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The Art of Silence: Why Holding Back Can Be More Powerful Than Speaking Up

Over the years, I have learnt a crucial lesson: not everything that comes to your mind has to be said. Learning the art of silence and holding back can be more powerful than speaking up. So, in this blog, I break down the benefits according to my experience. You can watch the video instead by clicking here


black woman being silent
The Art of Silence

Writing this blog reminded me of when someone poked and prodded me until I lost it. Things escalated quickly; needless to say, I got into big trouble. Those who intervened concluded I was in the wrong.


This conclusion angered me because I did not start the argument. The other person involved had charged towards me and hurled insults without any provocation - I was simply minding my business.


But try telling that to the judge.


The unfortunate thing was, had I not lashed out the way I did, the outcome would have been different - I would have been vindicated.


This experience taught me the power of self-restraint. Sometimes, there is power in holding back rather than speaking up - only sometimes, and the key is to know when.


The Art of Silence And Holding Back And The Reasons It's Powerful


Avoiding Hurting Others

If you have a bad thought about someone, that thought is only harmful if you act upon it. Sometimes, saying what we think out loud may hurt others. We may unintentionally damage relationships and create unnecessary conflicts. So, after weighing the consequences, sometimes one is better off holding their tongue.


Protecting Your Privacy

Only some things you think need to be shared with everyone. Some thoughts are personal, and sharing them can be uncomfortable, embarrassing, or inappropriate.

Sometimes, when we are angry, we say things without giving them much thought. Thus, we may unintentionally reveal something we do not want anyone to know. Holding back in the heat of the moment gives you time to calm down and think rationally.


One technique I now use is to take slow, deep breaths and count to ten. The gap between my emotions is running rampant, and the pause is the precious time that affords me the chance to cool off and consider my actions.



Maintaining a Professional Image

In professional settings, it is crucial to maintain a professional image and avoid saying anything that could harm your reputation or career prospects.


For example, if you're building a brand, you want to build trust and credibility and get people to respect you. But you risk tarnishing that brand if you do not learn how to sift your words. Therefore, knowing when and how to say something is crucial.



Preventing Misunderstandings

Our thoughts are not always sometimes clear or logical, especially in the heat of the moment. So, taking time to meditate on things and considering the pros and cons before sharing will avoid misunderstandings, confusion, and miscommunication.

Because once the words are uttered, you cannot retrieve them, and one has no control over how others interpret or view them.



Showing Respect

Sometimes, it's better to remain silent and listen to others instead of constantly expressing our thoughts and opinions. Respecting others' ideas and perspectives can help build trust, strengthen relationships, and create a more harmonious environment.


Sometimes, it's wise to hold back our thoughts and feelings and approach things later, in private or when you've had time to think things through. Especially if you need to correct someone or express disappointment, it is better to wait and do it privately or when you've calmed down.



The art of silence is a powerful communication tool that can speak volumes in certain situations. Holding back can convey emotions, thoughts, and messages without speaking. Whether in a personal or professional setting, knowing when to be silent can be just as important as knowing when to speak up.


Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section!

In the video below, I share the story of how I learned not to speak everything that comes to mind.




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