“God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.”
I don’t know about you, but I heard this phrase from time to time growing up. Upon a quick internet search, it seems the above quote has its origin from an ancient Greek philosopher named Epictetus who was born in 50 AD. His teachings and ideals were written down by one of his pupils, and he is quoted as saying, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
Religious evolution of his words aside, they seem to be a valuable idea to keep in mind. Maybe now more than ever.
I pride myself on being somebody who strives to be a lifelong learner. I’ve seen people reach a certain point in their life and cling tight to the old adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” To me, however, there is a difference between being true to who you are and being complacent.
I’ve really enjoyed reading the posts on Women & Words in recent weeks. Well, I always enjoy them, but I’ve particularly liked seeing people open up about their experiences, their efforts to improve, their struggles, and their willingness to continue moving society forward.
For me, I’ve had to take a hard look at why it takes events like those from recent weeks to get invested in taking action. The answer is embarrassing but I can’t let that feeling of guilt immobilize me. I’ve read articles, watched various news outlets, funneled through social media, and tried to see how and where I can be a better ally. For me—a cisgender white woman—it comes in the form of reading, researching, and listening to narratives I could never understand but cannot ignore because ignorance helps no one.
It wasn’t until after college I realized how colonized my education was. And growing up in Texas means 75% of the history I learned was about, you guessed it, Texas. We have to put the work in to continue learning. I think maybe Andi recommended this one, but if you haven’t go read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. There are so many resources out there, y’all.
Immerse yourself in the uncomfortable, and listen.