Light troubles speak; the weighty are struck dumb. – Seneca
What does that mean?
In the play, the speaker has a great desire, but cannot bring themselves to speak of it. It is in this pained situation that the quote was born.
We have all been there at some point in time. We want to say something, it really means a lot to us, but for some reason, we simply cannot speak of it, which is what being ‘struck dumb’ actually means.
In life, as in the play, we often are struck dumb by the fear of rejection. This is most painful with the weighty things which trouble us, which is why we often hesitate to speak.
When things are lighter, or not as significant, the consequences of rejection are much less, and we often find it easier to speak of what is troubling us.
Why is speaking your mind important?
Usually that phrase is used when you’re mad, aggravated, or feeling a little sassy. However, I believe that open communication is important at all times. Speaking your mind, getting something off your chest, saying your piece, clearing the air, or whatever you call it, it needs to be done.
If you don’t ever say what troubles you, how will you ever know what the response would have been? By being open in your communication, both with the light and the weighty things, you will get answers. If you allow yourself to be struck dumb, you will never know.
Speaking your mind also helps you relieve the pressure. No matter what the outcome, you now know what is going on. You have a resolution. No more worry, no more “what if” games in your head. How much better would that feel? I know that I enjoy it quite a bit.
That said, the down side to saying what is on your mind is that others may think differently. They may hold your words against you. They may decide that they don’t want to talk to you anymore. Worst case, they may run away screaming. But it usually isn’t that bad. Try it, you might like it.
Where can I apply this in my life?
I would imagine you don’t often get to the point where you are absolutely speechless. However, you may find yourself getting close to that point. You may find yourself working around the edges of an issue, or ‘beating around the bush’ to use an old phrase. You have to start somewhere, right?
You can usually talk about the little things, mostly because they are little things. They are of little consequence, and won’t offend, annoy, embarrass, or bother anyone too much. They are, of course a good place to start. They are plentiful in opportunity, and low risk.
Working on speaking, when appropriate, about the little things is a good way to build up to the bigger things, and eventually, on to the weightier things. At least that seems a reasonable progression to me. Does it sound like a good idea to you? I hope so. Let’s begin.
Where, or when, in your life are you tongue tied? When are you unable to say the things you want to say? When does the weight of the trouble strike you dumb? Is it times when you are worried what others might think? Is it from a fear of rejection? Do you worry that others might laugh?
Some of these worries could be reduced if you know your target audience well enough. That is part of why people tend to have a person they confide in, one they can tell their weightiest troubles to, without fear of being judged, laughed at, or scorned.
Do you have such a person in your life? If not, could you find one? It can really help make a difference. Even if you don’t have one now, you probably had one at some point in the past. Was there some comfort knowing that you could talk to without worries?
But talking to the person with whom the trouble exists, that has a slightly higher element of risk. How do you broach a new topic with a friend you’ve only just met? Do you blurt it out, and risk scaring them? Or do you try to draw them slowly into that topic by asking seemingly innocent questions?
That could be called beating around the bush, but if you are actually getting closer and closer to the topic, I suppose it’s OK. If you find yourself in orbit around the real thing you want to discuss, that’s when you have ceased talking and started procrastinating, right?
Only you will know what you are willing to risk at that point. Do you go straight to the topic? Do you work your way in? Do you take a few questions to get there, or do you draw it out for weeks? What is at risk if they don’t like what you are saying? What is to gain if they do?
Only you can answer those questions. And only they can answer the real question; what do they think? When it comes to our troubles, they won’t go away, nor do they usually get smaller if we ignore them. The same goes if we fail to discuss them because of their weight and our fear or concern.
Like so many other things in life, you can start on the light end of the spectrum with this quote, and work your way towards the weightier troubles. With which of your troubles will you start?
From: Twitter, @philo_quotes
confirmed at : From the play Phaedra, spoken by Phaedra to Hippolytus, line  as translated by Frank Justus Miller
Photo by Ed Yourdon
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