Your Strongest Reaction Is No Reaction
The Bhagwan Rashneesh was met on the street by a very angry man. The man was screaming, trying to berate Rashneesh.
Rashneesh stood quietly and then said, “I would like to ask you a question.” The angry man stopped for just a moment.
Rashneesh asked, “If you hand me a gift but I do not accept it, to whom does the gift belong?”
The angry man answered, “It still belongs to me.”
Rashneesh said, “That's right. And I do not accept your gift of anger.”
The Bhagwan Rashneesh decided to not respond in kind to the attack on him by another individual. And you can too. He could have not responded at all, but for The Bhagwan, at his level of awareness and enlightenment, it was a teaching moment of spirituality.
You and I, well we probably don't posses that same level of enlightenment . . so we would do better by not opening our mouth and creating a deep hole for our self. Yes, very often easier said than done! I fully understand that, having been there and done that. And often regretted it.
Get The Big Picture
But for a moment I want you to look at it from the other side, the side of the aggressor, the instigator. If you are looking to pick a fight, or extract your pound of flesh for whatever or however you've been wronged, you want and expect the other side to fight back! You expect a reaction.
You want a fight. You're geared up for a confrontation. How dare the other person take that away from you. You are going to “frame the argument”, as it were.
So then, think back how you feel when the other party simply stands there in silence?
Silence is Strong!
Silence can be unnerving. Silence can be deafening. It can also be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal.
When the other side keeps talking away, they are giving up their intentions, their game plan, to you. They are laying all their cards in front of you. And the longer they talk, the more you see and learn.
There is the old saying – you have two ears and one mouth, guess which will benefit you more?
So why would you want to respond immediately, probably knowing only a fraction of the argument, the whole picture? If the argument is weak, the rational is weak, give it a chance to fall apart on it's own. Let it fizzle out. Remain silent.
You Pick Your Battles
If you are given legal documents that must be answered in a specific time period, than of course answer that document.
But in daily conversation, there is no time limit on how quick you are expected to respond. There is no timer that must be met. And just because the other person is expecting you to respond in kind, may even be trying to goad you into a response that they want, don't fall for it.
Abraham Lincoln said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.” Remain silent. Don't respond.
Imagine if all parties involved refused to argue, and simply remained silent. When an idea or point of view was presented, everyone went into deep consideration and silence. Things would not escalate. People could think clearly and rationally because they would not feel threatened.
You want to stand your ground, diffuse a situation? Remain silent. Don't respond.