Speaking on behalf of all Americans, let me say that we live in a society that overvalues opinions. We are allowed to say and believe whatever we want because, by golly, that’s our opinion! We think that the view of the world from our personal vantage point is the correct one and the only one worth paying attention to. In fact, we have become so accustomed to throwing in our opinion about situations, that we often offer it without being asked. The phrase “In my humble opinion” doesn’t even preface our outbursts anymore. We just blurt out whatever we think because, after all, this is America and we have freedom of speech!
Okay. I am being a little hyperbolic here, but there is a nugget of truth to this whole thing. We all seem to think that we know what is best for everyone and everything around us. Now, I’m not discounting the value of honest advice, but there comes a point where “two cents” turns into a subtly judgmental nudge toward something that meshes with our own worldview. Take me for an example. I am one of those people who has never left their hometown and, because of this, I am often “lovingly” chided by people to “get out of this place.” I appreciate their apparent assessment of my potential, but I get a little tired of people saying things in group social situations like, “This one. She is just so talented. She needs to move to New York!” That’s sweet. Really, it is. But, I can’t help but feel like people don’t think I understand myself or my potential. Sure, there aren’t a lot of opportunities for me here, but I haven’t made the decision to stick around without careful thought. Perhaps I really do know what I want to do. Perhaps this is part of my plan.
Then again, maybe I don’t have it figured out. Maybe I am still working through all the details. And maybe this is okay. But it sure doesn’t make you feel like you’re doing the right thing when everyone keeps suggesting that what you’re doing is wrong in some way.
So, here’s the moral of the story: Don’t keep silent when something is wrong or you encounter an injustice occurring, but sometimes we should just keep our mouths shut. Unless we are asked, of course 😉
‘Til next time….