I used to really engage with people who wanted to argue. I had witty and sarcastic comebacks that warranted a side eye or two. I was ruthless and relentless and I kept giving my power away by engaging like that. I really needed to have the last word because that signified that I had won the war of words. Ha ha ha. Yet after every one of those arguments I would cry and I mean sobbing, hyperventilating, out of breath crying because that wasn’t the way my heart wanted me to behave. It was awful for my spirit and it would take me a long time to recover because I allowed myself to exert negative energy and I wasn’t yet in the practice of personal peace, so I just kept losing at every turn. Sigh.
One day, I was in the midst of a wild ass argument and the other person simply sat down and just was quiet. I was stunned and a little shocked but I still kept going to see if the verbal sparring would continue. It didn’t. There was nothing there for me to engage with. There was just silence. At first I was like oh helllllll to the NO we are going to talk!!!!! This person did not engage me at all. Eventually I sat the fuck down too and wondered if this was going to be the moment of my murder. It wasn’t. It was the beginning of some hint that would ground me, calm me and bring me the peace I know now. Eventually this person explained themselves and offers a perspective on engagement that I hadn’t considered. Disengage when the moment becomes volatile, unworkable and disruptive. Those moments are the ones in which violence can escalate, words can be said that aren’t meant to be said and actions in that heated moment can lead to a lifetime of unintentional consequences. I needed to take a seat, seats, a sit and all other forms of calming the fuck down because I was doing myself no favors.
I’m not a stranger to silence but sweet, constructive and contemplative silence is something that I began practicing maybe 8 years ago. There is power in not having to address anything right away, but don’t let things linger for too long. However what’s usually missing for me is people getting to say I need a pause, and I’ll get back to you. I’m not talking about a pause that is meant to be evasive and irresponsible. I am talking about pauses that are needed for all to take care of their own well-being. I need time to incubate and figure my shit out.
The next time things are overwhelming, maybe take the time to remove yourself and take care of you. It’s good to be silent and allow yourself the time and space to catch your breath. Over communication isn’t even necessary sometimes because people can’t even hear you over their own personal turmoil. The world is loud. Too much noise exists everywhere. I like silence, it is sweet and it heals me.