As we celebrate and give thanks this month, let's celebrate and give thanks for our ability to speak. We can share our gratitude with our words, with our arms with hugs, with our presence, with gifts...there are so many ways to give thanks and appreciation. Even though we're blessed to share our words it's equally as important to remember how important silence is. When we're conversing with another we can become consumed with our own ideas and desire to share them - even if the other person is still speaking. Some will try to hurry the other person to finish talking so they can interject their own idea about the topic at hand. Well-timed silence is essential during these times. The next time you find yourself hurrying someone along as they're speaking, stop and allow the other person to speak and share their thoughts. Be patient. Give them time. Truly listen to what they're saying and how they're saying it. This will help you tune into the entire message...how they feel about what they're saying, what they think about it, and if they want feedback, or if they just need a sacred space with a friend to just vent.
Allowing someone else the gift of your time, your presence, the ability to share their thoughts with speech is a wonderful gift you can to give another. Many people simply want to be heard. When you listen to someone you're actually honoring that person for who they are in that very moment. AND, you might actually learn something that you didn't know before about them or the subject they're talking about. Now that's both powerful AND generous.
Another time to practice well-timed silence is when you're conversing with someone and find yourself becoming emotionally charged. Most of us know too well that ill-spoken words can do great harm and have lasting effects. The adage, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is simply not true. We know that the damage from words can do serious harm and can sometimes take a lifetime to heal from (just look at how many folks are in talk therapy). Think of this the next time you're about to say something when you're upset, angry or frustrated: harmful words harm the heart. If you need a visual: harmful words = damaged heart. When you've damaged another's heart with damaging words, unfortunately, you can't take it back. The damage is done. If you want to refrain from hurting hearts, then refrain from speaking hurtful words. Even to yourself.
Give grace to others even if you're upset about what they're saying. This month's mantra reminds us that Silence is Golden.