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.


  1. This is a really good post. I respect that you kept your opinion to yourself. I try not to offer opinions. It might be different if someone asked for help processing something that was going on. Often, when someone asks for an opinion, it's not really asking what you think they should do. It's more in the way of saying, "This is what I'm doing; what do you think of it?" and when we share an opinion, if it's almost like condemnation of their choice. Really good choice for the letter "O". Enjoy the A to Z. Am following you now. :-)

  2. Teresa, thanks for stopping by, sharing your thoughts and following along! I, too, have found that there's usually a reason someone is asking for an opinion, and it's not really to hear what I think -- it's more about what is happening inside that individual, and he or she is looking for help processing the thoughts and feelings and/or looking for affirmation. For me, I find it best to avoid the whole opinion thing and ask a really good question, or provide support generally, instead. :)

    Best wishes to you!