What You Don’t Say is More Valuable
I know I’ve been saying express yourself… But expression needn’t always be about words…it can mean a multitude of things. You could talk through your body language, eyes, gestures, and even silence.
I was recently volunteering for a nationwide movement in India, Rally for Rivers, initiated by Isha Foundation. We would go to different organisations and institutions to create awareness about the need to save the nation’s rivers, and we’d encourage people to make a missed call to show their support toward it.
One particular encounter moved me deeply… I was chatting with a young guy who had a hearing impairment. But he showed a keen interest in knowing about the cause, and how he could contribute.
He didn’t have to say anything…the enthusiasm on his face said it all.
I knew he was a willingly supporter…so I gave him the literature which he could read instead, pointed toward the phone, and then to the pamphlet, requesting him to make the missed call after he read it.
This entire communication transpired through gestures, eye contact, and speaking through pronounced lip movements, as I didn’t know sign language.
I could sense he wanted to educate himself before committing, so I gave him the time. After sometime, when he returned from lunch, he gestured that he had made the missed call…
He showed me the thumbs-up and pointed toward his mobile phone. And, while he did this, he a big smile on his face — showing approval and support.
My smile was even bigger…I had succeeded in communicating without communicating…and with no script. Moreover, the connection was complete — both the people in the conversation were smiling.
That day, I realised two things: One, nothing can stop the willing soul; and two, communication can happen in myriad ways, all you need is intent…everything else is just a mechanism that will work itself out.
When I started Pink Pinjra, I envisioned it as a space for free expression, for people who had used various mechanisms to express themselves — be it through their professions, a particular skill, or even just by sharing their experiences and interactions with the world around them.
Through my own evolution, I have noticed that very often I faltered in life or relationships because I was hesitant to speak. Even when I spoke, I’d let my emotions override my reason, often missing the point I intended to make.
It was writing — my chosen mode of expression — that allowed me to structure my thoughts, create sound points of discussion, and give the reader more than I had intended. Where words failed me in discussions, they came to me naturally when I wrote…
Through years of being a writer and thinker, not only have I enhanced my research, analytical and writing skills, but also honed my intuitive abilities.
When I interviewed people I wrote about, I began to sense if something was holding them back, and started gently egging them on to talk more.
I also realised that the gaps of silence played a much bigger role in conversations than speech itself… They were actually the real indicators of a person’s character and life journey.
Some of the people interviewed would often go back to a past memory fondly, sometimes even choke with emotion, or hesitate before they decided to share some more…
While I’ve always been in the business of words, my work has been much more than that… It’s been about understanding and holding those gaps in conversations, and even in my writing… If you write too much or too less, too often or infrequently, every aspect adds a different dimension to your writing.
In learning there’s a phrase called ‘space repetition’, the amount of time you maintain between two learning slots…in the content world, it’s how often ‘you drip content’.
Either way, it’s about keeping a little time before you speak once again, enabling the other person to respond, or assimilate what has just been said.
Communication or expression needn’t be an ongoing uninterrupted process, because a lot of learning takes place in the gaps, just as in meditation…it’s in the gap between your thoughts where you find most peace.
In communication too, it’s the moments when you don’t say anything, and wait for something to develop, that you build more lasting connections and meaningful communication.
My interaction with the hearing impaired guy taught me one more thing — so much of our conversation is unnecessary… If we simply empathise more, and use our intuitive powers to sense what the other person needs, our relationships may just get stronger, with fewer quarrels and lesser arguments.
So, speak if you must, but speak wisely… Allow yourself those pauses to help you connect with people, and sharpen your intuitive and sensory powers. The way you feel is always more important than what you say.
Thus, often what you ‘don’t' say can add more value to your life, and the lives of those around you than what you ‘do' say.
Pink Pinjra invites writer, thinkers and creatives from all walks of life to share with readers their experiences… It’s a space where you can talk about anything, even the need to say nothing…
So open up, share with the world a bit of your shining soul, and know how liberating the power of expression can be… To know how to submit your articles, click here.
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