When Silence Is Golden.
Remember when you were a child and your Mum told you to keep your fingers away from the flame? I doubt it; after all for most of us it was not the telling that taught us, it was the shooting pain of burning that really resonated.
For most of us it’s the experience of something that really impacts on our psyche not the theory, no matter how well founded. We are fundamentally creatures of feeling and until we have personally felt the consequences of what we are doing we cannot fully appreciate or learn from them. This seems simple enough, but in some cases the learning ‘how not to do it again’ part can be a real struggle.
All of us are constantly ascertaining our preferred responses and reactions to the challenges life throws at us. Creating patterns of behaviour that subconsciously we feel protect, promote, or support us in some way. Our response patterns become comfortable, because they are familiar. Some of these patterns may even cause us great pain but the reassurance of their familiarity will keep us repeating them over and over. This could be because we aren’t aware of what we are doing or we can’t conceive of an alternative that makes sense to us. Or, hardest of all, we know the alternative but we are too scared to act on it, as we fear the pain or difficulty we believe it will bring.
Whatever the reason the timeline is set by us, as individuals, it is us, and our feelings that fundamentally call the shots on when we learn and decide to change. Only we can set the deadline for when we are ready, in fact it is physically impossible for us to change before we are prepared to do it.
This sounds frustrating and painful but it’s actually the most beautiful part of learning. That sense of self-satisfaction, gratitude and appreciation you have for yourself when you have had an epiphany, realised your pattern and decided to make a change. Even when the change you have made may have brought pain but the long-term consequences of it are incredibly positive. It is this unique and independent journey of self-evolution that really lies at the core of our growth. It is what makes us fragile and unbreakable all at the same time – that delicate blend of human that we are.
So the next time you are with someone who is pouring out their problems and the answer is staring you in the face, think twice. Firstly, it may be blindingly obvious to you and perhaps them, but that does not necessarily mean they are ready to action it. Secondly, consider what you’re actually doing, you are giving them an immediate solution, a shortcut, and in so doing you are robbing them of that vital journey of self-discovery. You are short-circuiting their own precious timeline and for what, for who?
So what to do? By all means console them, identify with them: ‘That must be hard, I’m sorry to hear that..’ etc. But I suggest you don’t give them the answer as you see it, instead adopt the Reiki approach, be compassionate, to yourself, and to them, and stay silent. Supportively silent.