Once in a while, without my permission, I acquire a distaste for a word. The word, what it means, how it is used and the effects it creates turn sour for me. Currently, it is the word opinion.
If I look up this word in the dictionary I find the following definition: a personal view, attitude or appraisal. As I am understanding, this refers to the way a human being has calculated their reality view based on line of entry, experiences and knowledge absorption. This definition sounds benign and neutral but whenever I encounter the word opinion, I feel a something other. As yet, I am still exploring what it is but the word opinion whenever I hear it used, wafts me a negative breeze. I sense a dismissal and disrespect.
Oftentimes this word, in reference to someone (it’s your opinion – or you are opinionated), strikes me as a belittling emanation. The patience, the silence of listening, considering and exploring the offered knowledge with a sense of gratitude that this other has made different choices and therefore possibly has valuable information, points to a respect generally forgotten when the word opinion is used. Consequently, we dismiss each other’s information (for that is what an opinion is) far too quickly. I am writing this of course, with complicity.
In a quest for its purest form, the word opinion means nothing more than an idea whose investigative qualities have not yet been completely researched. In contrast to facts or even theories who have been granted time and study, most personal opinions do not undergo a deep scrutiny. Once in a while, we hear someone say, it is an educated opinion. In this, someone puts trust in the offered opinion confident, it has undergone careful consideration. They respect the source of the information.
This word has been around for many years and since language is a living entity, it has veered off its original stand.
Currently I am wondering if we use this word to deny another’s view entering into us. When we call someone opinionated, are we not distancing ourselves from their energy? Are we not backing away from whatever they are offering?
Although opinion defined is a concluded learning discerned from a life experience, its neutrality has gone missing. For there, hiding inside the word opinion, is our conviction. When transmitting our ideas, our depth of conviction is included in our opinion. Disagreeing with another, in the play of sharing information with each other, we have not understood what is being said or the other’s chosen words differ from our usage of language. We have not communicated.
We have arrived at an opposite conclusion and with good reason, cannot dismiss our information. Especially if new information will shake the foundation we have long relied upon. Instead we dismiss the other’s opinion by reaffirming our own conviction. When we do this, by avowing our own, we also covertly say, I have no respect for your information, a disrespect which flares up the other to protect their knowledge.
We think the other is wrong and we are right. Correctly, this could be an accurate estimation or we could be wrongly convinced there is no possibility their information is valuable to us. Certainly once convinced of this, a separation occurs and now, apart from each other, in our corners, we protest indignantly, tightly grasping our own information.
We do not give in lightly since our information, regardless of its validity, has been accepted as a way to create well-being in our lives.
Throughout our life we have been disappointed with false information and now we take license relying more and more on our own subjective views, suspicious of others. We choose authorities to whom we listen more closely, but generally, our friends fall into a new category, opinionated. When a disagreement arises, we stand for our conviction and dig in deeper, explaining it more fully to the other.
This escalates our energies and usually, we learn nothing from each other.
It is only when we enter into silence, listening with a question of what’s being said, pausing our information (after all it will not be lost) can we explore our friend’s information. If this is not accomplished, we end up in debate, in an impotency which will not solve a crash of data between two minds.
Presently, I am unskillful in recognizing the moment I am trapped in debate. I forget to stop presenting my idea. I forget to paraphrase a question to ascertain if I have understood what’s being said.
When it is not an abstract opinion, it is easy to pause and consult Google. However, abstraction by its nature, is challenging to express correctly to another being. Google does not settle these crashes.
My own passionate conviction prevents me from choosing a pause. Happily, I am in practice to learn a better way of communicating and as I end this, I renew what I know helps communication – remembering to pause.