Tag Archives: optimism

In My Opinion

If you were born and are breathing at this moment, then you have an opinion. It seems as though the advent of the internet, forums, blogs, instant messaging, social media, and the like, have given a larger majority of people a platform on which to express their opinion. Right or wrong, good or bad, we now live in a world of commentators, posts, articles and pins that define how our perfect world should be if it were left up to our singular voice.

The other day, I was counseling one of my children and the words, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all,” popped out of my mouth. This is a go-to phrase I’ve uttered frequently over the years, but in this particular instance, it seemed to carry a bit more weight than normal because I realized that my child was merely expressing his opinion. Therein lies the dilemma of having a voice and an opinion, and the proper balance of the two.

An opinion sums up a person’s view, judgement or belief.  Inherently, there is nothing wrong with an opinion. Yet, you can voice your opinion to one audience on any given day and get a round of applause. Announce the same opinion to a different group and you might get vilified. So is there any safe universal territory when it comes to opinions? Unfortunately, the answer is no. And that fundamental fact is why we will never come together wholly as a human race.

As humans, we group together based on our opinions. Pro-life vs. pro-choice, pro-environment vs. pro-fracking, and so on. As for myself, I adhere to one simple rule when it comes to my opinions…they are mine and mine alone. Unless it goes against a moral code (ex. thou shall not kill), then my opinion is for me to live my life by; I do not force it upon any other adult – period. Just as my child has the right to an unkind word in his opinion, he does not have the right to make anyone else feel inferior, demeaned, or saddened by it should he choose to voice it to the world as a newly dispensed law.

You see, humans can’t come together wholly because of our need to not only have an opinion, but also because of our need to control others and force our opinions on our fellow mankind. We even force it upon Mother Nature. Whether it be through casual conversation or jamming it down someone else’s throat, our egos can’t let go of the fact that although we might have an opinion, it might not be right – or for everyone. Or even valid outside of our mouth.

Within the very definition of an opinion therein lies the conflict – it is a belief or judgement. As a belief, it is a beautiful part of the foundation of you. As a judgement, it can turn ugly and redefine you as inflexible and needing to be in control, no matter the consequence.

If we were to spend more time forming our opinions into tolerant, respectful manifestations of who we are, then there would be a lot less suffering and wars. Maybe leading by force and judgement is not the way to go. Maybe living an opinion sets a better example. Think about zealots solely praying peacefully vs. suicide bombings. How about pro-life activists showing a spared life becoming a life-saving surgeon vs. a picture of a unrelatable fetus on a demonstrator’s sign? How about working through the issues of healthcare with enlightened minds vs. shouting across the aisle like a spoiled child? How about it?

While negative opinions seem to capture more headlines, it is the positive beliefs that, when nurtured, are truly the catalysts for slow and sustainable change.

But then again, that is just my humble opinion.


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Sunshine and Rainbows

Are you an optimist or a pessimist? I’m a happy gal who definitely falls into the realm of optimism. In fact, I’m often referred to as “sunshine and rainbows” by those who know me quite well. A moniker I’ve grown to love as I make my way optimistically through an increasingly pessimistic world.

If you are an optimist, then you realize that it is getting a wee bit harder to keep that proverbial glass of water half full. With the onslaught of bad news screaming at you from every news media outlet, you are forever refilling your glass to keep it level, checking for cracks, and keeping it stable so as not to tip over the brink.

“Three boys kill jogger because they are bored,” posts Media Outlet X. “Two boys on bus bully a child to the point of breaking his arm,” reports Media Outlet Y. Both of which are jarring bits of news that gave me pause. Actually, they stopped me dead in my tracks. Where are the sunshine and rainbows in these cases? There aren’t any. You won’t find them there either, because you are looking in the wrong place for something to make sense. Because none of that does. And because if you try to make sense out of it, you are left with a completely empty glass.

Everything is balanced: beach vs. ocean, heights vs. depths, body vs. soul, and good vs. bad news. As I see it, the balance isn’t out of whack, the information is. For every bad thing that happens in my glass in the space of air hovering above the water, a good thing is happening below in a fluid and unmistakably graceful motion. It has been this way throughout history. This, my dear friends, is nothing new.

However, nowadays our information is funneled to us by outlets that gain the most profit out of reporting the worst news. The numbers don’t lie…the more interaction with a story, the higher the numbers. The higher the numbers, the more advertising can be sold. The more advertising and marketing that can be sold, the more profitable the business of reporting news is. On and on it goes – fueled by a bottom line. The incongruous part though, is life is not a bottom line. Oh yes, it has an end, but not a monetary foundation that makes it either worthy of a story or not. It is a story unto itself.

To stay optimistic you have to work harder. You have to search in places that are both on and off the beaten path. Sure you can find the feel-good article from time-to-time online, on your mobile device, or on your TV, but it is usually a buried treasure waiting to be unearthed by those who are actively seeking grace. Or it is found by slowing down your busy life to thank the trees for making oxygen, the moon for providing glorious waves, and a child for taking their first steps.

For every bit of bad news, I stay optimistic by finding the balance and then tipping the scales with the good. For every death, thousands more are saved by a counselor, policeman, good samaritan, soup kitchen worker, and caring teacher. Are they newsworthy? To find out, let’s consider this hypothetical. Choose the headline below you would most likely click on:

“Policeman kills two car thieves by ramming car in high speed chase.”

– OR –

“Policeman visits local school to teach kids about the dangers of drunk driving.”

Face it, you would click on the first one. And yet, while two people – sad in its own right – lost their lives in the first scenario, how many lives were saved by the school visit? Did all twenty of the children in that classroom, or even two of them, take his speech to heart and subsequently make choices that kept them alive? Being an optimist, I’d like to think so.

Rainbows are brought about by a balance between sunshine and rain. So to be optimistic doesn’t mean that you only see good in the world, it means you seek more of it to keep your glass half full – even if you have to fill it with rain.


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