Thursday, April 17, 2014
Out of the three options that came to mind for O posts today, this was the first. In the spirit of initial instincts, I'm going with expressing opinions.
There's a common expression about opinions and how everyone has one and all that. (If you're familiar with it, you know what I'm talking about. If you're not, I'm not gonna repeat it.) :)
When it comes right down to it, I tend toward believing that the expression actually expresses a good bit of wisdom. I'll put it a little more diplomatically with a brief story.
Last year a friend was sharing about a challenging situation in her life. It involved the kind of decision that would be impactful -- life-changing, even -- not only for her, but also for her loved ones. I listened and, I feel, more importantly, I refrained from offering an opinion, even when she asked what I thought. My response was, "It doesn't matter what I think."
It really didn't matter. Such an important decision could only be her own. Furthermore, what did matter in that moment was that I was willing to be present, to listen and to love her as she engaged in such a weighty process.
I find myself offering an opinion to folks every once in a while, particularly when I'm tired or when my usual filters are down. Ordinarily I try very hard not to do that, and instead to listen and ask relevant questions that may help provide clarity or insight during a decision-making process. In my experience, it's amazing to see how very powerful the acts of being present, listening and asking questions are, and what little value the act of expressing an opinion really has.