Another card from the stack of handwritten index cards I bought at an estate sale years ago reads:
To be seen, stand up;
To be heard, speak up;
To learn, shut up!
I will admit that this card offers some wisdom that I can benefit from. I have a tendency not to always just shut up and listen. I sometimes, instead, find myself talking too much.
I recognize this is not one of my better traits.
My husband might very hesitantly agree with that last paragraph. Hesitantly, not because he doesn’t agree, but because he’d be afraid I’d get mad at him if he said it out loud. Not that he hasn’t mentioned it at least once or twice over the years. “Len, could you just stop and listen instead of interrupting me with what you think I’m going to say?”
Yes, I sometimes do that too and I am aware this is not one of my better traits.
Over the last while – perhaps partially inspired by Covid – I have become quieter. Imagine my surprise, when Ray ends a sentence with words I didn’t predict. In fact, often he finishes his sentences with words of kindness. Good heavens! How many years have I missed hearing sweet utterances when I was barging through with my misinterpretations? That thought boggles the mind.
I think for a long time, I confused speaking up with the need to talk. As a woman, I felt a need to speak up, to be heard, to stand up for myself. I will admit I’ve sometimes been a bit too quick on the draw to defend myself.
Again, I am aware this is not one of my better traits.
So, where does that leave me now?
I do stand up to be seen.
I do speak up to be heard
And I will (as of now) do better at shutting up to learn.
Who knows what other interesting things I might discover if I’ll just stop and listen.