Instead of amassing a footlocker of opinions, we would all be served better to just practice a few truths we have found to work in our lives. Nothing can take away the joy of a day like someone coming at you with a wheelbarrow load of opinions or just one pet straining at the leash to bite you.
I believe most of us live our lives more by opinions than by truths despite the fact that an opinion is merely something we think. They are often placed in our heads at a formative stage of our lives by someone we trusted. Some are emotional reactions to people, issues and situations we have faced. But unless they can stand up to a strong review by our rational mind they need to be released. The more we spout them and afflict other people with them, the more attached to them we will become.
Honesty compels us to admit we have many more opinions than truths. An opinion is an air bubble. A truth is a rock you can stand on. It is something that has carried you through a fiery trial of life or brought you out of a briar patch of confusion. An opinion is something we pop off about with emotion. We do not try so hard to force our truths on other because we have learned that truths are discovered in the living of our lives, not in the thumping of our heads.
Strangely, opinions are among our most cherished possessions. We hug them to our bosom. We lay their little heads on our shoulders and burp them. It is accurate to say that the truth will set us free and probably just as accurate to say that some of our opinions imprison us.
I have been amazed at the number of people I know who cannot peacefully be in my presence for an hour or two without repeatedly trying to cram their opinions down my throat. I am also amazed at how many people read my columns to weigh how much they agree or disagree with me. They will say, "I enjoy your columns and agree with you most of the time." I would feel much better if they said, "Your columns make me think and give me different ways of looking at things." Opinions lock you into one way of looking at things.
What greater gift can someone gift us than to make us think? Our brains are so choked by the spaghetti of opinions that there is no real room for the mind to play with ideas, to roam free and unfettered in the wonderful world of possibilities.
We need to look at our beliefs and opinions (and
isn't it hard to tell the difference?). Opinions dress up like beliefs
and manage us instead of us managing them. An opinion is something you
haven't proven to yourself and loud repetition of it does not make it
true. Set it aside and you may create a vacuum where a truth can enter.
One way to question an opinion's value to us is to ask, "Is this leading me to a successful, peaceful, joyous way of life." Are we supposed to hold onto opinions that make us unsuccessful, unpeaceful, and unjoyous?
At times it has made me feel insecure to question one of my opinions. They are such precious little things, you know. So I put them in a folder marked "Things I am still thinking about it."
I am trying to do more thinking and less
opinionizing. I desire to be more centered and less reactive and
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