Is Silence Golden?

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
– Martin Luther King

As educators, we uphold a set of values that urge us to stand up boldly and do the right thing. Our feedback, conviction and commitment make us role models. We pride in clarity of thoughts and transparency in relationships. We also embrace the power of silence. But then the flip side is being passive or staying silent and dispiriting others. Today when communication has been revolutionized and we are always switched on, plugged in, live, counting ‘likes’ and in Google search-dominated world, silence is indeed considered as insolence.

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The Virtues of silence have long been recognized. Nonetheless, we somehow ignored its misfortunes. When somebody needs your support, your silence does more harm than aggression.

Silence is toxic and ruins relations. This is the reason why passive people hurt you more. Sometimes, it’s not the confrontation that hurts, but the silence which eats you up like a termite and makes you emotionally hollow. To decide to be silent or not – the greater good should be the priority. We should always deliberate whether our voice will make a difference or not. Many stay silent because they don’t want to do any harm by offending or criticizing someone.

But when a person is uncomfortable or needs support, it’s irrational to put our comfort as priority above the needs of others. Let’s contemplate the worst-case scenario: if we speak up, someone may disagree, but at least the issue is at the forefront and a solution can be found. Now how about the best-case scenario? When we speak up, everyone benefits, and we are hailed as a powerful leader. Isn’t breaking silence worth taking a risk?

As William Faulkner said, “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion, against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth.”

Shubha Jose

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