Everyone has opinions. Some are based in experience and fact, while others are based in presumption and fiction.
If you believe in the necessity of the precautions Dr. Fauci, other scientists and health professionals recommend — that’s fact and experience. And if you believe that it’s all a Democratic lie to make Trump look bad — that’s presumption and fiction.
Opinions are like assholes — everybody has one, and many stink. Trouble is, for too long people have been told “you are entitled to your opinion.”
Ok, to be fair you can form an opinion on anything. But when fact and evidence can disprove your opinion, you’re not entitled to cling to it like a lifeline over the edge of a cliff.
That’s how we are where we are today in the United States. The entitled and their uninformed opinions on COVID-19 — and leadership unwilling to refute and even encouraging them — are sickening and killing tens of thousands needlessly. Math and science are proof positive of the facts on this serious virus — but for some, that is less persuasive than their belief and opinion.
I form opinions. It’s human nature. Some I will cling to because of my experience, and evidential fact tell me they are right opinions. However, I know I am not “entitled” to any of them. If you can show me facts to the contrary, I can and will accept that maybe I am wrong.
I believe in accountability
Nobody is infallible — least of all, me. We all make mistakes, everyone screws up, and you can and will be wrong.
I’ve made some pretty big mistakes in my life. Most had a minor and emotionally or mentally painful impact, though a few were more major and have added physical pain, too. Like everyone else, I have a choice when it comes to mistakes I have made or am making now. Ignore them, lie about them, or own up to them.
If you ignore a mistake, you lessen the potential to learn from it. Further, you increase the possibility of repeating that mistake. In the immediate moment, it might feel good to ignore that it happened — but in the long run, you get nowhere and increase the likelihood of repetition.
Lying about a mistake also means you’re much more likely to repeat it. What’s more, not only do you learn nothing, but you set yourself up to make even more mistakes. Maybe you can lie your way into and out of things with other people — but lying to yourself never works. Eventually, it will bite you in the ass and there will be consequences.
Owning up to your mistakes allows you to correct them. You can make amends, take a new direction, or just acknowledge that it has happened. But that gives you the greatest chance of learning from the mistake and NOT repeating it again.
This is accountability. Taking ownership of a mistake means you take responsibility for it. It allows you a chance for growth and education.
When faced with a mistake, if I realize that maybe I am wrong, I will confirm if I am, and own up to it. That, ultimately, is empowering.
Empowerment in accountability
Trump never ever owns up to being wrong. He piles lie upon lie and forges ahead with a false narrative and alternative reality that has little to nothing to do with fact.
I do not doubt that Trump likely believes in the lie that admitting to being wrong is a weakness. Many people think that to be true, and it’s especially pervasive in toxic male culture.
The truth, however, is that being accountable and responsible for being wrong is empowering. It gives you control over the narrative and the power to make necessary changes.
How? Via mindfulness, of course. Mindfulness is conscious awareness in the here-and-now. That awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and actions empowers you to control them.
So when you see that you are wrong, being accountable for it empowers you because it lets you control it. Rather than creating blame and pointing fingers, you take responsibility and ownership and make better use of the energy around whatever the matter is.
It is not in any way, shape, or form, a sign of weakness to admit to being wrong. It is empowering because it further humanizes you. It also helps you grow and learn. That will help you not make the same mistake — or one too like it — down the line.
Maybe I am wrong
I am presently faced with a situation in my private life where I have a very different perspective than many of my friends. People that I trust and respect have taken actions that I feel are wrongheaded, and disrespectful to other parties involved in the matter.
When I look at the evidence and take into account my experience, I am pretty convinced that I am right in this instance. However, I am not so rigid in my position that — presented with sound factual evidence to the contrary — maybe I am wrong.
But here is where this gets truly sticky. What do I gain by being right? Is it worth it to tell these people they are wrong and potentially hurt and even alienate people I care about?
I have had the opportunity to point out the wrongness as I see it to some of them. It’s been a consideration on my part as to whether or not I should address them and how I believe they are wrong.
But I haven’t. Why? Because I cannot change what they are thinking or feeling. I only can control what I am thinking and feeling.
If push comes to shove, I will defend my position. I will stand for what I believe in. Unless I am shown proof positive factual evidence, maybe I am wrong — but I am pretty certain that I am, in fact, right.
Right, wrong, and the in-between
Finally, I want to address another issue in this. Modern society has become obsessed with the extremes. Black and white, thin and fat, left and right, and so on. You are part of one camp or another. You are for or against this, that, or the other thing.
Realistically, though, most people fall somewhere between a given extreme. But because extremists tend to be loud, the middle gets shunted to the side and/or ignored.
The right and wrong discussed above are specific to personal opinion, not the overarching notion of right and wrong. What’s more, right is not necessarily good and wrong isn’t necessarily bad. They are just opposite sides of a given argument.
Be mindful of this before you make things personal. Of course, some of these matters are VERY personal — but a great many are not, and only become troubling when personalized.
When you form an opinion on a given topic, please be mindful and accountable for why that opinion is what you hold. If presented with factual credible evidence to the contrary, consider changing your opinion based in reality.
Everyone has opinions. Some are based in experience and fact, while others are based in presumption and fiction. Whether you are right, wrong, or coming from somewhere in-between, practice mindfulness, and work to avoid name-calling and blame when opinions differ. You have more power to manage this than you may realize.
Know that you are worthy and deserving of using mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done our thoughts, feelings, and actions matter, as does being right or wrong with any given opinions.