Silent Moments as an Etiquette Skill

Silent Moment

We all use silent moments from time to time to take a pause, reflect on circumstances, and collect ourselves.  

In a silent moment we can align our behavior in accordance with what is kind, considerate, and respectful, while accomplishing whatever end we have in mind.

Taking a Pause

I heard a mom speak to her little boy in our grocery store, trying to calm his temper. Firmly, she said, “Alex, stop! You will find yourself again if you’re quiet for a little while.” He glanced at others nearby who’d been looking at him, offsetting his acting out moment—with silence. We aren’t teachable when we are raging or upset.

Doesn’t it seem sometimes as if everything is moving so fast? When we feel stressed, switched into overwhelm, or on the edge of a rough moment, one of the most calming things to do is to step into silence.

Silent moments offer an opportunity to explore a different point of view. It’s easy to become fully vested in our own focus, forgetting there is another side that is just as legitimate. When we consider how our words and actions affect others, appropriate decisions can be made to adjust our attitude or reactions to what is happening.

Silent Moments and Mindfulness

Mindfulness and etiquette practices go hand in hand and have clear advantages as both require silent practice. Employing mindfulness during our silent moments yields advantages.

  1. We become observers.
  2. We experience the realization of choice in the moment.
  3. It feels good to notice a connection to breath.
  4. Our thoughts slow down.
  5. Empathy emerges as we notice others.
  6. We see opportunities that might help the current situation.

Silent moments help us experience moment-to-moment awareness of internal and external experience, keeping judgment at bay. We find room to become more alert, focused, and, yes, relaxed.

The practice of creating silent moments doesn’t have to be scheduled, but many people enjoy being quiet in prayer or meditation every day. Some prefer to view it as an intentional and momentary technique to re-center and get back into control of ourselves.

Quiet time, however it is carved out, allows a person to be centered and get ready to re-enter the social world of sharing and creating at home or at work. It prepares us to be our best etiquette-ful selves, which also includes readying for important decisions.

The centuries old technique of being in silence, going within, or taking a moment, has continued to be observed because it is so helpful. Whether used to collect our thoughts, take a breath, or visualize a desired outcome, silence plays a vital role in centering ourselves and preparing to face what we must to get through our day while showing our best selves to all we encounter.

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