It’s important that we have opinions. Great orators, authors and leaders have always voiced opinions that have polarised them and attracted people to their tribes. Opinions help us stand out from the crowd and stand up and be taken notice of but having an opinion is one thing. Expressing it is an entirely different thing altogether.
Life is all about relationships and the thoughts we express have a direct impact on those relationships. Recent social media outcries have left me wondering if opinion sharing has gone too far. Political party members and respected journalists have been condemned for expressing opinions that have hurt relationships and offended large segments of their tribes, or of the tribes that their employers represent.
I don’t think we need to muzzle freedom of speech but everything we say and do has a line in the sand that preserves precious relationships. Not everything we think needs to be broadcast; particularly on social media, from behind the safety of a screen and keyboard.
My rule of thumb? If I wouldn’t say it to my grandmother, I won’t type it. Imagine the person you love most in the world. If you wouldn’t verbalise it to them, with the opinion directed at them, then don’t type it. Find a better balance instead. Write an article investigating the opinions from one end of the spectrum to the other end perhaps. I find that a bit of research engenders tolerance and understanding which creates a more balanced view of the world.
I have always maintained that there is always a third option. At one end of the spectrum is the aggressor and at the other is the victim. Sitting on the fence in the middle is not always possible or desirable, but flying to either end always hurts someone. There is always a third option and it starts with the question, “If I loved myself and loved you enough, what would I say (do, be etc.)?”
Hey, don’t stop standing up for what is important but don’t confuse truth and justice with opinion and think twice before hurting someone with your written words.