I have an old friend that has been helpful to me over many, many years. This friend often reminds me not to overdo things and that, paradoxically,very often, ‘less is better’. Allow me to explain.
Many people come to counselling to deal with what appear to be impasses in their relationships. These ‘sticking points’ definitely tend to recur and become more glaring, and also more potentially destructive over time. The temptation unfortunately is to ignore the problem in the hope that it will go away. Often, both partners tend to find various distractions in their worlds to occupy their attention.
Frequently these interpersonal ` black holes threaten to swallow up all the lightness and levity between partners. Usually there are associated communication problems, culminating in partners being unable to ‘stay on the same page’ long enough to process the problem. This is where my old friend known as silence comes in.
The first attribute of silence is that helps slow things down in a conversation. It does this in the guise of the ‘pause’. Pausing inside a heated discussion or argument, creates moments in which both partners can cool down, collect themselves, take a breath and a step back from that all-too- frequent default position of defensiveness. Once defensiveness enters a conversation, the process is hijacked by emotion and just starts circling endlessly around, getting nowhere.
Silence, aka, pausing, can facilitate a ‘time out’ moment and help the couple find their way back to where their conversation went awry. The ‘pregnant pause’ is a more nuanced use of silence and has .a powerful impact on the flow and nature of a conversation. It is a skill I try to endow my clients with, to create a more effective communication style.
Another virtue of silence is that it creates a space for reflection. This is when silence is found internally, in a meditative or pensive mode. A quieter mind is one of the cornerstones of mindfulness after all. By facilitating reflective thought, silence clears away the debris of distractions and allows you to rediscover parts of yourself that you may have lost sight of over time, and that are required to help you find your way through a seeming relationship impasse.
So, silence really can be golden.
Insights Counselling Service is the practice of Michael Finn.
If you wish to benefit from more insights into communication patterns and relationship dynamics and have Michael shine a light on your journey, call now :
Contact (Centre): 07 3368 1300. Mobile: 0411 537 394