March 19, 2014

Silence as Communication

Silence is a powerful form of communication. It can be used in healthy and unhealthy ways.

Silence is healthy when we need to process the world around us. When we become upset, we can "control our speech muscles" so as not to hurt with our words (Abraham Low). Occasionally, we need time to cool down our emotions. We need time to respond thoughtfully. We also enjoy time meditating and relaxing. These silences strengthen our relationships with ourselves and others.

Being silent because of fear is unhealthy. Sometimes we are afraid to speak because we'd have to face reality. Someone who is sick may not want to share an illness with a loved one because he or she wants to deny reality, but that creates a schism. It erodes trust. It's important to face reality with courage.

Another unhealthy silence is the infamous "silent treatment." The silent treatment is a manipulation technique. It is an attempt to punish unfairly, shame or control another.

Thus, let us reflect upon our silences and use them to benefit ourselves and those around us.