Sunday, 26 January 2014

Is silence the most powerful scream?

"Speak only if it improves upon the silence."  Mahatma Gandhi

People who know me in the real world know that I have trouble keeping my mouth shut. Is that good? Or is it bad? Does it drive people crazy if they can't get a word in edgeways or do they enjoy inviting me to social groups because they know that I'll fill those awkward silences?
But are there times when I need to remain silent?

"Silence is the most powerful scream."  Unknown

I have trouble thinking of an appropriate time when silence is, indeed, the most powerful scream. It's certainly not the case if you're being bullied or abused. Silence suggests consent. No one cares, no one notices, until you shout out loud and even then they might not really care.

So when is it best to keep silent?

  • When someone else is talking, when they need to be heard, of course!
  • If it would cause others pain or embarrassment by disclosing a secret, that's also a time to keep silent.

But when else is it best to say nothing? When do you think silence is the most powerful scream?


23 comments:

  1. I think it's best to say nothing when others want to talk. I have to restrain myself from giving advice or my opinion when they don't really want to hear it.

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    1. I'm afraid I often realise that I've given my advice before I've even decided if they want it or not. Oh dear!

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  2. Haha ..you and me, Ros. I think it is best (and hardest) to hold your tongue when it involves family. For the rest, pile in, girl. It's genetic!!

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    1. Agreed, except there are times when only a member of the family can say certain things, things that need saying... or should I have kept shtum then as well!

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  3. Sometimes it's better to keep silent. But the most powerful scream? Not in my experience and I have plenty of it, unfortunately. ~Miriam

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    1. Silence isn't powerful in those horrible instances, is it, Miriam.

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  4. I like the one by Gandhi. Have to remember that. Indians (Native Americans) say very little. I've lived with them most of my life and never heard a "chatty one."
    I don't think of you as being overly chatty.... at least it doesn't come across in your posts.

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    1. Funny how we come across over this Internet world of ours. I'm afraid I do plough in with my opinions before most others get a chance to draw breath.

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  5. In a classroom of noisy chattering students. It works much better than screaming at them to shut up. But yes, keeping quiet can be wiser when family and friendships are involved.

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    1. I can remember the time way back when I was a student teacher and I tried the silence, arms folded routine to get the class to be quiet. They took absolutely no notice of me. I lost my voice after that first term of teaching!!

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  6. I think silence can be like the "little white lie". If you don't have something nice to say, then perhaps say nothing. Sometimes an opinion is not constructive.

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    1. You're so right. I will try to remember that. :-)

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  7. When I was younger, I handled everything with silence. Now, I just really think hard before I say what needs to said. A little cooth, some wit, and a smile gets my point across.

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    1. That sounds like a good plan to getting on with others, cooth, wit and a smile. Like it!

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  8. Sometimes just because someone is silent, it doesn't mean that what's going on in their head is silent. They may be screaming inside...or thinking of the right response. Perhaps that's what the quote is referring to?

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    1. That's true but so many times when I have forced myself to keep silent, I've then thought of all the responses I should have made when I'm wide awake in the middle of the night!

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  9. When you see someone making repeated mistakes in their relationships. Remember how many you yourself have made a don't interfere!

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    1. Never come between husband and wife, agreed, but sometimes our kids want to know what we've learnt from our mistakes. Isn't it better to try and help them avoid making the same mistakes or do they have to try it out for themselves? Life's tough, isn't it!

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  10. One of the things I used to tell my Sunday school students, and my own children, as well, comes right from the movie "Bambi". The bunny Thumper used lousy grammar, but he said, 'If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all." I think a good time to keep quiet is when we don't have anything constructive or kind to say. And no matter how badly we want to give our two cents' worth about how our grown-up children are doing something-or-other or how they're raising their children... we've gotta bite our tongues. The only time I allow myself to offer my opinion in those cases is when the kids explicitly ask me for it.

    By the way, I just finished reading a book a few days ago that you might enjoy. It's called "Lion Heart", by Justin Cartwright.

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  11. Hi Rosalind, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
    http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/

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  12. Mmm you have me thinking her Ros. So here goes... sometime you can sit in silence with a person you love and feel like you are having a great conversation, because being with that person is enough. x

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  13. I was going to say the same as Pauline above. Thanks for this thought provoking post.

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  14. I very good at giving advice,lol! I have to restrain myself.I'm quiet in new company but once I get to know you I don't shut up,I could talk for Scotland. I have found that family don't want to know the truth or if what they are doing is wrong so I keep my thoughts to myself there. When I worked in nurseries we controlled noise by not speaking and we raised our arm, one by one each child would stop and raise there arm and there was peace.

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