Author Topic: Why do we stay silent and not speak up!  (Read 27160 times)

Positive Change

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Why do we stay silent and not speak up!
« on: July 08, 2011, 07:21:36 AM »
Through my journey of spiritual discovery and life in general, I find the above question intriguing. Why? Well... to be honest, I catch myself not saying much when I need to or not saying much because I fear I have nothing to contribute be it a conversation, debate, problem, etc. I often though the reason for this was the fact that I was an innately shy person. Perhaps this is true but should it really be the reason why?

I use to find "comfort" in my silence as I think I cannot say anything wrong and look silly in the process. Upon deeper contemplation with what little realisations I have now, it had nothing to do with whether I said something wrong (we all do as we cannot possibly know everything!) but everything to do with not wanting to look silly or bad. This was and is to some degree a fundamental flaw in myself and I dare say in most people.

However, having said that, I do find myself more aware when I do this and do catch myself in mid thought (while contemplating NOT to speak) and actually just speak my mind. I rather look stupid than feed my already over inflated ego!

What do you guys think on this matter and do share your own experiences!!! :)

triesa

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Re: Why do we stay silent and not speak up!
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2011, 08:13:33 AM »
Positive Change,  you have rasied a very interesting topic here....

I guess besides the reason you mentioned of why people stay quiet and not speak up......one being the big ego so as not to look stupid.

But what about the fact that you know whatever you say, the outcome will not be changed? And should you not just stay quiet and go with the flow?  I find that you need the right crowd to have a free flow of exchanges, and through these open exchanges, more truth or ideas will come forth.

kurava

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Re: Why do we stay silent and not speak up!
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2011, 01:02:05 PM »
Recently, my Lama taught on universal responsibility.
 
The gist of his teachings is -
Yes, we can't eliminate all the sufferings of the world  but if we don't do anything then we are guilty for not helping to reduce the suffering of others.
Now I understand why neutral karma will also be a cause to the three lower realms :(

Triesa, you might be right that whatever you say will not change the outcome; but who can know for certain what the outcome would be?
If we don't speak up we might be guilty of not doing our bit of universal responsibility .


diamond girl

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Re: Why do we stay silent and not speak up!
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2011, 05:02:26 PM »
Have you guys not seen the ever famous slogan from Nike : Just Do It

When we think too much it just gives us mental pleasure to feed our own egos. In keeping quiet what are we justifying? That we know more and better than others? To tell ourselves that we do not want to look stupid is just feeding the ego. This I know truly from my own silence. We may be verbally silent but let me tell you, our minds are racing with self-conversation.

When we speak up we create communication, and in communication we exchange ideas and thoughts, and with that we learn and grow. We learn and grow even when what we speak about and hear in return may not at all times be what pleases us. The most important thing about speaking up is that you never know whose life you will affect and whose life you can touch. Of course I do not mean speak up with nonsense or speak with the intent to hurt. If you have such results when you speak up, then check in with your motivation.

Everyone and everybody has something to contribute always. The point is to contribute. Speak with the motivation to make a positive difference to others.

triesa

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Re: Why do we stay silent and not speak up!
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2011, 05:42:37 AM »

Triesa, you might be right that whatever you say will not change the outcome; but who can know for certain what the outcome would be?
If we don't speak up we might be guilty of not doing our bit of universal responsibility .



I agree with you Kurava that speaking up is to fullfill our part in universal responsibility.  It does requires skillful means and wisdom to understand the depositions of the mind sets of the people you are speaking to.

Very often, when we speak up, we want our ideas or comments heard and taken, but many a times, it may not be the case and that we also have to be prepared.

WoselTenzin

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Re: Why do we stay silent and not speak up!
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2011, 09:05:08 AM »
The importance of speaking up varies in different situations.  If it is just to get our opinions or ideas across it is still OK if we choose not to speak up because we know that others are not receptive and therefore no point wasting our time or making "enemies" for nothing.

In cases where justice for others requires us to speak up, we should do so at all cost because that is our universal responsibility especially if we know of something that is not right or a crime being committed or others are being accused of things they did not do. Speaking up in situations such as this could save a person' s life, livelihood, marriage etc.

If we fail to speak up in such situations for whatever reasons, we have have failed in our universal responsibility.

dsiluvu

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Re: Why do we stay silent and not speak up!
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2011, 07:56:18 PM »
Agree with Wosel Tenzin re speaking at appropriate situations, especially when a situation arises for you to step up to help someone, even if it means making yourself look bad and you take the blame in the end.

We need to ask ourselves... are we really not speaking up because we are "shy" or are we being a "coward"? I think shy and coward is perhaps equal. Whatever justification I give it... it still comes out negative especially when we are meant to speak up to protect/help/defend/clear doubts ... especially when the situation calls for it. Also when we do speak... it must have substance, a honest basis to back what we are saying. But definitely if you don't speak up to clear a certain situation that could help someone, you should. And in the end the fear of looking bad, being wronged or blamed in fact builds respect and confidence in ones character. it shows us our real colours of who we are inside - Heroes... the baby steps to aspiring Boddhisattva perhaps this is how we can begin to practice?

Positive Change

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Re: Why do we stay silent and not speak up!
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2011, 07:12:38 AM »
I personally feel speaking up regardless of how one looks should be key. It is not done only to "protect" or help "avert" a problem. It is ALSO to give praise and due credit to others. If we choose to only jump in to help whenever someone is in trouble, we train our minds to look out only for one's faults or weaknesses and not ones good points or strengths.

If we truly want to be aspiring Boddhisatvas, we must be willing to defend AS WELL as compliment. Our egos are such that sometimes it is harder to compliment than to speak up on someone's behalf. This being, I think... in speaking up we actually gain some form of "pride" that we helped someone but in actually rejoicing or complimenting someone we seem to think we get nothing! My thoughts anyways!

WoselTenzin

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Re: Why do we stay silent and not speak up!
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2011, 07:41:23 AM »
Speaking up to put right what has been done wrong requires courage to withstand the perpetrator's retaliation and this is not something for the "chicken-hearted". 

There will be people who have done wrong but will be angry with you when you speak up and expose them.  They can even turn around and tell you that you are vindictive and accuse you getting them into trouble.   

Speaking up in such situation is important.  Otherwise, it is not different with colluding with wrong doing out of fear of retaliation.

triesa

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Re: Why do we stay silent and not speak up!
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2011, 04:00:02 PM »
What does everyone think in this........

When we stay silent and not speak up in order  to offer the victory to others so that the arguement or tense situation will stop. We do this also according to one of the eight versus of mind transformation, which says :

When others out of jealousy
mistreat me with abuse, slander and so on
I will practise accepting defeat
and offering the victory to them


Is this not abiding to the "universal responsibility" which states that we always have to speak up?

sahara

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Re: Why do we stay silent and not speak up!
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2011, 06:08:59 PM »
Why do we stay silent and not speak up!  We are not speaking up because we are shy and also if we said something wrong  being the ego so as not to look stupid. Sometime i do catch my self not saying much when i need to say...  :-[. yes! i need to confess, because i scare to say wrong and i will look silly....l agree with you that Positive Change said: { what use to find "comfort" in my silence as I think I cannot say anything wrong and look silly in the process. Upon deeper contemplation with what little realisations I have now, it had nothing to do with whether I said something wrong (we all do as we cannot possibly know everything!) but everything to do with not wanting to look silly or bad. This was and is to some degree a fundamental flaw in myself and I dare say in most people.} I really learn a lot from here.A big thanks to all :D

kurava

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Re: Why do we stay silent and not speak up!
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2011, 02:18:21 AM »
What does everyone think in this........

When we stay silent and not speak up in order  to offer the victory to others so that the arguement or tense situation will stop. We do this also according to one of the eight versus of mind transformation, which says :

When others out of jealousy
mistreat me with abuse, slander and so on
I will practise accepting defeat
and offering the victory to them


Is this not abiding to the "universal responsibility" which states that we always have to speak up?

In all our actions or inactions, only we know what is our motivation.

If speaking up is to do our bit of universal responsibility - rejoice !

If your not-speaking-up is to practise the 8 verses - rejoice too !

 :D

vajrastorm

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Re: Why do we stay silent and not speak up!
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2011, 09:37:58 AM »
It all depends on the situation . If we see that the situation requires us to speak up and by not speaking up,  a wrong will not be corrected, then it is imperative that we speak up.

However, there are situations, where it is better that we keep quiet. In a certain situation, where two people are fiercely arguing about an issue which is actually trivial and it's all about winning an argument and nothing else, and one of them just wants somebody to support their stand against the other, then it is wiser not to add fuel to fire.

Quite a lot of  times it is about our 'ego'. We prefer not to speak up so that we won't 'lose face' . Or we are afraid that we 'll be confronted, afterwards, by the party we spoke up against and given a stinging rebuke by them. The 'moral' of it all is to check our motivation.

Klein

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Re: Why do we stay silent and not speak up!
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2011, 07:51:52 PM »
Through my journey of spiritual discovery and life in general, I find the above question intriguing. Why? Well... to be honest, I catch myself not saying much when I need to or not saying much because I fear I have nothing to contribute be it a conversation, debate, problem, etc. I often though the reason for this was the fact that I was an innately shy person. Perhaps this is true but should it really be the reason why?

I use to find "comfort" in my silence as I think I cannot say anything wrong and look silly in the process. Upon deeper contemplation with what little realisations I have now, it had nothing to do with whether I said something wrong (we all do as we cannot possibly know everything!) but everything to do with not wanting to look silly or bad. This was and is to some degree a fundamental flaw in myself and I dare say in most people.

However, having said that, I do find myself more aware when I do this and do catch myself in mid thought (while contemplating NOT to speak) and actually just speak my mind. I rather look stupid than feed my already over inflated ego!

What do you guys think on this matter and do share your own experiences!!! :)

Not speaking up when it's necessary may be due to low confidence, afraid of looking bad and not wanting to take responsibility. Whereas, sometimes it's necessary to stay silent. Therefore, one needs to know when to speak up and when to not speak up.

I guess what we need to check is whether our motivation matches our goals. When we honestly ask ourselves, we'll be able to find the answers.

hope rainbow

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Re: Why do we stay silent and not speak up!
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2011, 09:33:33 AM »
Not speaking up when it's necessary may be due to low confidence, afraid of looking bad and not wanting to take responsibility. Whereas, sometimes it's necessary to stay silent. Therefore, one needs to know when to speak up and when to not speak up.
I guess what we need to check is whether our motivation matches our goals. When we honestly ask ourselves, we'll be able to find the answers.

Dear Klein, I agree with you. Speaking up or not is not the point; the point is" what is our motivation for speaking up or not"!

If the motivation to not speak up is "I'll look silly", "I'll look stupid", "people will make fun of me", "if I speak up, they'll ask me to participate more"... are these motivation those of a spiritual practitioner? I think there is the question to ask ourselves.

Sometimes we have the answer to a problem and we don't speak up because we don't want to come across as the solution, we don't want to give a bit of our time to help someone else. Then someone else's speaks up and say: "I'll do it" and we feel more relaxed (for I won't have to do it). These are not habits that a spiritual practitioner should nurture, these are habits to counter.