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In My Humble Opinion

By Karen Wright

"The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge." —Elbert Hubbard

"Your opinion is your opinion, your perception is your perception - do not confuse them with 'facts' or 'truth.' Wars have been fought and millions have been killed because of the inability of men to understand the idea that EVERYBODY has a different viewpoint." —John Moore

We do it a dozen times a day and never even think about it. But, a few days ago, I did think about it and realized how incredibly judgmental I'd become. Like breaking any habit, the first step is awareness and the second step is to choose differently. I know that this will be quite a feat. And I know it will also bring me a greater level of peace.

Before I give it all away, let me ask you to think of a food that you really hate. One that makes you gag just to think of it. Got it? Okay, now pretend to tell me about that food. You might say things like, "That's disgusting!" or, "It's the worst food on the face of the earth."

Do words like, "This traffic is horrible" come to mind? Perhaps you're not too crazy about your boss and think, "He's such an idiot!"

I know that if you're like most folks, words like these cross your mind many times a day about all kinds of things that drive you nuts. But, what I noticed the other day was that I was using my opinion like it was a fact. I saw a celebrity on TV wearing a green dress and said, "That dress is hideous!" But, obviously the celeb didn't think so.

Think about it for a minute. The dress isn't hideous, I just don't happen to like it. The dress, or anything else in the world for that matter, just is. Rain just is. Earthquakes just are. Lines at the grocery store just are. For me to assign them "factual" qualities is presuming that I see the world as it really is. When in fact, I can only see it as I see it.

This might seem like a minor point and, in the bigger scheme of life, what difference does it matter that I use my opinions as fact? But, it does matter to how I experience my world. First, when I own my opinions, I take responsibility for them. I take a stand and let the world know that this is how I feel. And I have a right to feel that way. Just like others have a right to feel differently than me.

Secondly, when I own my opinions, I stop laying blame at the feet of things, people, and events that aren't to blame. I really hate liver. But, liver is not to blame for my prejudice. The same holds true for people I don't like. They are not responsible for my opinions of them. As Terry Cole Whittaker once said, "What you think of me in none of my business."

So, I'm going on a judgment diet. When I start to lay condemnation on something I'm not fond of, I'll accept my own opinion and recognize that my thoughts are mine and aren't the truth of the thing I'm labeling.

Karen is author of The Sequoia Seed: Remembering the Truth of Who You Are, a great read for anyone who is seeking understanding or guidance, inspiration or clarity in his or her life.
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