Dreading a change in schools recently, my eldest daughter shared with me a negative comment repeated to her by one of her peers of which was overheard from an adult, regarding her soon to be school. Such a comment had her (my daughter) very much uneasy about the new school environment.
To her comment I answered “Do not allow the opinions of others to become your opinion before you have had your own experience with a particular person, place or thing”. Why? Because your favor is different from their favor…..the environment, the atmosphere, certain personalities will respond to you entirely different than it would/will to another individual. These were not just words of comfort for my dear child but words of which I truly live by.
Prime example, have you ever had a negative experience with a person, place or thing and shared that experience with someone else who had also encountered the same person, place or thing? Only to realize that their experience was 100% positive? In that moment of sharing, you probably found yourself trying to justify your negative experience as not only the norm but to convince the other person to see things the way that you – experienced it.
Outside of that moment, once you have had the time to reflect, what did you ask yourself? Hopefully one or two of the following;
What were my motives for sharing this negative experience?
Can this individual/audience handle this negative experience? Consider this especially in the realm of young people.
Was my experience the overwhelmingly consistent “norm” regarding this person, place or thing?
Grantland Rice says it this way “A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows the public opinion”. The Bible says it this way “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions”. (Prov. 18:2, NIV)
Although we all have the right to freedom of speech, that freedom of speech or opinion for that matter should never be to the detriment of another individual’s right to the same. Simply because we as individuals, with unique identities and favor will meet with life and life experiences differently.
Because “Your Favor ain’t Like Mine”, I choose to always add my own personal clause, the “Negative Opinion Clause” (NOC). This is done by stating that the opinion for which I am about to share is my opinion and my opinion only. That then, empowers others to not have to conform to your/my experience as the absolute. The end result – a people rich in experience and wise in living.
By the way, the experience for which my daughter dreaded proved to be all but negative for her. She in turn is enjoying her new school environment and have met new friends, with (positive) common interests.
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