Master Key Week 5- Too Opinionated?

When I was younger I was told by the pastor at the church I attended (I was not a member of the church but, I grew up in the church and my whole family had joined; i.e. gotten baptized, in the church) that my sister and I were “too opinionated”.  I took offense to this as it was a reflection given after I had questioned this pastor about the differences between Catholics and Baptists; after all, we are all Christian.  I had been baptized Catholic as an infant and had attended Catholic church occasionally with my aunt and her family.  I had not converted but had been very active in that church.  The pastor often brought this to the congregation’s attention during his sermons or in conversations with me individually.  So, during one of these conversations I asked him what was the difference between a Catholic and Baptist; why was it so important for me to convert?  His response was, “There is a big difference” but, he never actually gave me any differences.  So, I questioned him and questioned why it mattered.  I was labeled “opinionated” as a result.

I haven’t thought about that in a while but, being challenged with not expressing any opinions this week caused me to think back to that label and wonder, “Was he right?  Was I too opinionated then and am I still today?”  I consulted the dictionary to define opinionated.

opinionated:  adjective; obstinate or conceited with regard to the merit of one’s own opinions; conceitedly dogmatic.

Reading this definition I can see why I took offense to being called “opinionated”, if it’s taken in a negative connotation.  I think that’s the way many people view “opinionated” particularly when they don’t agree with the opinion being expressed.  In the case of the pastor labeling me as opinionated, however, I wasn’t giving an opinion; I was asking a question to an “expert” to gain clarity and understanding.  But, being given that label may have affected my subby.  I struggle with expressing myself and this may have been one of the small seeds that had been planted in my subby that led to that struggle.
This week I have struggled with not having any opinions and still being able to be expressive and be a supportive wife.  I’ve discovered that giving my opinion on things is how I mainly communicate with people.  So, how do I communicate without giving an opinion?  How can I be a supportive wife when my husband is telling me about his day or venting and  is looking to hear my opinion and I can’t give it?  What if I may be the “expert” in a particular setting or group and offer information but others take it as just my “opinion”; should I still provide the information?  These are all questions I asked myself this week when faced with the crossroads of giving an opinion or saying nothing at all.  When my conscious mind was involved, I remained silent and said nothing or “I don’t have an opinion” (of course this wasn’t true which then led to other conflict within me).  I did explain to my husband that I was participating in this experience and what our exercise was this week so that he’d be aware.  I also asked him to help me be accountable and point out if I was giving an opinion.  That helped some.
So, I’ve been doing more introspection this week to determine how I need to change my communication behaviors to be able to communicate without giving opinions so often.  I consulted the dictionary to clearly understand the meaning of an opinion and not just go by my “opinion” of what the word  means so I could be clear on what I couldn’t/shouldn’t be offering in the context of this exercise.
opinion:  noun
1.  a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.
2.  a personal view, attitude, or appraisal.
3.  the formal expression of a professional judgment: to ask for a second medical opinion.
4.  Law. the formal statement by a judge or court of the reasoning and the principles of law used in reaching a decision of a case.
5.  a judgment or estimate of a person or thing with respect to character, merit, etc.: to forfeit someone’s good opinion.
6.  a favorable estimate; esteem: I haven’t much of an opinion of him
So, when I think about expressing myself and communicating with others, I evaluate first, am I doing 1-6?  I guess the real question I have for myself and I wonder if this is part of the “method behind the madness” is, “If I am doing any of 1-6, is it beneficial?”  I go back to the BPB and look at promise #5.  Does this apply?  Is what I’m about to express or communicate “truth and justice”?  Does it “benefit all whom it affects”?  If not, then it’s likely not an opinion worth giving…
Until next time…

4 thoughts on “Master Key Week 5- Too Opinionated?

  1. Pingback: Can one have too much opinions? | Maria Master Key

  2. Very well write-en post. Thanks for sharing the definitions with us so we also can be clear on what an opinion is. By following the check list and using BPB #5 you have a very great way to monitor your thoughts and words. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

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