I am quite an opinionated person.
This was something that I prided myself on when I was younger, as I thought it made me sound ‘strong’.
Really, it just made me sound like a dickhead.
Now there’s nothing wrong with expressing your opinions, obviously. But have you ever met someone who explicitly calls themselves ‘opinionated’ that you actually get on with? Thought not.
While I’m spending time during lockdown working on myself and experimenting with spirituality, there’s one lesson that keeps coming up.
No matter what I read, watch, or listen to there is always some kind of message like:
“just let them be right”
As a so-called opinionated person, this statement offended me the first time I heard it. If I’m having an argument with someone, then I’m not just going to walk away and let them thing they’re right!
I’m right, and I must change their opinion! is my battle cry.
But then I realised, that on the other side that’s exactly what they’re thinking too. After all, no one goes into an argument or discussion thinking they’re wrong, because what would be the point in that?
MY PEACE IS MY RESPONSIBILITY
It’s taken a while and I’m sure I’ll slip up again in the future, but I finally realised that trying to change someone’s opinion is pointless.
While I want to be a good ally to the causes I care about and I am deeply passionate about specific issues, if the person I’m talking to isn’t interested then I’m never going to be able to change them.
There’s a quote that helps me think about this rationally:
“Remember: despite how open, peaceful and loving you attempt to be, people can only meet you as deeply as they’ve met themselves.”
If I think about how much I care about a certain issue, I know that it will take hell or high water to change my mind. So why can’t the other person feel the same way about their opinions?
Regardless of whether I deem it to be right or wrong, at the end of the day we’re all entitled to our own opinions (as much as I hate that argument. It’s not an excuse to be rude or bully!
People will come round to their own short-comings in time, if they put the work in.
So, instead of getting myself stressed, angry and upset about trying to control another person, I can just walk away.
Instead of screaming and shouting, I can just smile and agree to disagree. Then walk away with my peace and dignity intact.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t stand up for what you believe in or protest against major issues. But for the smaller things, the everyday arguments we have, even if they are related to bigger issues, don’t serve us.
LET IT GO
Me arguing with my Dad about politics when we are both as uneducated and opinionated as each other serves no one. It just brings a lot of stress and tension into the house.
I think, as hard as it is, we need to give people more credit.
If they are willing to learn, they’ll go off and do it themselves. Better yet, they’ll ask you for more information on your opinions and have a calm, rational conversation about it.
But some people just aren’t ready to meet you where you are, and that’s okay.
Take that energy you’d use in an argument and put it into the things that you care about instead. Use the anger and upset you have over this person not agreeing with you and put it towards developing positive change, educating yourself further, or making resources more available to those who want to learn.
I know it’s hard work, friends, and I’m going to slip up so much on this one! But we need to take care of number one (that’s you!) first and foremost.
Otherwise we can never do the work we need.
Stay safe and speak soon,