By: Steven Aitchison & Suzanne Phillips
Silence has an energy to it like no other source. It has the power to get people to think and to act, it can help slow the mind down, and it is a powerful ally in the likes of reflection.
The trouble with silence is that many people feel the need to fill the void of silence with needless chatter, with TV, with music, with noise of some kind. Silence can be disconcerting and can make people feel uncomfortable and alone. When we turn our thoughts and focus inwards, we gain the power we need to refuel our minds. Our ego is temporarily switched off or at least made to be quiet for a bit, and we start to see the real world as it should be. Our thoughts get in the way of our reality sometimes and we don’t see the beauty of the world around us. When there is silence there is time for introspection and to allow your true self to speak, not the conscious mind but the true self connected to the flow of energy around us.
3 silent signs of a healthy relationship:
1) Powerful Bond Between Individuals:
A couple’s ability to find a safe and affirming space in silence is a gift of trust and peace. Much as psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott describes the importance of the infant’s individuation as the capacity to play alone in the presence of the mother, a couple’s ability to have separate silent space while remaining bonded reflects their independence as well as their bond.
2) Just Being There:
Researchers (Schore, 2003) confirm that when people are intimately connected they are acutely aware of each other’s non-verbal cues in a way that impacts each other even beyond conscious awareness. Recognizing and using “Just Being There” as a powerful recovery tool to soothe and support each other in the day to day journey as well as in the recovery from trauma underscores the potency of connection — even without words.
3) What Words Can’t Say:
As addressed in my 2008 book Healing Together, there is a intimate bond that couples share physically that can not at times be translated into words. For some, words have been so misunderstood that silent intimate connection becomes the step before the words, making this a crucial step in the recovery of their bond. As articulated by Charlie Walton in learning of the death of his two teenage boys, sometimes There are No Words. Silence reflects the fact that the “unsayable” has happened. Sometimes this is the shared experience of both partners in the face of tragedy, trauma, or loss. Sometimes because people and men and women grieve differently, one partner wants the other to speak, to “ say something.” Alternative: Be authentic. Clarify that you wish you could but you can’t. If you can, use non-verbal means – a hug, food, just listening as your way of responding.
Consider giving new meaning to silence by praying, sharing nature, going for walks, and holding hands.