Mar 082015 6 Responses

My Opinion on Your Opinions

Opinions come naturally. Without thought, we evaluate a situation and form a conclusion. It’s a helpful process which allows us to navigate a complex world.

Many opinions dictate what we do, without them we would be paralyzed.

Some opinions are just that. They mean nothing and do nothing.

Yet there is one aspect about opinions which we rarely consider. (See: The Number One Rule of Disagreement)

An old friend called the other day, and as we caught up on the details in each other’s lives, he told me of something he was doing. Immediately I found myself forming an opinion about his action. It wasn’t negative or judgmental. It was simply an opinion.

It seems innocent, but is it necessary?

Or is there a better way? (See: Everyone Has a Right to Ignore Your Opinion)

What if we weren’t so quick to form opinions? What if we intentionally recognized that an opinion isn’t necessary?

As much as I like to think my opinions are innocent, they really aren’t.

Whenever I form an opinion, it biases how I view a situation. If I’m against something and it goes the way I expect, the opinion lessens my compassion for the individual. If I’m for something and the situation doesn’t go as I thought, I blame the other person.

The habit of forming an opinion hinders my ability to support a friend. Instead of focusing on them, my opinion causes me to focus on me. Everything is viewed through my opinion and every action is dictated by my opinion.

Forming an opinion about everything leads to the deception of believing the world needs my opinions.  It makes me believe I must judge everything. It causes me to view everyone in my life as being inside or outside what I think is right.

It’s not just unnecessary; it is wrong. (See: Opinions Rarely Matter)

By refusing to form so many opinions, I can:

1. Experience tremendous freedom in my personal life. Evaluating every scenario as right or wrong can be exhausting. This is necessary in many situations, but it is unnecessary in most. If a situation isn’t my business, why should I care? It profits me far more to spend time on issues which are under my control than to be side-tracked by those issues which are not important.

2. Be a more effective friend to others. My friends don’t need my judgment, they need my love. Every individual has many decisions which are theirs and theirs alone. If asked, I can assist the decision-making process, but if not asked, there is no need for me to spend time considering the options.

Consider the number of questions we don’t have to answer when we stop forming opinions about everything:

  • Whose side should I take in the divorce?
  • Do I agree with her taking the job?
  • Why do they drive that car?
  • Is her wardrobe appropriate?
  • Should he spend so much money on a house?
  • Should they let their kids play so many sports?
  • Do I like her voice? Hair? Attitude?

It is an ingrained habit for us to form opinions about everything. Most of them probably occur without us even realizing them. Whenever you find yourself forming an opinion about something ask two questions:

1. Is it important for me to have an opinion about this? Rarely is an opinion necessary.

2. Could my opinion actually hurt the situation? Often our opinion can have a negative impact on others.

Rarely do I have the ability to stop the opinion-forming process before it begins. I see something, and I start evaluating it. With just a little time I can have a fully-formed opinion. Yet before the process is over I often stop myself. I’m reminded that my opinion isn’t necessary and it would be more helpful for me not to have one, than have one. (See: A Sign of Doubt)

In my opinion, you don’t need so many opinions.

6 Responses to My Opinion on Your Opinions
  1. jim schuld Reply

    Your opinion on this makes sense. I intend to try to implement this immediately. I may end up biting my lip off. I always feel that I am offering common sense into the situation that the people involved cannot see.

  2. Cathy Reply

    Once again, you wrote a very insightful article. Thank-you for all your posts. Even if I don’t comment on them; which I apologize that I don’t, I usually agree with most everything you write on. You get me to think about a any given situation, and often re-think my actions. This article on opinions…once again, led me to re-think how to respond to someone who didn’t solicit my advice..yow; i tend to do that way too much. Thank-you once again!

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Thank you Cathy. That is very kind. Comment whenever you wish, but feel no pressure. Only feel pressure to read it and share it–ha.

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