Then there are other times when it doesn't matter how many words you have; silence is better. Sometimes people need to just be heard without questions, without affirmations, without trying to problem solve or even apologize. Sometimes people just need to speak to someone silently, attentively listening.
It felt like that was what was needed most today. Perhaps I am feeling quieter because of the rainy, dark-yet-calming sky. As my daughters each took a turn at a big meltdown, I just heard them. I didn't offer my usual, "I hear you" or "That can be so frustrating". I didn't ask them to identify their feelings or walk through how we could problem solve it. I just sat there, silently listening.
My oldest, in my silence, found her own way through it. She came to a solution, and went through the cycle again as it failed. Then tried again until she got it. I smiled. She moved on.
My little one had an epic meltdown and rolled around the floor. She came back to me and then did it all over again. Time and again until she had worn herself out. Then she lay there resting and rebuilding her energy just holding my hand and watching my face. I just watched lovingly and calmly.
It is not easy for me. Children crying is a trigger for me. Perhaps some of it is the mere volume, as I do struggle with loud noises. The other part is the painful shattering I feel in my heart when my kids cry, even if I know they are okay (or will be as they work through it).
I have taught myself to try not to fix it. I have taught myself to be there for them and acknowledge the feelings they are feeling. I have taught myself rote responses to use so that I do not succumb to the overwhelm of this trigger. But silence?
I had this mental story that if I didn't say anything they would not feel supported. I worried that not saying anything would make it too uncomfortable to sit in that place of high emotion. I worried without the rote responses my trigger would become my focus instead of my child. But today I sat in that discomfort. I sat in silence and watched my children, perfectly capable, work through the big emotions themselves and seem to still know that I was there for them.
Silence. Just listening. No words needed. No fixing or problem solving or even affirming the feeling was needed for them to see I was there for them. Just silent presence.
I'm grateful for the gift of silence today. I'm grateful to honor my own feeling of needing to be silent. I'm grateful to see an old mental story be shattered and see a new story offered. I'm grateful to just sit in those emotions and still be in control of my own. I'm grateful to feel those waves push at my energy and feel that mine is strongly and uniquely my own. I'm grateful. I'm grateful for ways there are not words to describe and grateful for the option to change languages to find a word when needed.
When do you need words? What is something you wish you had a word to describe? When do you need silence? When do you give the gift of silence to someone else?
May today offer us silence. May we bask in it, feel it, and learn from it. Have a beautiful day!