Silence is golden they say, but it often comes with a price. It is worth its weight in gold, and it may cost more or less than you are willing to pay.
Until you get to know me I am a fairly quiet person. I keep to myself and don’t offer extra information unless asked. I’m an open book if you know what questions to ask of me. A saying that has been stuck in my head lately is something my pastor said several weeks ago. “What you can’t talk about owns you.”
It’s interesting – and totally true – but on one hand I don’t feel like I owe anyone an explanation of my past or actions, but on the other hand I don’t have anything to hide. I do, however, reserve the right to refuse to speak to you/tell you about something if
a. it’s none of your business, or
b. I am not comfortable telling you about it.
I did not have a lovely childhood. It was full of violence and pain, so I don’t talk about. Not because I can’t, but because I’m at peace with what happened when I was a child and don’t feel the need to rehash it unless someone is genuinely interested in my childhood (hint: few people are and I’m cool with that). I can finally talk about the violence without shaking and stuttering and I can finally see my stepfather’s picture without having a panic attack.
Sometimes I avoid certain conversations because it will cause nothing but grief. As I said in a previous post, had people been less concerned with my marital status maybe the past eight months wouldn’t have needed to happen. However if I am honestly asked, I will honestly answer, unless A or B apply.
Also when I am angry or upset (or embarrassed as the case was most recently) I won’t speak. I don’t trust what I say when I am angry, because I’m not speaking from a place of peace or love. Likewise when I am upset I can’t formulate coherent sentences because I’m trying to control the urge to cry which takes a lot focus. There are very, very few ways to make me cry. One way to do that is embarrass me in front of a close friend when it is unnecessary and you are unwilling to budge from your opinion anyway.
I’ve lost a lot of things because of silence, both mine and others’ silence. I’ve said things I regret because I was angry at the time. I’ve lost loved ones because they lied using silence. It isn’t always the answer. Sometimes you need to speak instead, but don’t let anyone force you into speaking if you are not ready. Don’t speak in anger, but don’t be intimidated by someone else’s silence. If they don’t want to talk just give them time. Perhaps they are struggling with something, or maybe they don’t feel comfortable talking to you about it. When/If they are, they will speak. Until then, enjoy the golden silence.