Lent – In My Opinion, Part 3

In my posts on Lent – In My Opinion, I wondered if my opinion mattered. A friend responded that my opinion DOES matter because in her words, and I am paraphrasing, “You have always given me good counsel.” I am flattered that she believes I have given her good advice, and she indeed is a wonderful reciprocating friend.

Still I pondered, “Does my opinion matter?”

All anyone need do is read social media posts, listen to television talk shows or news programs to know that most people have an opinion… STRONG opinions on any given topic and there are many controversial topics to choose from these days.

But does each of our individual opinions matter or only collectively… or perhaps not at all?

I only have to Google “Parkland” to read about the many opinions on school shootings, gun violence in America, gun control, the NRA, and even whether school kids have the right to speak out, rally and give voice to what adults are doing to protect them.

Parkland Shooting Survivor Calls Out Lawmakers in Chilling the NRA

How the Survivors of Parkland Began the Never Again Movement

A republican who called Parkland teen, a ‘skinhead lesbian’ drops out of Maine House race

Parkland Shooting Surveillance Video Shows Deputy Remained Outside

PRO-GUN RUSSIAN BOTS FLOOD TWITTER AFTER PARKLAND SHOOTING

As I read the numerous articles, listen to the television pundits debating the tragedy with politicians and mental health experts, and read the public’s comments on social media threads, yes, I do believe each of our opinions matter.

The better question is, “Will my opinion matter?”

I would like to believe that shushing my opinion these last 20 days or so has led me to be less vocal in my coarse language (you still are right Vinny Sal, giving up the “F” word wouldn’t have lasted past a day). Yet abstaining from my voicing my opinion has caused me to become more introspective.

Am I abiding by my own mantra, “Resist Reaction Let Reason Rule?”

Many times, when I read a tweet or someone’s post on a social media thread, I just want to quickly respond in disagreement because what the person tweeted or posted was in my opinion just plain stupid, or ‘for the love of scotch’ how can you be so blind to what seems so obvious, so on and so forth.

Now, I ask myself questions. Do I really believe, think, feel that way? How does that opinion reflect on me? How does that opinion reflect on the issue at hand? Does it further the cause? Does it just get lost in the noise or will it collectively matter?

It is not a win or lose matter

My opinion will matter when I:

  • cast my vote in the election booth after careful study of the candidates.
  • seek to be understood rather than just to be heard.
  • my attitude about someone’s opinion is not to slam it but to try to understand it. Ask the open-ended questions – who, what, where, how and why does the person have this opinion.
  • help others to thrive.

Because when it comes right down to it, my personal initiative of being a Watering Can is is not about me. It is about helping others thrive. I can’t do that unless there is a ‘will’ to have opinions matter for the collective good.

Of course! My opinion matters and the goal is to have it matter where love and security in mind, body and spirit win out.

Peace,

The Blogging Owl

Understanding

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved – The Blogging Owl – SL Prielipp-Falzone

 

 

Lent – In My Opinion, Part 2

In my quest for the next 40 days and beyond, I am trying to keep my unsolicited opinions to myself. Opinions that do not promote thoughtful discussion and often no one cares to know anyway.

After the Valentine’s school massacre this past week, I know I am on the right track in my Lenten pursuit. So many opinions and so much bullying on posts across social media, even from our tone deaf presidential administration, political parties and security officers has set the stage for another tug-of-war on gun ownership and the rights to bear arms.

Ummm, there I go again with an opinionated adjective…. tone deaf.

Noise

It is difficult to draw my hands away from the keyboard because we must have discussions and trade ideas “opinions” that may just help save the next massacre from happening. Yet post after post, interview after interview, and yes, even, silence, from our government leadership says a lot about our inability to communicate with one another on this topic and so many others.

I have been silent because I don’t want to be part of the ‘noise.’ (Unless, of course, you count this blog post.)

Name Calling and Bullying

All we do is talk, and talk, and talk. But all that happens when we continue to talk over one another is we become tone deaf too. We do not listen to one another. Instead of maybe accepting another person’s point of view as legitimate or at least giving them the opportunity to be understood, we entrench ourselves in our opinions often resulting in  name calling or bullying those who oppose us.

I’m guilty not on any media but I am in my head… or worse, in my heart.

Hearts and Rainbows

Some people stay away from social media. Others post hearts and rainbows as though inspirational memes might cause another to pause and reflect. And maybe the silence and spreading the love will work, or does it really mean we are figuratively throwing our hands up in the air and exclaiming, “I give up!”

Not an opinion. Just an observation.

Silently

Who is watching us?

Who is listening to us?

Who is reading what we write?

Our children and young people.

Unless I “see something, say something”  that may just save a life or protect the vulnerable, I will continue to pray that through Lent and beyond that I can become a more thoughtful and respectful person in mind, body, and spirit.

Authentic Self

 

 

Behavior Modification: Self-Induced

Soon after the presidential inauguration, I banned myself from social media primarily Facebook. I was becoming one of “them.”

Facebook Dislike

“Them”

I was addicted to Facebook. Checking, scrolling, posting, rebutting, prowling…. Wasting precious time actually doing something constructive, productive, healthy….

In addition, I was becoming angrier, anxious, intolerant, haughty, and just not a very nice person internally, mentally, and spiritually.

I had become one of “them.”

While I rarely commented on someone’s wall about their political, social, or religious posts. I did debate and rebut on comments made on my similar posts. The badgering and what I thought at times, outright idiocy of some of my friends or family’s posts was causing me to be someone I did not like.

My Facebook philosophy has always been that a person can post whatever they want on their wall. I can choose to acknowledge it or just keep scrolling. I would never berate someone for their opinion or what they would share irrespective of my opinion. I had one family member continuously post on my feed or telephone me to tell me I should delete a comment I posted although it had nothing to do with her. I have had other friends badger me relentlessly on political posts and scream “fake news!”

So, I stopped. I barred myself from Facebook.

Facebook Sabbatical

It was difficult for the first few weeks not to continuously look at my iPhone or iPad to see what was happening on Facebook and the news feeds. But eventually, I weaned myself off almost completely. I say, almost, because I would sometimes peek at Facebook. There were even a few times I wanted to share a news topic, but in the end, I would cancel posting it.

Even though I had over the course of the last several months change my Facebook notifications to not see certain family and friend’s annoying posts, I took a step further an unfriended a few them.

“Unfriending” was a difficult decision.

Why was I unfriending them?

I wanted to be sure of my motive for unfriending. Had I become intolerant of opposing points of view? I hoped not. It is those types of opposing view discussions that can lead to understanding whether in the end, we agree to disagree, we can somehow imagine ourselves wearing another’s shoes for the benefit of trying to see their view.

I determined the reason for the unfriending was the style of the discussion. The constant badgering of my opinion, substantiated or not. Sometimes opinions are based upon gut feelings, spiritual leanings, and simply this is how I choose to live my life. Not out of ignorance, but a compilation of education, life experience, and goals. I’m sorry. I don’t always have a well-substantiated, corroborating article to support my opinion. Because that is what it is – an opinion. But I can discuss it reasonably if given the opportunity. Unfortunately, the constant badgering and sometimes name-calling, are not conducive to a productive discussion. It’s okay to agree to disagree – at least in my shoes.

So, I unfriended those that didn’t seem to grasp the ability to have discussions without badgering me on my posts. I did not unfriend them from life just on Facebook. There is a difference. A difference I came to accept. Others were unfriended only because we never communicated with each other at all but simply wanted to connect. I’m into relationships, not connections. Connections are for LinkedIn not my personal life.

To those of whom have unfriended me, I say, “Thank you.”

Off the Grid

Regaining time, sanity, and productivity

Since I wasn’t spending all my time looking, posting, and debating on Facebook, I began to feel less angry and anxious. I looked forward to my new found free time to getting back to doing things I kept telling myself, “I wish I had time to….”

I began writing every morning outside of my normal journal writing. Immediately, I felt my creative-self begin to inhabit my mind, body, and spirit once again.

In addition, I began re-reading classics and reading contemporary works, such as:

The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton

The Greatest Miracle in the World, Og Mandino

The Complete Short Stories by Ernest Hemingway, and Ernest Hemingway on Writing

Emily Dickenson’s Poems as She Preserved Them (LOVED IT!)

Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mother of Sorrows, by Richard McCann (Exquisite prose. Highly recommend this book!)

Currently reading:

The Rose Field Guide to Prose Poetry, Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice

The Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly

The Life We Bury, by Allen Eskens

Social Media Behavior Modification

I am easing my way back into social media, particularly, Facebook. But I am reminded of keeping in control of what it is I can control – my behavior. I highly recommend the self-induced behavior modification for anything that keeps you leading a contented day-to-day existence.

Political and Activist Posts

The presidential election, which is a 4-year, not a 2-year process, was the worst in this 56 year-old’s memory. It really brought out the worst in people (and in me), and continues to do so. I am a conservative independent voter. I vote on who I believe is the most qualified and credible candidates irrespective of elective office. I belong to no political or activist parties.

I voted Libertarian in the last presidential election. Some Facebook friends admonished me for putting my head in the sand, or worse, handing the election over to Trump because I live in Michigan. After much investigation into all the party candidates, I couldn’t vote for either the Republican or Democratic nominee. I admit I wasn’t totally committed to the Libertarian candidate and didn’t think he had a prayer to win the election, however, I am committed to seeing a meaningful third party enter into future elections.

I can control only what is in my control. I can’t commit that I won’t in the future post something political on my Facebook wall, but I will be more mindful of what it is I do post. I will delete comments that are harassing, demeaning, or badgering. Posters can think what they want to think of my tolerance. So be it.

Although some may think I am keeping my head in the sand with regard to the country and world events, far from it. I have been directing my thoughts to those who represent me on the local, state, and federal levels. Just as in business, go to the decision maker because no one else has the power to make a change – certainly not my Facebook friends and family. Be assured, I have been emailing, posting, and tweeting on the appropriate feeds to let my elected officials know exactly my opinion and how my vote may sway in the next election cycle.

Keeping it Real

I am a mom of two college students. Granted, this proud mom will share mom boast posts from time to time for family near and far. Of course, I will continue to post the antics of my two fur-kids, Barkley and Penny because they seem to get the most “likes” on my Facebook wall. I also can’t leave out the woes and wonders of being an empty-nester with my beloved, Vinny Sal.

My personal Facebook page is a pathway to maintain relationships with my friends and family. Period. Going forward I will not be the person who camps out on the social media sofa for the night and ends up over-staying my welcome for weeks at a time.

My self-induced social media, behavior modification sabbatical helped me to realize that I do have time to read, write, and more importantly, live a sane life living off the electronic grid.