Why Silence Is Scary
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Health and Wellness

Why Silence Is Scary

Isn't life supposed to be loud?

Why Silence Is Scary
Ken Burkey

Life is loud. When silence hits, we often aren’t sure what to do with it. It just sits there surrounding us, empty and paradoxically deafening. With a nearly constant stream of music, talking, TV, cars, weather, insects and beyond, it’s rarely actually silent.

So why is silence so scary? Perhaps because with no outside noise, there is nothing to drown out the noise in our heads. Maybe you know the feeling, when suddenly faced with silence – suddenly the brain unleashes all the madness and confusion we worked so hard to keep tucked away in the corners of our being. The hypothetical situations, unsorted thoughts or undealt-with emotions running cycles in our heads are often much more terrifying than anything currently taking place, and we would like nothing more than to shove those thoughts back in their corners of neglect where they belong. When all our distractions are taken away, we come face to face with the things we try so hard to ignore within us. That is why silence is scary.

In those moments, though, where everything comes in like a flood, don’t let your first reaction be to reach for the stereo. (Exception: If you are having PTSD or an anxiety attack and need to calm down, I would never have you prolong the experience.) But if the situation is simply not wanting to deal with your own emotions, take a breath. Maybe the brain’s reaction to silence is a cry for action on our part. Sometimes we truly need to deal with what’s going on in our heads, for our own sake, and sometimes even for the sake of others. Staring down fears or things of our past, facing them head on, we learn that we are stronger than we thought. We have it in us to forgive, to let go, to move on. To accept responsibility or to admit that it wasn’t our fault after all. To breathe and remember who we are, at our core. If silence is the only time our brain is able to be heard, then maybe silence is more important than we give it credit for.

Once we learn to accept silence for what it offers us, we can learn to appreciate it and even seek it out. Silence can be a frightening thing, but it can equally be a beautiful thing. Silence can teach us things about ourselves and show us strength we didn’t know we had.

Perhaps life is supposed to be loud. Perhaps there’s a reason even nature usually fills the silence with sounds. Yet, when silence does come – be it in an empty apartment or mountaintop or a silenced valley – maybe it is a gift. A gift that reminds us to take care of ourselves.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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