“That man’s silence is wonderful to listen to.”
Silence is defined as nothing more than the absence of sound or noise. But it could be used and interpreted for so much more than this.
For unwillingness to respond. Impoliteness. Speechlessness. Ignorance. A sign of approval or disapproval. A lack of interest.
Silence can be unbearable or much needed. It can be awkward, inspiring, incredible, destructive, creative…
For many years, silence was simply awkward for me. I attached all kinds of (only) negative connotations to it and tried to avoid it at any cost. When with someone, I always made an effort not to let it be there even for a short while. When alone, I always had background sound or noise even when doing something that required my full concentration. Over time, in both subtle and unambiguous ways, my perception of silence slowly changed.
Moving to a different country, immersing into a new culture, reading, embracing diversity and reflection from different perspectives, challenging my perceptions – all of these contributed to my rediscovery of silence. The room for interpretation that it leaves in our communication still makes me cringe, but I am able to see it in a much more neutral way. Now I need it and enjoy it at times. To the extent that it even became a comfortable way of spending some time with myself and others.
How do you perceive silence in our ‘noisy’ world?