There’s a song lyric by my favorite Argentine band, Soda Stereo, that I love above all others: “El silencio no es tiempo perdido” – “Silence is not time wasted.”
There are many times when words are not necessary, neither written nor spoken. It’s a hard lesson to learn for those of us who love words and who also love letting our tongues run loose.
For me, the greater lesson I constantly struggle to grasp is to not fall prey to extremes. I don’t like it when things are black or white; there are too many shades of gray in between. However, if I happen to be in the process of teaching myself to keep my mouth shut, to listen to another instead of interrupting them with my unsolicited ideas and opinions, I will most likely end up defaulting to the other side of the spectrum: I won’t speak up when it is correct and healthy for me to do so.
Anger is an emotion that I used to never keep inside, but I have started bottling it up over the last few years. There are several reasons for this: first, I try to be aware of the energy and attitude I put out; I tend to associate anger with destruction, and I’m not about that anymore. Second, I don’t want to burden anyone with my shitty emotions, especially those around me that are not the cause of my anger. Third, almost nothing is ever resolved while being angry.
However, I must say that these reasons have begun being challenged, mostly due to the realization that by keeping my anger inside, I was nearing a point of reckless abandonment of self. What I mean is: I was not sticking up for myself during moments in which it was perfectly acceptable, and even recommended, that I do so.
I was essentially being a pushover.
Two different things happened, coincidently within the span of two days, that made me incredibly angry recently. Each event was unrelated to the other; one involved only my own shortcomings and the other had to do with someone else, and although I will forgo the details of the episodes, I’m very, very happy that my anger was so extreme, so out of character for me, that it finally knocked some sense into me.
At any given moment, we are responsible for the words that must be uttered, whether to ourselves or to another person, that will help those involved change their life situation for the better. To be a good listener is a skill everyone should learn in life; however, to speak up with courage, albeit with a sort of compassionate chastisement, is also crucial. Those whom you are here to serve –those in your inner circle whom you can affect and inspire on a daily basis—may unknowingly be depending on you to be the blessing they need to make the change they’ve been struggling to achieve.
This isn’t to say that said people will definitely take action after hearing our words, but I believe our duty is to put those words out there so that we can at least enable them to act with confidence if they so choose. Once we’ve done our part, it’s up to them to follow through –and it’s always good for them to know that we will be there to help.
The same goes for us: once we’ve spoken words of truth and wisdom to ourselves in a moment of clarity, it’s our choice to follow up. Don’t we owe it to ourselves to strive to become better each day using the knowledge we’ve gained through hardships?
Photo by: Flora Capaldi / California, USA