This week the prompt was;
The prompt led me to some musings about a recent experience.
"Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one and everyone thinks everyone else's stinks."
Opinions have gotten me into a bit of trouble from time to time. Unfortunately I tend to voice my opinion in the wrong place and at the wrong time. And of course when one is prone to doing that you are going to offend a few people. The situation that led to this piece was a result of me being on the receiving end of someone else's opinion.
"I don't care what you think, unless it is about me." – Kurt Cobain
It wasn't a new experience per se, of course I have listened to other people's opinions. Some of them like mine quite passionately expressed and not always politically correct. Normally it isn't an issue, even other people's opinions about me are not usually of great concern. Sometimes I even find them amusing. In this situation the opinion wasn't directly aimed at me but the delivery led me to feel that it was. Despite understanding this I still let something that wouldn't normally bother me get me down. My friend who was operating on the assumption that we were free to express ourselves how we saw fit did not understand. This isn't her fault. We had never come accross something like this before and I found it hard to explain myself. In my head I knew she had the right to her opinion and I really shouldn't let it bother me but it did.
"Your opinion is not my reality" – Steve Maraboli
Some of the reason that I was so perturbed by my friend's comments was that she was coming from a headspace that clearly didn't get me or what I was about. She based her thoughts on a perception of me that wasn't exactly correct. I found that probably the hardest to accept. A person who I thought actually got me... didn't. It is no small feat to be a person who has access to most of the compartments of my life. I am by nature a very reserved person and usually only open the windows to certain parts of me to people depending on the situation we are in. It takes a long time for me to trust someone enough to let them peek through all of the windows. To get to this point and then find that I wasn't understood was very disconcerting and made me question myself more than normal. Also a feat that is remarkable.
"The opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists; indeed the passion is the measure of the holder's lack of rational conviction" – Bertrand Russell
I once had a supervisor who I had serious long term conflict with. After a particular incident I sat down to draft an email to her to tell her what I thought. Of course I started writing in the heat of the moment. About halfway through the email I had cooled down enough to have a partially rational thought. Some wise voice in my head advised me to finish writing my thoughts and save the email for a day or so. After sleeping on it and calming down I read my thoughts again. I realised that a lot of my comments were not based on fact and were the rantings of a frustrated and hurt person. The emotion was real but my accusations were not rational. In my email I was expressing myself in a way that would have been very damaging to my professional relationship had I gone ahead and pressed the send button as I originally intended. I learned a valuable lesson about holding counsel. The stronger you feel about something the more likely saying something in the heat of the moment is to get you into serious trouble! My friend's comments fell into this category a little I think. She was hurt and confused by things that had happened both between us and in other parts of her life.
"Everyone has their own ways of expression. I believe we all have a lot to say, but finding ways to say it is more than half of the battle" – Chris Jami
At the end of the day the crux of the matter wasn't really WHAT was said, it was the delivery. The message I took home from the conversation was VERY different from the one that was intended to be delivered. That is usually the problem when most people decide to express their opinion. Often the expression is jarring and disturbing. It is disconcerting to come up against a passionate statement that knocks us right out of our comfort zone. It can be very hurtful when someone you think you know well comes out of left field with a thought that makes you sit up and take notice. It is difficult not to take the opinions of good friends and apply them to yourself even when that is not the intent. At the end of the day other peoples opinion of you is none of your business. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and it doesn't have to concur with your own.
All of the quotes in this article are taken from Goodreads
"Life is too short to waste time waiting for other people's approval on how you live it." - Steve Maraboli.
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