Friday, July 18, 2014

Opinions

I am an opinionated person, but I don't think I was always this way. When I was very young (from my earliest memories around age three, until about age seven), one could say I just went with the flow. Because of my free-flowing personality, I felt utterly happy.

As I grew, however, I became aware of people and situations I most certainly did not agree with. And because I love feeling connected to others, I wanted them to change their minds and agree with me—which seemed perfectly logical! I sadly realized that trying to change others' minds didn't work very well. I learned through varied life experiences that speaking up about my differing opinions could cause problems in relationships. So, I tried my best to just fit-in and not make waves.

After several years, I realized that my fitting-in actions were causing frustration and conflict within my soul. I decided it was time for me to just be who I was and not worry about what others thought of me.

During my late-teenage years, I was strong in my "my opinions are okay" stance—most of the time. Yet there were times when I would relapse into my fitting-in ways, simply because my soul couldn't take the rejection of others. You see, people were (and are) very important to me. Like everyone, I didn't like the feeling of being unliked, unwanted, unanything.

Thus, as a very young adult, I felt quite accomplished the day I decided I was okay with the possibility of being "un"! :) I was relieved to determine that my opinionated self was not something to be ashamed of. Those feelings solidified when I was married and sealed to my amazing husband for eternity. I love how my handsome husband has always respected what I have to say, even if we disagree. It means so much to me that after 16+ years of marriage, he continually seeks my opinion (and vice versa). He is such a gift to me!

When I became a mother, I was thrilled to have/be my opinionated self! My strong soul made me capable of doing what needed to be done for my children, without being blown this way or that from every opinion on mothering. I love how mothering brought out my strongest side! :)

As an adult, I've come to understand when it's appropriate and important to keep my mouth shut. Yes, there are many times when I've held my tongue to keep the peace. This quiet-mouthed knowledge came through several not great experiences, and I fully apologized when I realized my opinionated mistakes.

I could go on, but after many years of needlessly worrying what others thought of me, what I'm saying is this: It's okay to have our opinions. It's okay to stand up for what we believe in, as long as we aren't destructive in our delivery. It's okay to politely disagree with someone. And if we are literally fighting for our lives, we can emphatically, firmly, and powerfully disagree with those trying to harm us.

Today I read this lovely quote in an Ensign article, "Get Informed, Get Involved", that inspired me to write this post on opinions,
"The man who cannot listen to an argument which opposes his views either has a weak position or is a weak defender of it. No opinion that cannot stand discussion or criticism is worth holding. And it has been wisely said that the man who knows only half of any question is worse off than the man who knows nothing of it. He is not only one sided, but his partisanship soon turns him into an intolerant and a fanatic. In general it is true that nothing which cannot stand up under discussion and criticism is worth defending." – Elder James E. Talmage, "Christianity Falsely So-Called," Improvement Era, Jan. 1920, 204.


Reading Elder Talmage's wise words reminded me of the other point I wanted to make: I don't write willy-nilly about anything. Any topic I write about is done with much forethought. I thoroughly research topics to the best of my ability. For as we all know, no one has endless hours to research millions of websites about a particular subject! Yes, I completely agree with Elder Talmage. I don't share my opinion if I don't know the full story. If I feel opinionated about a subject—but I'm not entirely sure I'm right—I will research the subject until I'm positive I'm right, or have been proven wrong.

I hope we'll remember that it's okay for everyone to have differing opinions. Even when we disagree with others, we can certainly be respectful and speak kindly to one another. Besides, we just might learn something new if we're open to others' opinions! It doesn't mean we have to blindly follow an opinion, but it doesn't hurt to research a new idea...not one little bit. Knowledge is power!

It would be wonderful if everyone would follow Dr. Steve Maraboli's enlightened advice, and look for the good in everyone we meet and respect their journey. Put another way, we should follow the good Samaritan's example and be kind, regardless of what others think, say, or do. :)

"But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him..." – Luke 10:33


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for commenting! I love hearing from my readers! :)
*Please note: any inappropriate comment will be deleted.*