So…back on January 4th, I wrote about the 3 topics I wanted to cover here that I was going to remember based on the letters S, O and T which was a great idea in concept though at the time, I forgot what the O was for. And I wrote about the S, which stood for Strategy, but that post was a total disaster.And here we are a week later and I remember what the O was for now – Opinion (I think) - but forget the T. I think it had something to do with my niece’s husband, whose name contains no Ts. So I have that to work through.
Fascinating, eh? And of great concern to you all, I’m sure.So…Opinions. Here’s my take, and interestingly, I’ve seen quite a few Facebook posts to this same general concept in this new year, including one on a Quakers page (as opposed to a Quaker’s page. This one is directed at Quakers).
I’ve been thinking a lot about why people, and by “people”, I probably mean me, so I’ll just go first person from here out, get so easily offended when people…and this time I don’t mean me…either have a different opinion than I do or say something about me that offends me.And as often happens when I actually take the time to write these things down, they seem way more obvious now than when I formulated the thought, but in the Seriously? It took me 59+ years to figure this out? category, I realized that for every opinion, there is a dissenting opinion.
If everyone had the same opinion, it wouldn’t be an opinion, it would be a fact.
So, if one starts with that…But it might also apply to when we are trying to make an important decision with our relationship partner, when they want to go with the blue window treatment and I, I mean she (!), might want Phillies season tickets.
opinion…fact (!), then why should it ever upset any of
us, I mean me, that someone has a different idea than mine? Certainly sometimes it’s because we believe it
so strongly, that we want others to feel the same way, and our frustration isn’t
with them as much as it might be with ourselves for our inability to convince
them. Or maybe, to us, it is a sign of why the world isn’t a better place. And of
course, in those circumstances, the first thought that comes to mind is politics.
So, also somewhat of a New Year’s Resolution for me is to value our humanness. To allow other people to think differently than I do, to drive differently, to vote differently, to like different seasons of the year and to get the damn blue window treatment.And of course, the whole thing extends past opinions to that same issue of humanness to include personalities. Why does a particularly outrageous or sullen or goofy or serious person put us off? Instead of allowing myself to be put off by what I don’t seem to enjoy in a person, I will try to look for what Cheryl might call The Connection. What is it about that person that I do like, that I do enjoy, accepting that there are, not flaws, but differences, that needn’t be more dividing than that which brings me pleasure about that person?
And from a Quaker perspective, George Fox’s phrase, “Walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone” does a nice job of summarizing it, though I might substitute the word “seeking” for “answering”.The tougher challenge comes when someone says something seemingly judgmental about me or my tastes or about people I love. If someone were to visit my house and say “Gawd – how could you live in this weird place? And what was your father thinking with all these windows? Was he some kind of perverted exhibitionist (wow – multiple judgments in one sentence!) ?!”
Or if they were to say something mean about any of my 4 or 5 or 6 kids (give or take an Iraqi or 2), or about Cheryl!? Would I be able to find God in them when they say such things?I look forward to the challenge…not that anyone ever could find something negative to say about any of them obviously. Or maybe that’s the key – I’ll just assume they couldn’t possibly mean it, and I’ll laugh.
I’ll try to post some examples in the coming weeks to let you, and history, know how I’m doing.