Silence: The condition or quality of being or keeping still and silent, absence of sound; stillness.
A period of time without speech or noise. Refusal or failure to speak out.
“Silence is complicity. Speak now or surrender your ground” – Michelle Malkin
Being English, one of our teachings as a child was, “If you can’t say something nice, keep quiet” and “Some things are best left unsaid”. It was prudent and accepted, even encouraged, as having good manners and correct behaviour was very important. Therefor we kept quiet on many issues that we felt quite passionate about, we kept quiet all the while knowing that someone was being maltreated, we kept quiet when we saw a thief steal something from a store and we kept quiet when we saw infidelity happening. Goodness, we kept quiet for the sake of peace, all the while knowing that the secret was eating us inside but what to do? It was after all, nothing to do with us, not our business to stick our noses into. So we went through life, quiet on many subjects.
So the questions that I want to pose to you today will take some thinking and perhaps soul searching from your side and I would love for you to take the time to tell me what you think.
If honesty is the best policy (terrible cliché) does it only encompass that information you choose to share? Say an old friend called you up, you went for coffee and never mentioned it to your husband. One day this friend bumps into your husband on the street and casually asks after your well-being since you saw each other last, at coffee, 3 months ago. How do you think your husband would feel, react or think – because of course you have told him time and again how much honesty means to you, and how you both hate lies?
Do you believe that there are some things that you just don’t need to bring out into the open? Do you think that too much openness is a bad thing? What about your right to privacy, is it applicable to your closest relationships? Do you go into self-preservation mode when it comes to divulging things from your past that may be a little unsavoury? What do you think about telling your employer upfront about your run-in with the law? Or would you rather be silent and hope they never find out? If silence is golden, do you think you absolve yourself of responsibility and guilt if you keep quiet?
Do you think that silence is a form of a lie, because of course, by saying nothing you inadvertently are an accomplice to the secret? Maybe by being silent you can say that you didn’t lie, which is the truth – by not speaking, you didn’t incriminate yourself. Turn the tables around for a minute and put yourself at the receiving end of a half-truth. If you found out the whole truth would you be understanding of the reasons that the person gave for only sharing what they deemed necessary for you to know? Or would you feel betrayed a little? Would you trust that person enough to allow them to have secrets of their own? Would you truly be able to trust that they would have your best interests at heart? Or are their own interests the only ones they care about?
So, dear reader, is silence really the best way to be honest? I would love to hear what you think
As always, I welcome your comments.