I’m currently sitting in Whole Foods right now inspired to write a quick post on silence. Here’s the story. I just got off the train after taking the subway uptown and while I was on the train an older gentleman said he didn’t appreciate the fact that I had put my foot up on a seat. It’s a valid argument, but in my defense, I moved my foot the second he stepped on the train as I always do. I know some of you may be picturing me sprawled out on the seats with my dirty shoes all over the seats, but it wasn’t the case at all. I simply put my heel up on the edge of the seat. Now that I’ve justified myself (kinda), I’ll tell you I was pretty upset considering his tone and the fact that he said I “might have gum on my shoe and it would get on his pants” (exaggerate much?). Anyways, I sarcastically apologized and shut my mouth until my stop came even though the whole time I felt inclined to throw in my last words and respond, but I didn't. As I got up and grabbed my bags, he turned to me, smiled and genuinely said “no hard feelings”. At that point I gave him a tap on the shoulder and said “no hard feelings at all” and at that point I felt like I made a friend.
So where’s this story going? In that 15 minutes until I arrived at my next stop, I wanted so bad to respectfully argue with him, but I didn’t because of two reasons. 1. He’s an older gentleman and I was always taught to respect my elders. 2. My day was going well up to this point and I felt that it wasn’t worth ruining it over something as stupid as putting my foot on a seat on the train. From that I truly learned the idea of “thinking before I speak” and how things can work themselves out when you give things some time to breathe. I think we’ll always come across people with pointless commentary, but before you speak or write, think. The “Silence is a source of great strength” quote has never resonated with me more than now. The message here isn’t to hold in your feelings, but to choose wisely what you dedicate your attention and time to.
I’ve heard the saying before but I‘ve never truly applied it to my everyday life. Today, that older man helped me realize that. Thank you old man.