The power of silence

Jonathan - Springfield, Virginia
Entered on February 27, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

As the philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “Silence is a source of great strength”. Since the advent of a common language, many have used words in order to evoke strong emotions and feelings. However, many seem to forget how pure silence is sometimes far more powerful than anything that is spoken. Silence is a vital aspect of communication. Silence allows us to reflect on our lives or on important issues, or to find peace and solitude during times of stress.

My family has found the importance of silence. We cherish the times spent together in silence just as much as those when we are speaking. Silence is so important to us because it helps us to maintain peaceful relationships that are deeper than ones that are supported only through conversation. Along strengthening my relationship with my parents, silence has allowed me to cope with incredible stress. During high school I would often lie on my bed with my eyes closed and savor the silence, allowing my thoughts to wander freely. Though I have lived my entire life by the belief that silence is powerful, I was unaware of it until my first semester of college. The first semester was a time of emotional turmoil for me. Though I have moved around a fair amount of time during my life, I have lived in my current house for the longest time out of the houses I have lived in, and thus have formed the strongest relationships with my current friends out of all of the ones that I have had. I had to form new relationships and had to deal with the vastly different lifestyle that a college student experiences, and had trouble coping with the structure of classes. I have to admit that I almost broke under the pressure, but fortunately I was able to find peace in silence. Whenever I had the chance, I would pause to rest my mind and body; to be rejuvenated by the solace of silence. It was during one of my times of silence that I realized how important silence truly is to me. I reflected on my past experiences and about how much I have relied on silence to get me through the rough times. I was finally able to appreciate just how powerful silence can be. I considered the fact that silence allows us to convey strong emotions, such as how my family has a deep level of communication without the need for speech. I also thought about how silence allows us to follow insightful thought paths, and how this ultimately led to my understanding of the nature of silence. Silence is an excellent outlet of stress, giving us “a source of great strength”. It allows us to aspire to higher levels of exertion, without the need to worry about the pressure. Silence is powerful.