The Power of Silence
Researchers have shown that it takes two positive comments to offset one negative, and some believe the ratio should be 5-to-1 for loved ones, spouses, parents, children, etc.
We seem to have a built-in bias toward negative information and negatives increase disproportionately over positives. That’s why personal insults or criticism hit us harder and stay with us longer.
However, Monday morning I awoke to an avalanche of support. People thanking me for writing my truth. People who were proud, could relate and were relieved to hear they weren’t alone.
Close to two hundred of people read my blog. A huge amount left comments. Words of wisdom, support and thanks.
I was over-whelmed. I was thankful. I was happy with myself for publishing it when I truly wanted to send it to the trash. I was proud.
Then I showed it to a loved one. Someone important in my life. Someone I look up to. Someone I trust. Their reaction was unexpected. It shocked me.
I was lost. I was hurt. All the positives my friends had been saying all day were gone. Dust. Worthless. Irrelevant.
The sad part was that the person didn’t “say” anything. They just said “huh.” and shrugged it off.
Silence. Nothing…. “Huh.”
Silence – it’s a powerful tool. Almost more powerful than a negative in that it leaves the receiver at a complete loss as how to read the reaction.
Silences leaves you second guessing and, because of the “bias towards the negative”, always believing the worst.
People think I am strong. I am not.
I spiraled. I went right back to regretting the post. I went right back to feeling like I never should have walked in that room. I went right back to believing that the whole thing was a mistake.
I went home that night afraid to hear my husband’s thoughts. I knew he had not read it yet. He knew the topic and had seen some of the feedback but he hadn’t actually read it yet. What was he going to think. Would he be silent?
Lucky for me, he is a wonderful support. He was proud and just as positive as the hundreds of others. And, although I still have a knot in my gut stewing the sadness that one response created, somewhere in all of those research documents it must show that a husband’s love can overpower all the uncertainty the world can offer.
Posted on September 21, 2011, in Just my thoughts and tagged #140ConfOnt, confidence, esteem, feedback, Follow-up, negative comments, parents, positive comments, self worth, What People Think. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.