Growing up I was always told: “Mind your manners”, “Remember the golden rule”, and “If you can’t say something nice then don’t say anything at all”. These are all phrases that we remember throughout our lives and end up teaching our children. While these are important and what everyone should live by, I wish to add an Arabic proverb to the list:
“Speak only when your words are more beautiful than the silence.”
This is the quote I live by. At work, school, coffee dates, random conversations in the grocery store and other social events I try to make sure that the words that come out of my mouth mean something. I don’t mind the silence, some people hate the silence and try to fill it constantly, but being silent can say so much more than any string of words. It maybe my introvert nature that fuels this acceptance of silence but I feel that this proverb is a lesson for everyone to follow. I feel as though it’s a sort of unwritten law that tells us that we don’t HAVE to say anything. We don’t NEED to keep idle chit chatting when a silent pause is all that is needed. We need to learn to speak not just with words.
We need to learn that this silence is the perfect time to be wise too. Do your words give people hope? Joy? Love? Do your words make people want to live larger? Or do they scare those around you? Our silence can say more, it can give laughter, life and love but it can also give us a chance to think before we speak and to really listen to those we converse with.
When we teach ourselves and our children that continuous talking isn’t needed all the time, that silence in a conversation is okay we’re teaching to respect others, to observe more than just the words we hear, to truly listen and think before we speak and that we must be mindful of the words we say to “keep striking a conversation”. A conversation is useless if a man or woman cannot say meaningful words. What is the point of a conversation that has nothing to back it up? Words only said to keep the silence at bay? It’s like we talk so much that we fail to notice the body language of the other person. We fail to notice the tone difference or we even fail to truly listen to the person!
Have you ever talked to someone and realized that they weren’t really listening to you? How did you feel? Did you feel dejected? Like what you said means nothing? How about when a person rambles on and on and on? You feel tired, like a little silent pause every now and then is good. I find that when I truly listen to people, I don’t have to say as many words because my silent tongue and body language shows them that I care, that I’m listening, that I know the silence is stronger than any word I could pick out to say.
What are your views on silence? Are there any quotes that you try to live by?