Lesson: A teacher that I follow once said, “Having an opinion about everything can be toxic to your soul, pure poison.” The word toxic really stood out to me! I pondered, “How can having an opinion be toxic?” I really started to reflect on the deeper meaning of what she was saying.
It took me a while, but I finally had a light-bulb moment. In our society, there is such a push for freedom of speech. The phrase that comes to mind is, “I can say what I want to say, to whoever I want to say it to, and whenever I want to say it!” While that may be true for the most part, the bigger question is, “is it beneficial to us?” Is having an opinion really worth losing our peace? Frequently, we get so worked-up about something someone else said or did, even when it has no bearing on our lives personally. Why is that? What I found after paying close attention, is that a lot of times we have opinions about certain things or people, when we don’t even have all of the facts. I was made painfully aware of this when I was an administrator. It was so mind-blowing to me how freely people felt the need to voice their opinion and tell my director and myself what they thought about a decision we’d made, when they had none of the background on why we made that the decision. If you are going to have an opinion, at least get all the facts. I’ve also heard it said, “Don’t have an opinion where you don’t have responsibility.” It’s tempting to look from an outside perspective and give your opinion about what and how you think someone should be doing something but until you walk in that person’s shoes and carry the load they are facing, maybe it’s best not to judge and to keep your opinion to yourself.
Now I must balance this article by saying, we are called to speak-up for others when they can’t speak-up for themselves, such as for the poor, for children who are mistreated etc. So I am not suggesting that we crawl into a bubble and only think about ourselves all the time. What I am suggesting is to be more mindful of how and when we express our opinions. Voicing our opinion is overrated! More importantly, having an opinion is not worth losing our peace of mind, heart and soul.
Application: Reflect on how, why and when you feel the need to voice your opinion. Is it to the benefit of others or yourself? If not, consider keeping your opinion to yourself more often and see if your peace increases.