The Silent Auction: How Freely Do We Speak Our Heart?


So many of our rights go disregarded. So much of our lives go unlived. So much of what hurts doesn’t heal.

The silent auction is an insidious assumption about our worth and our way. When it begins, we descend in our own eyes, letting what shouldn’t appraise and apprize. Bidding is often so rapid we become vapid in defense and sullen by default. Sullen prevails because the auction skews our scales and cheats us of ourselves. No one is exempt from attempts to purchase. How often thus are we nervous.

In fact, the silent auction inspires caution in many, millions. These enthrone creeds that mar their essence and reduce their chances of enjoying life. They confuse life instead with circumstances and the circumcision they administer when we surrender our autonomy.

Autonomy is the first casualty of the silent auction, by which we embrace roles that erode our lives. These roles retard our relationships with others and with ourselves. Therein we exalt others’ opinions above our person. Consider our conversations. How freely do we speak our heart? How heartily do others inspire our hope despite the port that compels, especially when these contradict where they sail?

How much in their presence do we embrace ourselves? How much of ourselves do we surrender amid bids and barter?

Do bids breed resilience or resignation instead? Do we discern the difference and reject the inference, or are we indifferent because of the power of auctions to oppress? What do we rehearse? Resignation rehearses futility. It exalts banality. Herein nothing changes but what the auction arranges. These arrangements arrest our freedom. They discourage resilience and insult passion.

Our autonomy fades with each bid. Consider our self-talk, how it breeds self-slaughter, slaying what we envision for ourselves.

Consider how we embrace nauseating roles (and rules) whose reason erodes our essence. Consider how we serve what should serve us instead. In this regard, beliefs, like beauty, reveals the beholder. Routinely, however, the beholder belittles our essence. Consider how we become cautious in response, and fearful of spite instead, until we become unavailable to ourselves.

Auctions prescribe caution as a way of life. Yet this way is seldom wide enough to accommodate our aspirations. It denies these instead. It succeeds by exalting ways and means, concepts and creeds, which we honor despite the horror we feel because of a deeper truth instilled in our soul before auctions assigned their insidious roles.

When we accept these roles, our lives become mildewed and makeshift, lacking the lift we imagined. In this regard, each of us is similarly human and secretly hungry for more. Yet caution forbids our pursuit.

Ways appear when we oppose passivity.

Caution inspires honor for everything but ourselves. So much until, we become typecast and downcast together, cursing fortune while endorsing the auction as all. We blame it for our plight and for approving our sell to circumstances. Circumstances, however, are seldom as sovereign as they seem. Each has a seam wherein we can achieve escape if we are resilient.

Sufficiently resilient, we can repeal it and pilot a course consonant with our aspirations. In doing so, we reclaim our autonomy. In failing, caution cripples.

By caution, much of our lives go unlived. Much of our pain goes unhealed. Much of what we envision serves confusion. Many of our rights are disregarded and unexercised because of what auctions devise. Change depends on our sense of self-reliance. We must subordinate everything to this lest we slip into passivity. By passivity, we encourage auctions and their oppression while renouncing our autonomy.

How then can we act with integrity? How then can we develop intuitively? How can we hear the silent whisper that is often the difference between success and failure, happiness and sorrow, whether our lives are authentic or are borrowed? How, moreover, can we counter creeds when they exceed their right?

Creeds matter, but they shouldn’t master. They have their place, but they shouldn’t have our peace, which they steal when we feel them to be above ourselves. Creeds are the currency of auctions. They underwrite their transactions even as we sanction their transgressions. Like the Sabbath, however, creeds were made for us. We were not made for them.

We must reject any claim that claims otherwise lest we forfeit our freedom. Any freedom, moreover, that recommends license betrays itself. Hence the difference between freedom and license, which creeds seek to restrain.

They do so, however, in ways that profane and prevent self-actualization. Hence the difference between liberty and license. In confusing the two, we renew the silent auction, eroding our esteem with each bid.

Self-esteem fails without self-trust. Self-trust fails unless we follow something deeper than impulses and their imperatives. In this regard, many people use their freedom to enslave themselves. Others use it to deny their freedom. Hence their fondness of creeds. Both err because of their indifference to legitimate limits.

We undermine our esteem when we disregard legitimate limits. Occasionally, these limits must be discovered individually. Else we live without real integrity. Real integrity derives from the soul’s consent of what was lent for its growth, but only when it agrees. To embrace this uncritically betrays morality. It also denies our autonomy.

Without autonomy, we become dour and discouraged. It doesn’t matter how much we smile (or smear) makeup on ourselves. The soul knows its state beyond the face we put on. In fact, the soul is put off by what we put on in efforts to mask our misery. These masks exalt mediocrity and diminish morality. How many tears do we cry when we let buy what we should own outright?

How much dread do we endure because we are unsure of ourselves? Why do we seek assurance in a world inherently uncertain, embracing systems which claim more than life allows? What makes us think we aren’t linked to something higher than ourselves, which oversees our sojourn, though we feel unworthy and unwise? Who is so wise (or worthy) circumstances can’t dirty occasionally?

How wise do we feel when these fall without our making?

During these times, we are most inclined to accept the silent auction and its terms though these tear our essence. A sense of unworthiness is the sorceress. A sense of unworthiness erodes our esteem. It embellishes our stain (and mistakes) in getting us to forsake ourselves. Thus seduced, we surrender our autonomy.

Being dismayed isn’t enough to dissuade auctions from continuing, or others from bidding for us.

Hence the importance of resilience. Hence the need for resolve. Only resolve can rescind bids and end the auction. Too many people falter in this function. They let bids stand and auctions stunt their freedom, often in the form of well-meaning friends, who neither perceive their essence nor respect their ends. Each of us, however, is more capable than we imagine. We are also more vital than events convey.

Imagining otherwise hallows auctions.

Consider our conclusions and insults. These pricks predict failure and prevent success. They express the opinion of those we hold in esteem above ourselves, which we learn to disown. We don’t see the source of the voice that values us so lowly. Instead we accuse ourselves when we are alone and lonely. This bickering buys our soul when by ourselves we refuse to be owned.

Herein is revealed the difference between ownership and stewardship.

Stewards seldom own what they are responsible for. Yet they must answer for their stewardship even when they lack what they need to accomplish this. Their responsibility is ultimate, though their resources are inadequate. Owners, in contrast, surpass stewards in excellence because they possess a greater sense of self-reliance, which increases their self-esteem.

Owners author the creeds that control others. They set the soul’s limits. By creeds, owners determine our autonomy and shape our integrity.

Until we reclaim our autonomy, our rights will be flouted and our lives fallow. Owners will forbear until we forbid being owned and undermined. Hence the importance of goals, grit and resolve. Hence the importance of perspective when stunted by circumstances. We must learn to see these as passing when we find ourselves grasping at the wind, knowing they will eventually end if we remain resolute.

By resolve, we rescind bids and end the silent auction.


joelbryantA former corporate trainer and university lecturer, Dr. Joel Bryant is an avid reader, writer, speaker, thinker and dreamer. He is also the author of over 40 books on various topics, each exploring themes of change, growth and greatness. He holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership from UNC Charlotte, where he spent five years lecturing in the Philosophy Department. He resides in Charlotte, NC.


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