I have been searching for a way to articulate a particular thought… ummm maybe a feeling, for a few years now. This morning when watching YouTube, Morgan Adams managed to paraphrase an old quote into explaining what I mean perfectly.
Your words hurt people. You saying that you didn’t mean it or that wasn’t the intention doesn’t change that.
For years I was hurt by the words of another person who I was close to. I made a mistake here – a big one. I stuck around and let the words fester. The first time I was called uneducated by proxy, I should have been out of there like a shot. Instead, I responded, “a difference of opinion doesn’t mean the other party is uneducated”. This is true of all things that aren’t scientific or mathematical in nature. A difference of opinion is just that – a different opinion. Neither is right, or wrong.
Due to my work in a creative field – I come across this often “I like the blue”, “well I like the pink and I’m paying”, cool, pink it is. And that’s all ok – because everything outside subjects where you have black and white answers, things are subjective and depend on perspective.
I encourage different opinions. Different opinions should foster discussion and debate. In this instance it fostered name calling and hatred because a discussion on an opposing perspective was perceived as a personal attack.
Over the period of a few years, my education, my intelligence and even my hygiene were called into question because I believed differently based on my experience. I paid dearly for my education, 3 years, many grey hairs and an 11 year debt. So understandably it’s something I am protective over. So being called “uneducated” by someone who knew that learning was one of my passions was fricken hurtful. It was upsetting that someone in my life would say that about anyone. Even more upsetting since bullying was a spectre in their past as well – I assumed (incorrectly so) that after having lived through it, they’d try not to perpetuate it.
The name calling was in a public forum – and when I did question it, I was told “oh – I didn’t mean you”. Well, you are saying that anyone that doesn’t have opinion B is uneducated – and I have opinion C – so yes, you are calling me uneducated. And here is that issue I had trouble articulating, once the words are out there and they have hurt people – you can’t taken them back or say “oh I didn’t mean you”. They are out there and it’s like a window into what you truely think of someone.
If you don’t believe as I do, you are uneducated.
That is a very naive position. I am differently educated. My life experience is vasty different to that of other people – that’s why I don’t expect people to believe or hold the same values as I do.
I don’t walk on eggshells – but I am aware of the power of my words. Knowing this I have all but stopped using Social Media. Why? Because it’s not my business to impose my beliefs on people who are still finding theirs. I have a strong personality and I know I can be convincing. But opinions about “the big stuff”, they are not something you should form by listening to someone on their soapbox on Social Media. You certainly should not be threatened into sharing someones views. The person I am referring to is not the only one – there is a generation of strong willed people who have found Social Media and started using it as a boxing ring for their opinions. They willingly engage in heated exchanges – creating drama over something that is completely subjective and personal. I would have to say – they even get off on the aggravation and hate.
I know my set of opinions, beliefs and values are right for me, right now. I know they will evolve as I travel, and learn and grow. I don’t need to defend my opinions, beliefs or values – but I also don’t need a friendship, my education or my hygiene called into question because they differ to another person.
I am not offended by the difference of opinion – I think it’s good when differing stand points can be discussed in an educated, calm and accepting manner. I am hurt by the name calling. And the bullying is gross.
Words have power. Make sure you are using yours to introduce more good in the world rather than encouraging mistrust and hate.
Bullying is still bullying – if you make a statement that someone is uneducated for not feeling a certain type of way – you better believe you just publicly called everyone with a different opinion uneducated and tried to bully them into your way of thinking.
Am I saying you should be able to air your opinion? No – you should. There is legislation protecting that right. But everyone is entitled to that same right. And everyone is entitled to a different opinion. Opinions are not facts regardless of how many wikipedia statistics you quote.
You do you boo. But don’t try and threaten or manipulate me into doing the same.