Friday, April 17, 2009

Respect and a smile

One thing I've learned in my life is to both respect everyone's opinion and to smile in the face of the most serious debate. Sometimes I get riled up over an issue and become outspoken, often giving people the impression I'm a zealot and won't listen. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I like passionate arguments and people passionate about their views.

But I also like open and honest discussion where people will listen and not become obstinate or belligerent. It's the old adage, "Take your issues seriously but not yourself seriously." And it's when I like to find the quirky or humorous sides or things in an argument and smile that helps me keep things in perspective.

Because, in the end, almost any issue is irrelevant. It's only important for the moment and with those people. The rest of the world doesn't care and time doesn't notice. All we're doing is making a lot of noise that later won't matter except the energy expended and feelings bruised or hurt. And that's why respect and a smile is essential.

In the end you have to respect the other one's right to have and express their opinion. After all it's just that and no better or worse than yours, just different. And you have to smile because what else is there to do?

I expect the same in return. If they don't, then that's their loss to enjoy the discussion and just as likely learn a few things. Everyone has experience, understanding and knowledge which can enrich or enlighten your life. And as I say sometimes, that may not be something I wanted or needed and they may hold views that challenge reality, and at least I learn something about them, like silently walk away, sometimes quickly.

Anyway, my point here is simply that my view is just that, mine. It's not fixed in space or time, just mine here and now. I'll defend it until I see or hear good reasons and information to change, or not. Some of my views are heartfelt and won't change. But either way I'll respect everyone else's opinion and smile as the nature of the discussion.

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