It’s an old phrase for a seemingly forgotten era, when a majority of people considered quiet time to be treasured time. In today’s culture, it brings with it the condemnation of non-productivity. It seems we have become convinced that taking a breather means we have lost some invisible race as others pass us by.
This week I had coffee with a friend of a friend, who was in a crisis. The details are private, but she was on the cusp of making several life decisions that would impact her career, her family and her health significantly. Her stress level was such that she was under a doctor’s supervision.
As we talked, it became apparent that she needed rest and reflection. Her mind was spinning as fast as the many voices offering her advice. In a panic, she had reached out to others, and the voices were loud, conflicting, and while well meaning, some detrimental.
Having been there before, I can relate to the need for help. It’s natural to call out to others. However, it’s important to remember that others speak from their own experience and history, and may not have wisdom you should apply.
My friend was in need of reflection and the confidence to put her own experience to work. While I’m a huge proponent of asking for help, choosing who to talk to becomes paramount in getting sound counsel.
- Get alone and get quiet. If you are a person of faith, pray and listen and talk to others who share your faith. Then take time to weigh your options, calm your fears, and think about the affects of your decisions. You likely know what to do, you just have not given yourself the right to decide out of fear you will make a wrong decision.
- Get outside, take a walk. Once you’ve made a mental commitment, then make a physical one. If you get outside and expand your horizon, it helps clear your mind. If you think within four walls, you are likely to think in a box. Get outside, move your body, and loosen your creativity. It will make you feel better, which will improve your ability to think clearly while releasing tension that keeps you feeling bound.
- Believe in yourself. You don’t need others as much as you think you do. Your life is built on your experience, and that experience has taught you valuable lessons unique to your situation. You know what has worked for you, what has not worked for you, and what is likely to bring change that brings positive results. Take time to think through your situation alone.
- Face reality. Deal with what is, not what you wish. While you can hope and dream for what you want, you must make the decisions that lead there. Often our greatest lessons come from stepping out of our comfort zones and going for what we feel driven to pursue.
Need direction? We all do. While asking for help can be good, take a step back and get quiet. After all, silence is golden!