There is one piece of advice both of my grandmothers have tried to instill in me since birth. If I close my eyes, I can almost hear them say it in unison. In their native tongue, they would say, "Speak less and nod more."
Our grandmothers were part of the Silent Generation, and truthfully speaking, that's what many women of their era were known for — being silent. They were young, bright and for the most part, vivacious. But, they were encouraged to be soft-spoken and composed.
I must confess, for the longest time, I disregarded this trait and harbored bitter feelings that being silent was their biggest flaw. However, after experiencing some of the darkest of times, I have found myself reflecting on their famous phrase.
I finally understand that their resilient poker faces were not at all signs of weakness. They were actually their greatest strengths — here's why:
1. "Speak less and nod more" means be agreeable
I admit it: I speak my mind a few decibels louder than many deem to be acceptable. Yes, I am assertive, which is efficient, but I am also overly stressed, which is not by any means necessary.
At the end of a long and exasperating workday, I realize all I must do is say "yes" to alleviate tension. Later, I can act as I see fit. Above all, giving myself time to reflect will ensure I don't speak too frankly or say something I will later regret.
2. "Speak less and nod more" means be modest
There is a difference between being proud and showing off, and social media outlets have blurred those definitions. We do not need to announce each success and accomplishment in the form of a post.
Showing off usually buds resentment and often burns bridges, so we should exemplify our achievements through our daily interactions. Our greatest qualities will speak for themselves.
3. "Speak less and nod more" means be lionhearted
Being a career-driven woman in the 21st century can make for a constant battle between yourself and what is socially and culturally acceptable. I thought being mute meant suppressing my thoughts and ideas at the workforce and following the male majority.
Yet, what it actually means is being brave enough to take the high road in a disagreement (even when your gut tells you to body slam your opponent). We need to choose our battles wisely.
4. "Speak less and nod more" means be affectionate
By speaking less, we make time to listen to others more, and in turn, we learn to be compassionate. We've all heard plenty of times that our actions speak louder than our words. If you truly care for someone or something, show it.
Express your feelings through your actions. You want to make a sizable donation? There is no need to plaster your name across it. Your good deed will not go unnoticed; I guarantee, the universe is watching.
This profound advice led me to understand that all of what is not seen nor heard is still, most certainly, felt. I am ever-so-grateful for having such strong women to admire.