To comment or not to comment?…

You think you are entitled to opinion. Fair assumption. However, what some people tend to forget is that having an opinion and voicing an opinion are two completely different things.

On social networks you come across this all the time. Someone asks what are the best cartoons to show to a two-year old and receives a bunch of comments expressing strong negative opinions about screen time for toddlers. Or someone asks very specific question about starting a blog on wordpress com (or wix or whatever else) and gets tons of comments from wordpress org evangelists. Examples are endless!

Also in real life, lots of people have an opinion about how others should live, whom should they marry, when should they have kids, and so on and so forth. Is it about societal norms and their passionate guards?… One of the most read articles on my blog with more than 3K views to date is dedicated exactly to this subject (Square peg in a round hole: Why is it perfectly normal not to fit the norm).

The thing I always wonder is: what makes people share their unsolicited opinion? What is the driving force behind it? 

Is it to altruistically teach a person?

To heal the world’s ignorance?

Or is it to show one’s superiority and extraordinary intelligence?

Is it to make someone else feel bad? (and to feel good oneself as a result)

To pull the blanket to one’s side and change the subject of a discussion?

No, seriously, why?!

There is that shallow counterargument used by many “opinion sharers” that if you tell something publicly, be ready for negative comments (same as if you dress in a short skirt, be ready for “certain reaction” – that’s all the same kind of thinking, you know). But the question remains: what is the goal of all of that?

In my public speeches about inner energy I often mention that lots of energy is being wasted on unnecessary arguments which could have been avoided in the first place. Furthermore, energy lost results also in time wasted… and bye-bye all the time management efforts! So in the end one is “robbing” oneself.

So now what?

Have you ever heard of the three sieves of Socrates?

The first one is truth. Is what you are planning to tell actually true? Not that you think it might be true, but like — is it an objective true fact?

The second one is kindness. Is what you are planning to tell going to make a person feel good? Is it kind? Is it uplifting?

The third one is necessity. Is what you are planning to tell really necessary? Here also – objectively necessary for person’s survival and wellbeing? Is it an indispensable knowledge? Is it going to bring a person any true value?

Finally, to add to Socrates — has anyone actually asked for your “precious” opinion on this particular issue?…

In other words, if the thing you are planning to tell is neither true, nor kind, nor necessary nor asked for, it might be a good idea to just keep quiet. As mentioned, having an opinion doesn’t equal voicing an opinion.

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