time who might feel very comfortable respecting their own needs and boundaries in some situations, and not others. One may be very competent at speaking up for themselves at work, and then quickly say, “yes” to things that interfere with their own needs for rest, health, joy etc. in their personal lives.
I also work with professionals who set clear boundaries with loved ones, and do not express themselves very clearly within their organizations.
You get to talk about your experiences in life, and particularly what you need. It does not mean that the people around you are necessarily responsible for meeting your wishes. You simply may express your needs, and ask for what you want.
The price of silence is not necessarily knowing or understanding someone else’s needs, or someone guessing about how to meet yours. Being clear, although it might feel uncomfortable temporarily, usually makes life easier in the long-run.
There may be a time and place for silence. There may also be a price.
What does silence cost you?