When we only remember what we should have said long after we could have said it, is it always a bad thing?
“Sometimes, words are better left unsaid. Other times, those unspoken words could have made all the difference”– Don Zantamata
This quote could not be truer.
Can you recall a time when you were having a conversation with someone, and a few hours later think of all the things you could have or should have said.
In many conversations we’re caught off guard, being asked something we can’t answer, leaving us at a loss for words. Most often we think silence is the best solution, or the only solution, because conveying words with impact is often the hardest thing to do. It is in those times that we lose the opportunity to say what we really feel, and the feeling of regret we get later lasts a lifetime. When that exact moment is lost we can’t get a second chance. But the question is, how do we differentiate when to stay quiet and when to speak up?
I always face this dilemma, and when confronted with such a situation I would have ideas and questions racing through my head at 200 km/h but all I do is stay silent.
You know what’s the most annoying part? When you’ve practiced how the conversation would go in your head predicting any possible question or comment and preparing a well-thought rebuttal, but then the script doesn’t go as planned.
When the other person either bombards you with questions you have not prepared for or when they say nothing at all. You end up leaving with even more of a burden than when you started. Your head becomes filled with thoughts of what could have been said. By then it’s too late, because whether or not you say them after that moment have passed won’t make much of a difference.
After much thought, I came to the conclusion that if you enter a conversation as the most honest version of yourself then you wouldn’t go through such a dilemma. Before being honest with the person in front of you, you need to be honest with yourself, with your values, goals, and beliefs. You need to know what you want and try your best to convey it to the person in front of you. Of course, this does not guarantee that you will not have the lingering sensation of regret after a conversation. However, trying your best does take you a long way.
I am a strong and firm believer of the idea that everything happens for a reason. So maybe, just maybe, some words are not meant to be spoken.
Shamma holds a Masters Degree in Human Rights and a BA in International Affairs. She currently works as an instructor at Zayed University. Having volunteered with people with disability for more than 10 years, she devotes her career and free time to work closely with vulnerable groups to create a visible impact in society. Having interests in philosophy, human psyche, sociology, and literature her column “12 Lessons” will focus on issues that we face as a part of the trial and error process that is life.
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