Tuesday, 17 March 2009

In My Opinion...

"The truth is often a terrible weapon of aggression."
Aldred Adler - Psychiatrist.

I have often gotten myself into heated debates about one particular subject, it is not one that people often agree with me on, so I thought I would give it one last go in writing so that I can express myself clearly.

I believe that people have a responsibility when it comes to their opinion, it is theirs and only they can truly know what it is, therefore only they can truly gage the outcome of giving it. It is most people's school of thought that if you ask for someone's opinion that the outcome is entirely their own fault, but how can it be when they did not know what the opinion was? If you ask for someone's opinion and it is negative or hurtful, the general consensus is that you are not allowed to feel hurt by it because you asked for it in the first place. I have often found myself in the situation whereby I have been on the receiving end of a negative view on my choices or actions and upon expressing my distress was informed "you asked for my opinion" as if it absolved them of the matter. If a person asked to see inside a box and inside was a poisonous snake, and they were bitten, would you say "they asked to see inside"? If you knew the snake was in there, are you absolved of guilt because they asked? No! You would have prevented it, even if you could not tell the person what was in the box, you would not let them open it.

I believe the same of your opinions. There are people who will shout from the roof tops hurtful comments and sweeping generalisations, all the while protesting that it was their opinion and they are entitled to it. To this I say, yes you are entitled to your opinion but you also have a responsibility for it, anyone and everyone can think what he or she chooses to, but to express your opinions you do so at the risk of others, so you should be careful. I have opinions about people in my life and the people in theirs but I have learnt to judge situations so as not to create hurt. If you are asked for your opinion normally it is because to that person it is valued, which means you are valued, with that in mind would you so callously contradict them? In your heart you disagree but you can see that the person believes they acted for the best and are seeking reassurance, so do you give your honest opinion? Even if they asked for it? Could you look that person in the eye, and tell them that no, you don't think they acted for the best, or that they are making the wrong decision, and watch their face crumple and still believe that you acted correctly? What if this person was your Friend, or Lover, and you were now the reason for that distress, you can tell yourself that it wasn't your fault as they asked and you gave, but you still have to look at the hurt you caused. Do you still feel sure?

Now I am not saying that in the right circumstances you shouldn't give you unedited opinion, and I'm not saying you should lie, but I do believe that if someone asked for your opinion you should be sensitive to why they are asking you for it. Only you know what it is and the damage it can do, so only you can predict the future outcome.

I personally will go on tempering my opinions so as not to do any harm, but I will also try not to expect the same from others. There are those that believe that an opinion when asked for should always be truthfully given, a noble sentiment, but they should not be so surprised when I am hurt by a hurtful opinion. I have been told "I just didn't tell you what you wanted to hear" to which I reply, if you knew what I wanted to hear why did you deliberately go against it? Honesty? A steadfast hold to the Sword of Truth? I find myself disinclined to believe such glorified protestations.

So I leave you with this, the next time you tell someone your opinion, knowing full well the probable outcome, look at your intentions; are they as honourable as you protest?

“We need lies…in order to live.”
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche - Philosopher

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