You’ve no doubt heard the phrase, silence is golden. Well, the truth is silence can either destroy your love and relationship or strengthen it – depending how you use it.
How do you respond when your partner, or anyone else, says or does something that gets under your skin? There are two common responses that play out with my clients in one way or another, whether they are single or partnered – people either go on the offense and attack or withdraw into silence. This is my personal story:
The other day my husband said something that triggered me. What he said wasn’t offensive, rude, or negative per se, but my knee jerk reaction was a desire to ask what the *bleep* he meant. I refrained. Instead I stayed silent and worked through my own thoughts. My motto is this:
When you’re triggered it’s best to keep your mouth shut and your fingers off the keyboard.
Have I always done this with perfection? Nope. Back in the day, when things weren’t good between us, I would have jumped in and challenged him without thinking. That usually led to defensiveness in him – and we’d find ourselves in an old worn out pattern that didn’t honor either of us.
On the flip side, there’s the dreaded silent treatment – which I’ve also been guilty of (yes, a lot of my history is best left in the past. Amen!) Couples who barely speak to each other slowly kill their love and relationship with simmering resentments, hurts and doubts. Giving someone the silent treatment feels righteous as your ego rejoices in being right. But it’s a short lived high because, like anything disconnecting, it hurts you as well as the other person.
Silence is always a game changer. Sometimes the result is the dissolving of a relationship – any kind of relationship, not just romantic. But silence can also be used as a way to heal and connect in a loving way. The outcomes of silence can be vastly different based on our intentions.
Silence in many cases, is not only golden, but miraculous.
When I didn’t respond to husband’s statement, I spent the time sorting through my thoughts and at the same time silently saying, “I offer you love and peace”. After a few minutes of loving silence, he asked if what he had said had triggered me. What followed was a really connecting conversation and the healing of one more thing from the past.
If I had challenged him or gave him the silent treatment while holding negative thoughts and emotions, we wouldn’t have connected the way we did. If he was in defensive mode or felt the energy of negativity from me, we wouldn’t have connected the way we did. My loving silence gave him the space to wonder about my silence, go over what he had just said, and then ask if something was amiss.
Now, I’m not afraid to speak my truth or share my opinions. I just take my time before doing so. I prefer to think thing through. I prefer to be clear about my intentions. I prefer to do my best to contribute in a positive way.Speak no evil. Silence Used Right Can Strengthen Love. Used Wrong Will Kill It. Click To Tweet
Speak no evil. Think about that for a second before speaking and ask yourself these questions. Is what I’m about to say coming from my heart? If not, what old ego based beliefs or emotions are driving my thoughts? And if I decide not to speak, what is my mind focusing on during my silence?
Your ego is not a healthy contributor to your relationship. If it’s being intrusive, firmly tell it it’s not invited to the party.
May the stars carry your sadness away.
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty.
May hope forever wipe away your tears.
And above all may silence make you strong.
– Chief Dan George
Silence can be destructive. Silence can also hold loving strength – that’s how you make love great and it’s how you make relationships great.
Dr. Gayle Friend
p.s. Everyone can learn how to do this. All it takes is a little practice and overcoming old beliefs that keep you stuck in old patterns. Changing what isn’t working is what I successfully guide people to do. Find out more.