Knowing whether or not your opinions are invited to the party
November 10, 2016

As my husband and I take our morning walks, our feet shuffle through piles of leaves throughout the neighborhood. We find ourselves admiring homes and giving input on what we’d do differently. We speak of the “what ifs” and the “let’s just not ever do that.”

Because we’ve owned and remolded numerous homes, we have definite opinions on what we think works and what doesn’t.

We use it to share our own ideas with each other. It helps to know what the other one likes when it comes to rearranging our own home. It keeps us on the same page and even helps ponder ideas we haven’t thought of before. I love getting his perspective and he welcomes mine too.

Although we’re quite frank with each other, there is one thing we wouldn’t dream of doing – it wouldn’t even occur to us to tell someone how they should change their house.

We wouldn’t comment on the color or shape or style because we hold a differing opinion. You won’t find us knocking on the door unless the house is on fire or being threatened in some way. If there was true danger, we’d bang down the door to help them find safety. We certainly wouldn’t run next door to tell the neighbors first.

Here’s the issue as I see it: Social media seems to have turned it all upside down. Messages meant to knock down doors, freely sharing opinions regarding taste and style.

On the other hand, cryptic posts warning others of danger are posted for everyone to see. The messages are so obvious that if we were all sitting in the same room our gaze would fall on that one person we know it was meant to touch.

Having an opinion isn’t the issue. Like my mom always said, “Opinions are like noses, everyone has one.” The issue is when we mistake opinions for fact. When we really believe that our way to do something is the only way. We become guilty of methodolatry.

Methodolatry: The act of idolizing “how” we do things rather than focusing on the why. It’s so easy to get caught up in our own methods of achieving any number of things in our life from faith to politics to child rearing.

We narrow down our choices in areas that may be important, but how to achieve them isn’t. In other words, just because my life doesn’t look like yours on the outside doesn’t mean I don’t care about the same things you do.

You can’t understand what is going on inside someone’s life or house just by walking by. The ones that appear beautiful on the outside may be cluttered or full of darkness.

There may be turmoil in the lives of those who dwell there. The same can be said for the homes that seem outdated or in need of repair. There may be warmth or joy inside.

Unless we’re invited in, speculation is all we’re left with and judgments based on speculation can only be unfair, unkind and unwise.

Let’s do ourselves a favor, when choosing what we weigh in on, let’s consider the importance of relationship.

If we lead with kindness and friendship, we’ll have a much better chance of being invited in in the first place.

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