Your words have the power to Heal & Hurt: Learn when not to speak
We end up in situations where the adrenaline goes to the peak, making our blood boil so that we can feel the heat everywhere inside our body when we want to speak, but we could not.
But we cannot do that everywhere at any time. It is essential to learn ‘when not to speak and when to’.
Have you ever regretted feeling that things would have been more salutary if you had a little more endurance over words?
Yes. We all have, somewhere in our lives, come across these situations. We might also feel that maybe things would have been stable if we were determined to endure the silence after every deadly situation that has happened.
Many of us have difficulty in speaking freely, especially in front of strangers. Or we may face difficulty putting our points forward in an argument, even though we have all the facts to prove our point.
It may be due to our inability to speak fluently or our limitations with words or simply because we feel intimidated by the person(s) on the other side of the argument.
With proper training, some calmness and practice, we can surely improve our ability to express ourselves verbally and become good orators and public speakers. We are not claiming that everyone can become an eloquent speaker like many famous politicians or motivators, but it is still possible to impress a small gathering.
(Learn to Listen)
One very important thing that we must learn is to know that there is a time, and place to speak and a time and a place when one must not speak. If you don’t know when not to speak, you will gradually, or sometimes immediately, lose respect and attention of others.
People who are eloquent speakers and orators, also sometimes shoot from their mouths and have this flaw of not knowing when not to speak.
Many people who have a way with words are sometimes under the impression that every situation demands their input and are, therefore, vulnerable. They fall for the temptation of speaking too much, at every opportunity, and thereby court controversies and scandals.
Bhagavad Gita on Restraint of Speech
One of the oldest scriptures on philosophy and still a very relevant one, the Bhagavad Gita in shloka (17.15) praises the virtue of “austerity of speech.” It gives us a key for how to be a good speaker and says that one should speak in a manner that is non-agitating, pleasing, truthful and beneficial for society.
- It implies that any argument presented in an agitated state has started on shaky grounds and would go from bad to worse, with little chance of it being accepted by others.
- It also means that if we speak in a manner that is hurtful of the conceptions and opinions of the other, then they will not be receptive to our ideas. We must always find a way to tell them the truth in a manner that is not hurtful to their emotions.
- We must also remember to not speak falsely or misleadingly. Disinformation, misinformation and propaganda have a way of finding their way out in the open and will hurt our credibility in the long run even if we may gain some material advantage instantly.
- Finally, we must not speak in a manner that can harm others due to the words we have spoken. We must not instigate violence or enmity or hatred towards anyone.
There are many instances in our personal and work life where we have the temptation to speak loosely and in a negative way – For example, making fun of someone weak, backbiting, snitching, taunting or even gossiping.
When we keep the secrets of others to ourselves and do not spill the beans, we gain confidence in not only friends but also in our rivals. Our reputation of a person of honour and a confidant will win more friends than we can even imagine.
As per Gita:
Silence is golden. It helps everywhere and not just at home.
Silence is a bank that helps to save sorry in the future. Apart from that, it relieves you from future repentance.
Applying restraint on speech takes enormous amounts of willpower and flows against basic human nature and instincts as it is our tendency to try to mingle in a group for social acceptance in whatever way we can.
It may not earn you applause or instant followers, but it can earn you more loyal friends who will do anything you would require. You earn something much more valuable and intangible: Trust and Respect.
(Be a good listener)
Speak Only When You Have Something Important to Say
Some people’s mere presence is a statement and the way they act, sit, look and stand, their every gesture, “speaks” volumes of their intentions and opinions. This can be both positive and negative. Most people have to speak to be heard.
The way we communicate, verbally and non-verbally, with others says a lot about us. This is true for non-verbal communication even when we don’t say a word.
The body language, our expressions, the tone of our voice, its volume, modulation and pitch, our hand gestures and how much or how little we say – these all indicate our personality and character.
People who talk insistently, also fail to recognize they have the urge to always be in the limelight and centre of all conversations. They do not give others even a chance to complete and interject as a right with complete disregard to anyone’s emotions. So, are you a talker or are you a listener?
It is not possible to be both a talker and a listener at the same time and let us find out which one is better?
Like most things in life, communication is also a two-way street, and when you expect someone to listen to you, then you must be ready to lend them an ear when they need it. Also, remember to never cross the lines of decency and manners in any communication.
Learn to Listen
It may sound simple, but every utterance from your mouth has an impact on the psyche of the listener, and an impression about you is formed. Therefore, you need to be sure of what you are going to say, how to say it and when to say it.
If you have the urge to speak and find it hard to listen with patience, then instead of blabbering anything, try asking questions. It may give an insight into the mind of the person and may open doors for better acquaintance.
Here is a list of tools and techniques to help you control your urges to speak and become a more active listener.
- Do not interrupt others
- Ask questions
- Give gratitude to others for letting you listen
- Accept differences of opinion
- Always, think before you speak
- Meditate and practice being quiet in a room doing nothing
- Avoid spreading gossip
- Write your thoughts in a journal
How to Win an Argument?
‘Balance is key in times of conflict, like in all other parts of life.’ It is a necessity to balance the emotions.
Students and many people wonder how to be good in debates as they lack confidence in themselves. The key is balance.
An argument with anyone may turn bitter if you forget what Bhagavad Gita has to say about spoken words – non-agitating, non-hurtful, and truthful.
Every conflict of words has the ability to stress you out, increase your anxiety and create a sense of discomfort and irritation. Many people will avoid arguments at all costs just to avoid these discomforts of mind and body.
While some would jump at any opportunity to argue with anyone on anything.
In order to “win” an argument you must:
- Always speak facts
- Genuinely see other person’s perspective
- Be open-minded
- Keep emotions under control
- Respect your opponent
We all can develop limitations. No one is a good speaker by birth. Practice makes them one. Passion for something will never bring failure. Passion will ultimately lead to patience because your only aim will be your object of desire. You will be a good speaker. You will know when to speak and when not to. Assuredly, you will be the winner of an argument.
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