Each week as I sit down at my computer to write my blog, I try to imagine just what I might want to read about if I was reading the words of a complete stranger. In these columns, I have espoused my feelings about any number of topics including war, poverty, the animal kingdom, friends, family and more. More often than not, the topics were concepts I have struggled to put down on paper. Successful or not, the columns become an outlet for thoughts that would most likely not be broached at work or with a stranger at a bus stop.
This morning as I thought about what I wanted to write, I realized what a hypocrite I have been. I have long opposed celebrities, professional athletes and politicians telling us what to think and who to support. Why should they, having any measure of celebrity, have the right to tell us what to do or think? After all, America is a free country where we are allowed to believe whatever we believe as long as it doesn’t impinge on the rights of others.
Yet, isn’t that exactly what a blog does? Does the author intend to sway the opinion of readers to think in the same vein? Or, do the columns simply share my thoughts without trying to unduly influence? I, like all of you, certainly have my own set of beliefs and like you, I will occasionally state an opinion. (Those of you who know me will note the sarcasm in that statement as I most always share my opinions!) What’s important to me is that I don’t push others into believing what I believe or make them uncomfortable about it.
Whether it is religion, politics or the never ending question of cats versus dogs (firmly in the cat arena here by the way), the last several years in the United States have reminded me that being around people who don’t allow me to believe what I believe is stressful and sometimes hurtful. Agreeing to disagree, while maybe a trite statement that is overused these days, should really be the ultimate goal in my life. Having a civil and respectful disagreement is good. It opens us to different ideas yet still allows us the comfort of having divergent thoughts. When either party to that disagreement fails to allow the other to keep their opinions, it becomes much more than a simple disagreement.
Being around someone who tries to bully you into believing what they believe can have major consequences – friendships end; families divide and countries go to war. Life is already hard enough without having to deal with the onslaught of negativity and aggression these bullies cause. When you choose to not subject yourself to that type of behavior, life becomes more peaceful.
My having this platform of course is rather one-sided. You can certainly reach out to me with your thoughts about the thoughts I write, but the blog is designed to be me “talking” to you. Therefore, I will continue to share thoughts with you, but will work hard to avoid pushing you to believe the same.
That’s it for this week. Birds are singing happily outside my window, the sun is shining brightly above grass that is beginning to turn green – signs that today is a good day. I hope it is for you also.
Be well my friends….