The Silence of Friends Or Loved Ones
“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
I found this to be a very profound quote. And it shows which is or which should be the most important thing to us….our loved ones and friends….not our enemies. I find that people can get so caught up in what the hate mongers on the internet have to say that they waste a lot of time fussing about them instead of just enjoying and living their life. It is all in how we view it and I do not view what strangers and enemies have to say as important enough to keep me upset for days on end.
I see people put quotes on all the time that say that real friends will go along with what ever you are doing, they will follow you into trouble, etc. And my response is…no, a real friend will try to stop you from getting in trouble and will tell you the truth….even when it hurts or makes you mad.
There are two ways the silence affects those we love or ourselves. One is when friends and loved ones are not there to support us in times of pain, suffering or crisis. That silence is acutely felt and is hurtful. We will remember it for a long time. We will remember the silence they left us with. Perhaps they could not handle it or perhaps they just do not like to deal with others suffering or a crisis but it still leaves a path of hurt when it happens. I usually find that those that have left me in crisis are the very ones that want me to listen when they are in crisis. And I will listen because that is how I am.
I love what this quote says for I am also a big believer in that if we are truly friends with someone or if we truly love someone..like family or friends…then we are honest with them. Many people will just agree with those around them just for the sake of agreeing and actually will not say anything when loved ones including friends are doing something that will make them look bad, are doing something that can get them in trouble, are doing something deceptive or whatever. I believe that if we truly love someone, then we are totally honest with them. I do not mean make every conversation one of contradicting someone. This is about the important things.
If you saw your best friend or a family member stealing …would you say anything? If you saw them carrying on with someones significant other or spouse, would you say anything? If you saw them doing something that could get them in a lot of trouble…would you say anything? If your friend or loved one was telling lies would you say or do anything to make them stop? If you saw them abusing their children, would you say anything? If your friend or family member were driving drunk, would you say anything? Or would you just be silent and let it happen and then when they wrecked and killed themselves or someone else, would you wish you had said something?. I believe personally that if you love a person, then you say something to them…even when you know it may make them mad or hurt their feelings for hurt feelings or anger are better than them getting in trouble or someone getting hurt or having a huge blowout because of their behavior.
I think one of the loudest noises in the world is the “silence” of others. And I think it makes us complicit to the other person’s behavior. Being silent is being complacent. And complacency causes complicity. I remember seeing a child abuse case and the whole family knew it was going on and so did the neighbors and not one person said anything…..not one person. And the child died. All because people would not step up and say what you are doing is wrong and you are hurting those children. And if they could not do anything to stop the family member personally, they could have reported the person for child abuse and had the child removed from the home. And so now…to me…it was not just that parent that killed that child…it was all the people who failed to say anything too. It was all the ones that were silent that contributed too. That sound that echoes across the land….silent complicity.
image from chic-type.com
Stand up and do what is right. Yes, it is hard and can be uncomfortable but if you really care….you will stand up and will tell your loved ones when you see them acting in ways that are harmful to themselves and harmful to others. I see many parents who will not stand up to their children and try to be their friend instead of their parent and the children suffer from it. I hear people say they know that their friend or loved one is doing this or that and going to get in trouble but they will not sit them down and say to them ” if you do not stop you are going to get in trouble”. And the big question is why? I believe people are afraid to do that for fear they will lose that friend or loved one or have them get very angry at them.
I simply believe that the anger or even if the person never speaks to you again…if you have told them that you know what they are doing and that they are messing up royally, ..then you did all you could. I would rather see anger or have them walk away than to see them go to prison or to lose their family or whatever. I would rather see teens be mad at parents who stand up to them than see them turn into something that will get them in trouble down the road and that will turn them into people who do not make them selves accountable for their own actions.
To me, that is what not being silent is. It is an attempt to make a person be accountable for themselves. If someone lies all the time and you just sit there and let them, then you are encouraging them to not be accountable for themselves and you become complicit with their lies. If you let them know in some way that you know they are lying, then they must face themselves and be accountable for that behavior. Plus by saying something, you are making yourself be accountable. For when you know that it is going on and never say a word, then you are part of the lie or the deceit.
image from strategicdiscipline.positioningsystems.com
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