Why Bother Sharing Your Opinion?
I am an opinionated individual, but I am not a bigot. I just know what I like and don’t like. I have clear ideas concerning my preferences, my beliefs and my thoughts. Clarity makes life easier. My thinking is not cluttered, I don’t have to over analyze decisions, and people who know me, know me pretty well. At the same time, I’m not set in my ways. I leave room for change, expansion, and growth. It’s because of my point of view that not many people ask me for my advice. Yet, at the same time, it is because of my viewpoint, they do.
It is not often when someone asks my opinion, but when they do, I’m delighted. I liken it to accepting an invitation to step a little deeper into my relationship with them. I do not take it lightly and tread softly on what I consider to be new territory between us.
In recent months, three different people, a family member, a friend and a peer, asked me to share my insights with them. Though each person had a different concern; health related, a knot in a relationship, and how to grow professionally, similar principles applied to all three people and their cares.
First of all, it doesn’t matter if I’m on the giving end or the receiving end of someone’s opinion, there is mutual trust between us. Whether we have a long or a short history with someone, our confidence in them is paramount. What is it about this individual that causes me to make myself vulnerable to them? My friend, who asked me for counsel about a particular relationship, asked because she wanted an honest answer and she knows I don’t lie.
Secondly, there is reciprocated respect. When my coworker asked me for my opinion about their idea for a presentation, it did not give me any reason to be pompous. On the contrary, I was humbled. They wanted me to assess their plan? They wanted me to critique their idea? I was pleased. I admire this person’s observations and intelligence and they must admire mine as well. After all, when two people respect each other, they see one another not as the same, but as equals.
Finally, countenance counts. I work consistently to stay well and the family member who approached me about their health issue, knows this. They know I watch what I eat, maintain an exercise routine, and have balanced habits. They’ve also witnessed the results. Though we might not see each other on a regular basis, when we do encounter one another, they see what I am. I am well. They know that my opinion is worth something because they can see how it lines up with how I live.
Why bother sharing your opinion? It may not be often that we get the opportunity to share our way of thinking. But when we do, we can accept the invitation, tread softly and treasure the results of deepening a relationship.