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Growing relationship: The noble silence

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Relationships are hard and beautiful at the same time. We all long for the perfect one, yet often we’re not up to the challenge and demand more than we can offer. For it to be a healthy relationship, both partners should be willing to understand each other. We all have difficult times in our relationship and each has his own way of dealing with them. While communication and understanding is one of the best advice out there, sometimes you just can’t handle it.

Or I just can’t handle it. That’s how I discovered that silence is sometimes a really good answer. When I’m going through a rough time, what I’ve dubbed as the golden silence is one of my best strategies. I’ve learned the importance of silence at a meditation camp, where one of the conditions was 10 days of Noble Silence. That’s why I kept the name, for its relationship cousin. After 10 days of silence you realize how many useless stupid things you usually say. Things that have consequences and don’t really help any of you two.

Extending the meditation habit into your relationship can be done, if you choose to be friendly. No hostile silence, no punishing your significant other because he/she has done something to disappoint you and you are too upset to even mention it. No, for the noble silence to work, you should have the friendliest chat you are capable of in that moment and explain that you are confused/too busy/ agitated/ frustrated these days to handle anything extra. And that you choose to keep a healthy silence, for a week let’s say. I’ve noticed that two or three days is the minimum for it to have effect. And meanwhile you can have the necessary interaction not to be hostile. This should also encourage the other to manage his life on his own for a couple of days.

So what are the benefits of this self imposed silence?

You get to appreciate the good things more and notice them fully aware

The small gestures your significant other has changed along the years for you are obvious now, when your own silence can’t make you notice out loud that it’s not quite perfect. You realize it’s more important that the gesture is there, than that it’s not the way ‘it should be.’

You get to notice the bad things in a new light:

When harsh words come your way you will start to notice how they affect you and what sensitive chord they strike. Once you realize your part in the everyday problems and the fine tuning that make you work, you will be prepared to talk frankly about them.

You avoid a period of unnecessary fighting:

Because you are going through a stressing stage unnecessary conflict arises more often and a lot easier. This way, both of you will be saner after the golden silence has passed.

You get back to yourself:

Being in a relationship and sharing everything makes you lose yourself sometimes. I personally don’t remember what I like or what I want because my significant other’s needs are just as important as mine. The noble silence breaks that continuum, without affecting the connection we have gained in time.

You just remember you don’t really like staying in but you haven’t gone out in a while because you wanted to spend more time together, for example. And it adds up frustration without even realizing it. You will want to do the things you liked to do and he/she will rediscover you again.

You remember empathy:

This was a breakthrough for me. I believe everyone can be emphatic if you listen and observe enough. Sometimes, talking gets in the way of empathy and understanding. Let’s say you get some unnecessary criticism and feel offended. Normally you might react, but the noble silence gives you time. And 5 minutes later, or a day later you discover that the words were said out of stress or lack of time and you understand better, they don’t hurt anymore. Next time you won’t react so quickly and it will be better for both.

You return refreshed:

This is the main reason for choosing to keep the noble silence. After observing yourself and others, the way you interact changes a little. Enough to make everyone’s day better.

So, is silence an answer for you?

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