Thursday, June 6, 2013

Right to Silence

Dear Current & Future Self,

So today is a slightly different letter to myself. One that doesn’t fit much of the tone of other posts here. Sometimes I have a hard time writing on topics that may cause waves or hurt others feelings. While I may be a strong-willed (ok, opinionated at times), my intentions are not to hurt others feelings or try and change another person’s mind. Very few people have ever heard me say who I vote for, my views of gay marriage, my views on parenting (especially because I don’t have kids to even know anything about this), or what I even believe in the religious sense. Not because I don’t have strong beliefs and not because I won’t tell you if you ask. The reason I don’t blurt these things out or post proficiently on social media outlets my views on these very sensitive topics is not because I don’t have an opinion. It isn’t because I do not want to talk about it or I don’t have good reasons backing up my beliefs. The reason I don’t blurt these things out is not because I am afraid to speak my mind nor am I downplaying to right to free speech. I wholeheartedly believe in these things. However, some people blurt these things out without thinking of other people. They don’t consider the struggles others are going through and your intentions are not always shown as clearly in a facebook post or a tweet. 

Some people may not like this. That’s fine. You can post your thoughts and there is nothing wrong with that. But just know, that if you can be as bold to post those kinds of controversial thoughts, you need to be prepared for others to respectively decline to delve into a battle with you over that idea or issue. Just because I do not humor you into agreeing or disagreeing with you publically doesn’t mean I don’t have a strong opinion. Sometimes it just isn’t worth the raising of blood pressure over arguing. And many times, there can be disrespect thrown out when it wasn’t intended to be that in the first place. So if you decide to share those thoughts, that is awesome. But you need to respect those that don’t want to throw out those same thoughts too. Some people don’t want to create enemies over a simple disagreement. So when you post something bold on facebook, twitter, instagram, or whatever, or decide to ask very personal questions to someone, be prepared if that person respectfully declines to comment. It may have nothing to do with you or everything to do with you. Just know that if you get to be bold and ask, I get to be bold and be silent. That is my right too.

It is funny. This is something that I have thought of strongly over the years. My right to be silent. I am a talker and I am very open person. However, when it comes to things that could hurt others feelings or if I am being insensitive to the struggles others may be going through and my opinion would only hurt them more in their struggles, sometimes it is better to be there for someone then tell them what you think. We all fall prey to this "quick-to-respond-reaction". I know I do, but just as it is my right to freely speak, it is also my right to freely remain silent. All growing up, my parents said to think before I speak. When you are a fast talker, that is hard to do. But it is something I am constantly striving to do. There would probably be a lot less hurt feelings and oppression if people would actually think how their message will be received than just how is sounds coming out of their mouths.

Do I always follow through with this? This right to remain silent. Most definitely NOT. I am quick to fill silence and quick to say something that probably isn't the right thing to say. However, it is something that I am trying to train myself to do more. I think many people really do try to be careful. I don't think that most people are out there to hurt others. Not at all. I think we sometimes forget how the other person may receive our comment and that is something I want to continually work on. My right to silence is something that needs to be practiced. It is not something that comes naturally to me, but I have thought about this a lot over the past few years. Something that I think others can benefit from too. Sometimes, it just isn't worth the argument for hurt feelings.

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