Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Right to One's Opinion

"A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still." attributed to Dale Carnegie, et. al.

Debating and justifying were two of my favorite pasttimes for decades. Friends, cousins, and I would belabor a topic with heels dug firmly and deeply into a particular point of view. We were hoarse with righteous indignation, shouting until the sun rose. It was rare that anyone changed perspectives-- although some conceded because they were simply worn out.

Slowly it dawned on me that each person simply walks in his or her own shoes, so there is little value in convincing another to see and believe as I do. The need to make another understand my point has more to do with my need for security-- for confirmation that I am right. But right is relative, and so is wrong. Mistakes, learning, and growing make up our respective journeys; and the journey is life.

I'm now testing the validity of my own assumptions and actions. I'm trying my best to leave others to do as they please. Amazingly, as I let others have their own opinions without my interference, I feel freer. When I acknowledge each person's rights, I am more aware of my own.

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