7 Reasons Why Your Feelings Are Not My Responsibility

You may have noticed that everyone is walking around on eggshells these days. That’s because, no matter how carefully and diplomatically you try to say something unpopular, you’re going to get slammed or even canceled.

Fortunately for me, I never spend a lot of time worrying about being canceled, so I have a liberty that few are able to enjoy. So, I am going to use that liberty. I welcome you to disagree with me.  

7 Reasons Why Your Feelings Are Not My Responsibility

  1. When my opinion is different than yours, it is not a personal attack

Because you’re even bothering to read this blog, you may see it the same way I do. Differing opinions make for interesting conversation. If someone has a different opinion than mine, I do not think they are stupid. Oftentimes, I take the opinion of someone else’s to refine my own. I know that not accepting the thoughts and ideas of other people will only make me less smart. And I’m not willing to risk dumbing myself down.

2. When people see things differently than I, that doesn’t necessarily make me wrong

This comes up a lot in my office. Though it’s 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. When someone sees something differently than I, I oftentimes say, “That’s so interesting, I’ve never looked at it that way before.” And I mean it. There is value at looking at the world from different perspectives to broaden your thinking.

3. Being thick-skinned is a good thing

We all need to go back to, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” The world has become so overly sensitive that no one is allowed to comfortably speak without anxiety over hurting someone else’s feelings. Make sure that’s not you.

Be the smart one. Be the interested one. Ask questions, and lots of them, of people who see the world differently than you do. It is so much more fascinating than pouting in the restroom.

4. You’re in control of your own feelings

Your feelings are yours to control, and my feelings are mine to control. I often use my mind to generate positive feelings. 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.

5. Blocking the ideas of others impedes learning

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 the ideas of someone’s in conflict with my own than I am of one who concurs. I already know what I think. The contrasting ideas of an intelligent human being are valuable to me.

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 matters

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 to speak. I’ve never really understood woke.

I never really understood McCarthyism either. 

In order 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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