I was standing outside watching the numbers at my gas pump increase. As I stood there, my eyes looked towards the screen. A tiny screen. A screen at my gas pump.
I know you have been in the same predicament. But when did gas pumps need screens?
I stood there for probably less than 2 minutes. How awful would it be to stand there without it?
2020 gave many of us a hunger to get out and see people from our lack of having plans and our abundance of Zoom calls.
We were given more silence and many (including me) have excused the gift of silence. We want to exchange it for more plans and dates on the calendar.
Yes, I am here saying with all the gusto my body can muster that silence is a gift.
I didn’t plan to go all “preachy” on you, but I have 2 points as to why we need to crave silence in our lives.
- A healthy life requires critical thinking and independence
Have you ever felt that you needed to listen to something when you are driving, cleaning, or doing a task that doesn’t require your ears? I have started to recognize that I feel like I am being unproductive when I didn’t think of listening to an album or a podcast.
But why should I feel guilty for driving in silence or cleaning my toilet without earbuds? And where did I start to have guilt about this?
In a way, our culture has become dependent on noise. Why do we give kids time to calm down when they are angry before actually talking to them? We do this because they aren’t ready to listen to what you have to say or think about what they have done. Putting them in their room or giving them time to sit in a chair does wonders to their mood and mind. That silence allows them to independently get some control of their emotions. Now the talk you plan to have with them is definitely happening. But imagine if you tried to reprimand while they are screaming and crying and giving you that,”I hate your guts” face? Sometimes we feel like words are the only remedy to conflict. But we see that sometimes they aren’t.
Think about what this says about silence. For the child’s situation, it shows that we need silence to become independent. The child was forced to sit alone, but they might stop crying, think about what made them angry, breathe and calm down, and reach a stable emotional balance. They could do these things on their own.
Allowing the child to think independently might help them listen to us later.
This doesn’t mean we never should listen to music while we clean and do every task in silence. But there is nothing wrong with taking time to debrief or focusing solely on the task at hand.
Sadly I think we are becoming big consumers and forsaking critical thinking. We multitask, take in others’ words, stimulate ourselves when we are bored, hang out with people, and buy more, but we don’t spend enough time gathering our thoughts, mulling over our choices, asking ourselves questions, and being present when we are alone.
Have you ever found yourself in a predicament when someone asks you your opinion on something and you say something that is exactly what your friend would say? I know I have and I know how scary that can be. That means I consumed what my friend said (which is a good thing), but I didn’t think about my own independent opinion on the matter. And you know there is a difference between having the same opinion on something and not having your own opinion on something.
So you see, we can’t be healthy individuals if all our opinions are borrowed or we cannot do a task without something stimulating us through it. It is good to listen but you also have to become an independent thinker.
- It helps us have better relationships
Do you have that person in your life who views talking as their full time job? They can drag on a conversation for hours, and you aren’t sure how they do it every time. We all have someone like that in our lives. They make being in their presence something you avoid. How much time are they really thinking about you and what they are saying?
And even if you are not this person, I bet we all have talked over people and took a shared conversation and made it our monologue. We stopped thinking about how the other person may feel or what they would like to say.
Or maybe you have that friend who is super clingy. They constantly text you and never stop suggesting dates to hang out. Before you know it, a person you used to enjoy has become someone you loathe.
Relationships require conversation but I would also say they require silence or periods of not seeing each other. Someone who never wants to hear what you say or someone who doesn’t ever want to be alone, is not really thinking about you.
I think time away and silence allows you to value a relationship (or recognize it is toxic) and assess it. Sometimes if you can be silent with someone and just enjoy their presence, it shows you are very close to a person.
Even though you may not be the clingy or talkative friend, sometimes friendships are based on the events you go to, what you say to them, and how much fun you have. These are all good things but you also need to think about that person for yourself.
And you also have to listen to them. Even if you are in a teacher-student relationship with someone, it is good and humbling to hear the other person out.
“I can’t think of anything lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can’t talk to, or worse, someone I can’t be silent with.” ~ Juliet Ashton from the book The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
There are other reasons to value silence but I am just pointing out two today. I hope you guys welcome quiet moments. Welcome the silence so you might notice something you could’ve missed. Welcome the silence when you need to think. Welcome the silence when you need to listen to someone else. And always welcome the silence when you can show love through it.
Have a wonderful day everyone!
~ Kenedy M.
All images courtesy of Google images