7 Reasons Why We Are Not Responsible for the Feelings Of Others
Everyone seems to be walking on eggshells trying not to upset people around them. Getting canceled or ripped apart for sharing an unpopular opinion is a risk no matter how careful or diplomatic we try to be.
As for me, I don’t like to spend time or energy worrying about being canceled. The liberty I feel is what has inspired me to share my thoughts on this. I welcome you to disagree with me.
- Just because my opinion differs from yours does not mean I am attacking you
Differing opinions make for interesting conversation. If you’re reading this, perhaps you see it the same way. Assuming stupidity is the root of the other person’s opinion is a mistake. The opinions of others may serve to refine our own. Refusing to accept the thoughts and ideas of others runs the risk of dumbing me down. And I am not willing to do that to myself.
2. My opinion isn’t necessarily wrong just because others see things differently
This is a common thread amongst couples in my office. Though it is true that a fact is a fact, it is also true that everybody could very possibly have a different perspective on that fact. It’s one of the many things that makes life so interesting. I like to take on the attitude of, “Wow, I’ve never looked at it that way before. How interesting.”
And I mean it.
Looking at the world through different lenses serves to broaden our thinking
3. It’s a good thing to be thick skinned
Remember the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?” We need to go back to that! The world has become so overly sensitive that it seems like no one is allowed to comfortably speak without experiencing anxiety over hurting feelings. How unfortunate. Don’t be that person.
Be the smart one. Be the interested one. Seek people out who have different opinions than you do and ask them lots of questions. It is so much more fascinating than complaining behind the computer screen.
We can’t control the feelings of others
Your feelings are yours to control, and my feelings are mine to control. I like using my thoughts to generate positive feelings in my mind. No one is going to make me feel badly about myself without my permission (that’s an Eleanor Roosevelt quote I frequently mangle).
So, toughen up. It is more important to learn what someone is thinking and feeling, than it is to have them stay silent in case your feelings get hurt.
4. We miss out on learning by blocking the ideas of others
It’s a frightening time to be alive when guest speakers are uninvited to colleges and universities because a portion of the student population fears being offended. That’s the fastest way I know of to stay stupid.
Frankly, I am far more eager to hear from the opposition than I am to hear from someone who agrees with me. I already know what I think. The contrasting ideas of an intelligent human being are so much more valuable to me.
5. Tolerating and accepting others is wise
Of course, there are many things in this world that are unacceptable, and things that cannot be tolerated. Like sex trafficking. But that’s not what I’m talking about here.
I’m talking about withholding judgment of other people’s ideas and listening to those who are not only different than yours, but perhaps something you’ve never heard before.
Let others think differently. Tolerance is a virtue. And we need more of it.
6. Tolerance and acceptance are positive values
Of course there are many things in this world that are unacceptable, and things that cannot be tolerated. Like sex trafficking of minors. But that’s not what I’m talking about here today. I’m talking about an absence of judgment toward other people’s ideas and feelings that are not only different than yours, but perhaps something you’ve never heard before.
Tolerance is a virtue. And we need more of it.
7. Free speech, free press, and right to assemble is still important
Clearly, I’m talking about the first amendment. We’re getting dangerously close to only having one way to speak, and that is the “woke” way. I’ve never really understood woke.
I never really understood McCarthyism either.
To be woke, it seems that I have to be in mass agreement on a multitude of ideas without exercising my own critical thinking skills. And I’m not willing to do that.
So, perhaps when I exercise my right to free speech there are moments when I sound woke. But believe me when I tell you that that is not the case. Because I do my own thinking, and I encourage you to do the same.
In conclusion, we live in scary times. Find your courage and represent yourself. You don’t always have to have a popular opinion, you just have to have an original one.
Do your best to use resources rich in different perspectives that carry credibility.
Separating and differentiating us, shaming us into silence, is undemocratic. Worse, it makes the world, at least those of us who have not yet been canceled, decidedly more timid and less open-minded.
And you’re neither one.
Lisa Ryan LPC
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