I heard a great line on a television show that said, “If you don’t know who that ONE crazy person on the bus is, it’s probably you.” Great line and quite accurate. But I’m not here to talk about being crazy (that would be the kettle calling the pot black), I’m here to vent about opinions. Although it may sound a bit crude, opinions are often a lot like having bad gas. Everyone occasionally has it; very few people welcome or want it. And more often than not, those who have an opinion don’t take the time to read the room to see if an opinion would be welcomed. It can make for some awkward situations.
It might seem moot to lend an opinion on opinions. Especially since I write a blog, which is essentially a daily dose of just that. But opinions can be important. They become important in cases where one feels that the person they’re lending it to may be headed down a path that one considers inappropriate or dangerous. I say when one “feels,” as just because I may think your path is inappropriate, it doesn’t mean it is. Subjectivity is a bitch.
Where the quote in the opening paragraph comes into play, is when a friend or colleague seem to be consistently getting into hot water but yet always fail to recognize they may be the common denominator in those issues. More often than not, one may try to be helpful by providing an opinion in order to help stem those issues and alleviate problems. But it usually falls on deaf ears. When one is consistently causing issues within their own lives and fail to recognize they may have been the cause, an opinion very rarely has an impact on them.
Again, perhaps the belief that the person in question is the cause of their own suffering is subjective. Everyone sees things through a different lens, not always to the benefit of those around them. And even though you may care about the person you’re providing your opinion to, there’s an important aspect you need to remember in order to reduce your own suffering: you can’t care about your opinion.
You’re probably thinking, “Of course I care about my opinion! I’m entitled to it, it’s mine and I believe in what I’m saying…”. Although that may be true, hear me out for a moment. I’m sure everyone has had an instance in their lives where they’ve tried their best to have someone listen to the voice of reason, only to have them put their foot in their mouths anyway. How strong was that impulse to say “I told you so?” If you said anything other than irresistible, I don’t believe you. But if lending your opinion and having it ignored bothers you, that increases YOUR suffering. And you certainly don’t want to do that.
The thing of it is, if you’re in a position to provide your opinion and your certain it won’t be badly received (hopefully you know your friends and family well enough to KNOW if your opinion is welcomed or not), all you can do is provide it. It’s up to them to do the rest, which includes accepting the opinion but also whether or not they choose to act on it. If you allow yourself to be detached from the outcome, it allows you to avoid that impulse to say “I told you so” and will likely prevent an unnecessary emotional response on your part. I’m definitely not saying you shouldn’t CARE…. By definition, if you’re giving your opinion, it likely means you care. But once the opinion is given, what the recipient does with it is entirely up to them. Food for thought… ☯️