Ever had thoughts and feelings that you wish you had the courage to express, but didn’t? Were you too afraid that you wouldn’t be heard or wouldn’t be understood? Or was the relationship too precious to risk “rocking the boat”?
I do not refer to an emotionally charged outburst, or any insensitive discourse. What I am discussing here are subjective observations and personal feelings, but those that have already undergone your scrutiny and consideration. Those that remain unsaid, are stirring inside you, and knowingly or unknowingly influencing your every interaction with that other person. More often than not, the primary reason for keeping quiet in such cases – is the desire to maintain harmony. To avoid uncomfortable conversations that may take us into uncharted territory and leave the relationship transformed forever.
Yes, in all probability, there will be discomfort. But there is also a possibility that the transformed relationship will have greater depth, transparency and honesty.
Keeping silent does not mean that you forget about it. Hence, there may be growing frustration, resentment and anger, that continues to simmer within you.
Nor is the other person always oblivious of your unrest. When we don’t say everything we want to, others sense it. And in their mind, they fill in the blanks with their own version of what the unsaid is. Soon everyone is uncomfortable and getting further away from truth and mutual understanding.
So the whole purpose of the withheld expression is defeated. In trying to keep interactions comfortable and maintain “good” relations, we may often end up worsening the situation. Until one fine day, it all explodes with one or the other emotional charge. If this happens, you can be sure that healing such wounds would be far more challenging than what you would face today.
Deliberate suppression of one’s true thoughts and feelings is a kind of pretension, because things are really not the way you are projecting them to be.
Byron Katie said reality is always kind and I would agree. No matter how uncomfortable you are feeling, if you speak your truth – with compassion and consideration for the other – you are in fact doing both your self and the other, a great service. You are honouring the truth of where you are in the moment, and you are acknowledging that the other is capable of a mature listening. Your opening up in this manner can create a space for the other to share authentically with you as well, facilitating a healthy dialogue. This could lead to either a deepening of a respectful and honest connect – or an amicable recognition for the need to part ways.
To me, both are higher outcomes than the sustaining of relations by means of a fear-driven silence.
One last point I would like to add… if we are unable to stand up for our self in our personal spaces, how are we going to be strong enough to stand up for what we believe in within the larger society? And if not enough of us have the courage to make a stand, how do we expect to bring transformation in society? There are many burning issues which often go unaddressed because of our reluctance to engage in difficult conversations. It is simply easier and more convenient to remain silent.
So how will you choose? To speak now, or to forever withhold your piece?