As a words person, there are constantly words constructing and circling round my mind for any given situation. If you lifted the top of my cranium, words would spiral out, or, perhaps, break free like butterflies in a box. I’m a communicator, which, at times to others’ dismay, has helped me sift through relationships, determining which ones have depth and which ones divide.
Over time, I’ve identified the life-blood of any relationship is reciprocity – “the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit.” Things, in this sense, are not monetary; it’s an emotional exchange. To truly get to know someone’s core, you must be willing to listen to them – their truths – whether in agreeance with your own or opposition. Equally important, they must listen to yours as well, rather than becoming an emotional vampire, sapping you of energy without being a support in return.
So – as a communicator, when I’ve fallen silent, my silence speaks the loudest. If I have discontinued dialogue with you, I’ve determined that you lack the empathy for a two-way conversation worthy of my energy. It’s not that I have nothing to say; it’s that I’ve found no one that will listen – no reciprocity. I’m not willing to release my innermost truths to be collected for someone’s arsenal – twisted into ammunition that will fuel weapons in future wars. After all, “Silence cannot be misquoted.”
Often, this is misinterpreted as lack of concern or cold-heartedness. A lingual person always cares, with an inner-world brimming with meaning, inspiration, themes. The irony is that it’s just the opposite. If, miraculously, I could tell my story to you, an open mind, ready to receive my wounds with an empathetic ear, I would. That doesn’t mean I expect you to conform to my entire world-view, but to accept that this is my own, and try to gain some insight into what it’s like to see from my eyes. The words would pour from my lips, an avalanche.
But – time has told it true that, for lack of concern, that can’t happen. My words, in them my heart, continue to be dismissed. They’re released, only to be dissected, met with defense, or, the pièce de résistance, ignored entirely in favor of anyone else’s feelings but my own.
The only thing sadder than being misperceived is being the person making the misperception. In what a limited world I would live if I only believed one reality to be true – that there was not a wealth of perspectives and experiences separate from my own. The world is broad, limitless, different. I love listening for this reason. I absorb so much from others when I stop to consider their point of view. I could not be a words person if the only words I listened to were my own, filtering in and out, rinse and repeat.
Why is it that when someone stops talking – more so, when they stop listening – that only then others notice they’re missing? How is it that a person can live as a ghost for a lifetime, only to be remembered when they’re gone?
I love words. Sometimes, however, words are not enough; they are barricaded out, misunderstood, or, worse still, misrepresented. Silence speaks volumes. Sometimes, silence is the only thing that makes people listen. Silence says it all.