The Art of Silence

By Alex Lickerman, M.D. via psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/   Article

“People abhor silence the way nature abhors a vacuum and rush to fill it with the same alacrity.  …

the effective use of silence can bestow many gifts, chief among them:

  1. The ability to listen effectively. Few do it well. Most of us engage in listening only as a way of waiting until it’s our turn to speak. If you can’t resist thinking about what you want to say when listening, focus instead specifically on being silent. …
  2. A clear view into the hearts of others. … If you employ silence to listen carefully to not only what people say but how they say it, you’ll find they’ll give themselves away to you constantly and enable you to understand their character far sooner than you would be able to otherwise. …
  3. Attractiveness. People want more than anything to be heard and understood and will find anyone who provides them that feeling powerfully charismatic.
  4. Self-control. Think how much more in control you’d not only appear but actually be if your first response upon hearing or seeing something that sparks a strong reaction in you wasn’t to lash out emotionally but instead to become—silent. Silence is a terrific substitute for self-contron-line …
  5. Wisdom. When facing a new challenge, making silence your first response gives you a chance to reflect before you speak, increasing the likelihood that what you say and do will be on target, intelligent, and useful. Further, silent reflection promotes the appropriate use of what we call in medicine a “tincture of time.” If you resist the urge to leap into action at the first moment a problem arises, the problem often fixes itself. In medicine, as in life, sometimes the wisest action is none at all.”
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