Sorry - it's been a couple of days since I last wrote. I have ideas in mind sometimes about the topic I want to address for the day, and then it gets closer to bedtime, and I'm distracted by other things. . . Well, you get the picture. Basically I'm kind of wasting time but doing other things instead of this. However, I had an experience tonight that I'm just dying to write about so I decided to go for it, late or not.
Generally speaking I am a very sweet and nice person. I get along well with people and even though I have my opinions on certain subjects, I don't always voice them. (The philosophy I developed back in junior high, sort of in response to the loud-mouth boys in seminary who just couldn't shut up, was, "Your opinion will be more valued if you don't always voice it." I still tend to stick to this philosophy.) Anyway, I have my opinions on things and given the right situation and circumstances, I'm always happy to repeat them. However, I seem to have a knack for finding people with very strong opinions who seem to feel it's their duty to persuade me to think and feel the same as they do. I'm happy to respect other people's opinions even when they don't match mine (even though I may think they're wrong ;)) and hope they would offer me the same courtesy. Lately I find myself in company with people who have extremely different viewpoints than me who can't handle that I might think differently and I often feel like they're trying to quash my opinion with theirs. It's the "I'm right, you're wrong kind of a deal" where they won't be satisfied until I think and feel the same as them.
I hate this for so many reasons. Honestly, though, who likes to feel like their opinion is being steamrolled by someone else who is more vocal or more strongly opinionated on a subject. The last couple of years (and one very-much opinionated roommate later), I have learned that I have to stand up for myself (and in this case my opinions) or I will be trampled. I thought I was getting better at it, but it just seems to keep cropping up, so maybe I'm not quite so good as I might hope I am. Darn it! I don't know why I seem to draw these kinds of people, but I do. I'm a magnet for highly-opinionated people and weirdos - not sure which is worse. . . J/K! I could tell story after story about it, but I'm interested in sharing one in particular.
Tonight my two roommates and I went to dinner at a friend's house. We had a lovely meal and an even better conversation. After we were eating we started talking about some various subjects, including the recent protest at Temple Square over the Church's involvement in the passage of Prop 8 in California. Don't even get me started on my views on that!! Bigotry all over the place, but that's once again a topic for another post. Anyway, I happened to bring up a talk from General Conference a year ago that received a rather heated response. I meant to comment about what was said in response to the negativity towards it. Little did I know I had opened a can of worms! One of my roommates (again very strongly opinionated but not the same one as before) and one of the friends we were visited started going off about everything that was wrong with this talk and why it bugged them. I could see their point, but I also felt my hackles raising, so to speak. I felt a sudden urge to express an opinion contrary to theirs in hopes of them seeing this in the light it was intended rather than the way it was delivered. It wasn't that I felt so strongly about this but I just felt the need to offer a second perspective that these two very opinionated ladies could consider. I really don't think it made a whole lot of difference but oh well. I did take my stand and of that I can be proud!
A little while later something happened, but in a much more dramatic fashion. The five of us started talking about a certain influential figure and how people tend to become lemmings and follow what she says blindly without thinking why they might be following her. This has affected everything from reading material to the presidential nominees (and yes I believe at least some of the people who voted for Obama did so because they listened to her, but that's beside the point). My roommate has extremely strong feelings on this subject and she climbed right up on her soap box to start dispensing these opinions. The three of us sitting on the couch and even the other friend were all amused by this diatribe because we could almost see the steam coming out of her ears. I must admit that she had a good point, and good for her for having such strong opinions. However, I again felt my contrary self pulling at me, so I took an opposite position to hers. I definitely didn't feel anywhere near as strongly on the issue but something inside of me was not content unless I took the opportunity to express an opinion contrary to hers, if only for her to consider the other side. I have a pretty strong stubborn streak complete with just enough contrariness that I'm not just going to sit by and let this happen without speaking up. This was the case here. I know, I know it's shameful for me to admit that, but there you have it. With my comments, she conceded that this person wasn't all bad and really the root of the issue was that she was bugged by people blindly following someone, without bothering to think about it for themselves. I had to agree that this is true; anytime you let someone else do your thinking for you it's bad.
For anyone who's known me for a long time, you might be surprised by this little confession, but honestly, I can't help myself. I hate feeling like whoever has the loudest and strongest opinion is right no matter what. That's often what happens because it's the vocal people who are heard and whose opinions are listened to. Okay, I'm not going to step off my own soap box and head to bed, hopefully to dreams free of strong opinions. . . :)