Andrew Wyeth, 1948.
There’s a proverb that says “silence is gold, speech is silver”.
I completely agree to a certain extent. Sometimes there are instances where words are unnecessary. There’s absolutely no need to fill in the blank space with extra noise.
A lot of the times, I used to stay silent due to fear. It’s the fear of being judged, disliked, being left behind, and questioned for my actions, thoughts, and behaviors. I didn’t want to rock the boat even though I had absolutely every reason to. I didn’t trust myself enough (or at all), nor did I have any confidence over my thoughts. I’ve seemingly managed to place every single other being on a pedestal when it was painfully obvious that it wasn’t necessary and that the truth was the visible elephant in the room.
So I embarked on and still am on the never-ending journey to learn and unlearn the unhealthy mentalities that were deeply rooted within me. It really does take time and one step at a time.
Today I stay silent out of respect and kindness. Not just for the other person, but more importantly: for me, too.
I understand the importance of giving the other person space for objectivity and clarity – whether it’s his / her feelings, or for the entire situation. It is through a period of silence and thinking that a final and appropriate decision can be made.
I understand the significance of giving myself space for the same reasons above as well as for my emotional well-being.
My emotions and feelings are completely valid, but it’s crucial to place some empathy for others – especially if there is an ounce of care and respect for them. I’m not afraid to admit that I have an adequate amount of those elements to the ones I feel even a remote connection to.
It’s quite obvious that the levels of kindness, respect, and care will diminish (slowly at first, and then drastically) over time if that person were to turn into my past tense after an organic cutoff period. I suppose that’s where the saying “out of sight, out of mind” originated from, which conveniently comes after the pain of “absence makes the heart grow fonder” phase.
Another ironic fact: a lot of people tend to get hit by the waves of regret after finally being let go (in an emotional sense). Then they chase and pursue, only to find out that most of the time, these actions are futile, and a bit too little, too late.
Here’s a food for thoughts today: if one really cared, would one really, truly let go? Perhaps we tend to overestimate the extent of how much someone matters to us only when we experience his / her absence. Of course, this isn’t to deny that we all have to grow and learn and that there is true remorse. Change is completely possible as I have made mistakes and tried my best to mend the damages I’ve made in the past. However – what are the odds, especially with our culture nowadays?
Silence and hindsight provide perspective. We know deep down the honest reason as to why we miss someone – maybe it’s comfort, maybe it’s curiosity, maybe it’s the lack of someone who cares about you, maybe it’s because of loneliness, maybe it’s the lack of options, maybe it’s for easy gratification…there are so many possibilities and potentials that it’s impossible to list out all of them. You know if you care or not, and for goodness sake – if you don’t give a shit about that person and it’s for your own selfish and ego purposes, please, out of the potential shred kindness of your heart, leave that poor person alone for the rest of your life. You can do more damage than you think. Life is hard for every single one of us already, there’s no need to perpetuate that pain for someone else.
It takes a bit longer for me to get over people when they have left a longer impression on me, but this is pretty much human nature and common sense. The test of time really is accurate.
There is nothing to be ashamed of admitting how I feel towards someone, or to let him / her possess the “power” to hurt me. If anyone were to hold this over my head like a dangling knife, I will know and disengage. Sure, not without pain, but it’s a part of growth.
I’ve learned another facet of how actions are worth a lot more than words. If there are all words and no movement, then it is truly pointless and worthless. Inaction itself is also an action as well. Keep in mind of that before putting others on a pedestal – they are consciously aware of what they do and don’t, what’s appropriate and not, so it’s unnecessary to remind them of any of that through your words and energy. Do it through your silence.
Consistency and character speaks more volume than the sweetest nothings, and it is quite easy to tell.
Well, and if not, refer to the test of time.
We mess up, we fall, we dwell in limbo and punish ourselves in pain. No one is ever alone in this process, I promise.
So – what’s the purpose of all this?
It’s just a kind reminder to myself about the importance of silence and why I keep it.
It’s a sign of respect and care to others (differing levels depending on the person, obviously) but most crucially – to me.
It’s a notion to provide some more credit to effort and consistency, whether they may reflect someone you care positively or negatively.
It’s saying farewell and shedding a part of past me, the one who didn’t rock the boat, the one who was too scared to speak up and too terrified that people will leave. The people who truly care, respect, and love you will remain.
It’s important to keep all of our eyes and ears opened, and sometimes our mouths shut. These are some of the instances.