By Eryka T. Johnson
Does your silence give approval of another person’s words or actions? A very similar question was posed to my Facebook community and the responses varied. Some said “no”, others said “yes”, & still a few said “both.” In this article, we will discuss if silence is truly approval when it comes to other people in your life.
At different times in my life, silence meant different things. For instance, my silence as a woman with little confidence was different from my silence as a married woman compromising in my relationship which was still different from my silence and as a leader learning from a mentor.
As a woman with little confidence
When I struggled with low self-esteem and wanting to be liked by others, anything would go. Others could say and do just about anything to me. I had no personal boundaries nor did I REALLY know myself. As a result, I gave permission for abuse. My belief was I did not matter anyway. Without the courage to stand up for myself, I allowed others to treat me with dis-respect.
As a married woman
As a woman in a marriage relationship, my silence has ALWAYS been strategic and purposeful. I’ve been married now for over 11 years and there have been many opportunities for compromise. When you compromise, you agree to live with some things and equally agree to live without a few things as well. Every time I compromised, it involved being purposely silent on a few matters in order to move forward so both my husband and I could be happy. Some would call that being silent for the sake of peace, rather I consider it as a mark of maturity in marriage.
As a leader learning from a mentor
As a business woman, I have invested nearly $10,000 this year alone to be mentored one-on-one by highly successful business people who have a sincere love for God. With this investment, comes insight and constructive criticism which is sometimes difficult for me to swallow. My silence while having my work critiqued does not necessarily say I agree with all the comments and feedback. I requested input the day I signed the coaching contract. Rather, the silence is out of respect to their perspective & wisdom having been successful in business for many years. I do NOT implement every suggestion particularly those that do not align with my vision.
Does silence mean approval? Honestly, it is based on the circumstances and the mindset of the individual. So, what does your silence mean?
Eryka T. Johnson