When you express your opinions and ‘use your voice’ online especially when having ‘conversations that matter’ it is daunting to think that some people will not receive what you have to say favourably. We’ve all seen it happen, people engaging in a conversation on Facebook, it gets a bit heated, perhaps the topic is sensitive or tenuous and things start turning nasty. We all want to be liked right? (Well most of us anyway). We want to be respected, we want people to believe we’re intelligent and know our stuff. We all want people to be agreeable to our viewpoints, but this is not the way the world works – and rightly so! There should and will, always be people who challenge us, to be more specific or thorough in our thinking, to make us look at topics from another angle, to present problems we hadn’t seen before or perhaps known about and to share an alternative viewpoint that may well form a part of our own beliefs in the future and expand our consciousness even further.
Some of us have borne the brunt of rude insults when expressing our opinions online and have wasted hours, if not days, stewing over what was said, what should have been said, dealing with with these trolls, bullies or naysayers in a public forum, in the most diplomatic or professional way possible without losing face. For some, we feel our very reputation is at stake, or our brand or credibility is attacked. There is no wonder that it is ‘scary’ to use our real voice and say what we really feel about important topics that concern us.
So how do we reduce this fear? Especially when we know these conversations need to happen now, more than ever. We all understand that social media is a show-ground of non-reality highlight reels of people’s lives and thoughts. Sometimes the complete juxtaposition occurs and we see low-points shared which we weren’t expecting, ones that prompt much support and opinion and a fair amount of silence (it has to be said). Those of us who are having ‘conversations that matter’ are opening ourselves up to the firing line a whole lot more frequently. Some are hardened to it. Some will never toughen to it. Hopefully all, will continue to be brave enough to never stop speaking our truths for fear of other people’s perceptions.
Let’s assume you’re one of them, one of the brave ones… one of us. What is it that scares you about being a Wake Up Warrior and boldly ‘using your voice’ about topics that really concern you?
For me, it’s a fear of not knowing my facts and not knowing that they’re of a reliable or reputable source.
I don’t know everything, I’m not an expert on every topic that concerns me or am passionate about, does that mean that I can’t talk about it? Of course not. But is this then a rational fear? Are any facts actually truly reputable or reliable?
I’m beginning to realise that no facts are reputable or reliable. Bias enters everything. Everyone comes to research with some angle.
There is much misinformation, hearsay, opinions based on hearsay and skewed or biased research… and we need to be equipped. Being able to being able to judge well and see and feel beyond the surface of something to the qualities below (both positive and negative) is perhaps the most important life skill we all need to be equipped with. To judge well we need to feel our gut reaction and understand how to do quality research and find trustworthy sources so that we can see the truth that forms our belief.
We need to learn how to do due diligence before we accept facts as opinions within our belief systems.
This may feel like a chore, it may feel too hard, time-consuming and you may not know where to start. I know. I feel that way too.
But what is the alternative? Do we just keep our eyes closed and go back to sleep? Do we give in to all the distractions around us? Do we say ‘I was too busy, my whole life, to find the truth about what really bothered me’. Do we choose to gossip and accept other people’s opinions (potentially completely fabricated) as fact? Do we avoid what’s uncomfortable?
Do we choose poor quality connection with ourselves and others by not having conversations that matter with everyone we encounter? Do we not listen to the views of people who aren’t like us and instead keep taking the safe route and preaching to the converted (people like us) and ‘staying safe’ by dividing things into right/wrong and white/black?
Isn’t there too much at stake? We have to develop this life skill and empower ourselves to confidently conduct our own research and make our own judgements – to brush it off by saying ‘I’m too busy’ is to hand over all your power to others who will influence our future – positively, or negatively.
We don’t know what we don’t know. So how can we be right?
Let’s assume we don’t know all our facts. Let’s remain curious and open-minded but not susceptible to statements that could be opinions touted as facts. Let’s start by always asking people where they got their facts from. If they can provide a specific source then look into it and form your own judgement. If they can’t provide a source, then call them out on it – they are effectively speaking hearsay or opinion which could be biased, skewed, inaccurate or simply emotional.
You may soon see from some people’s responses that they don’t know their facts. So do you think they are the people you should be talking to about it? Are their opinions about their perception of you really going to be of concern to you?
Are you scared of them now?
My good friend and aunt through marriage across the other side of the world, Rosemary Rock-Evans says:
The key is to always to ask yourself – ‘if I accept this research and build it into my thinking, will it harm or hurt anyone, is there the danger of it doing so?
And that seems like a pretty good rule of thumb to me. Especially if you have thought outside the box, from many potential perspectives, of how holding that belief could harm others or harm life on earth.
I’m going to be exploring how we can best learn to research topics that concern us, in a way that we can feel empowered to make our own decisions with confidence and I’ll be featuring guests to post on this topic too, starting with some from Rosemary Rock-Evans. Don’t be misguided with how her argument starts, keep and open mind and see the narrative for what it is.
I’d just like to acknowledge how honoured and grateful I am to have Rosemary to agree to writing a series of posts on this topic. Rosemary is my Aunty through marriage (both of us married Rock-Evans’) and we have never met in person. We have however forged a friendship and mutual respect for each others work and efforts to share our passions and concerns with the world, we support and empower each other to bravely ‘use our voice’ online and that is why I invited her as a guest author on this topic.
She has sent shivers up the spines of Nobel prize winners [who dread her input on forums]; and panic in the world of pharmaceuticals, where her mantra of ’cause based healing and not symptom based drugs’, has created pandemonium in boardrooms. She is also the creator of www.allaboutheaven.org an amazing a not for profit site and extensive database that receives well over 45,000 visitors per month! I believe she is wildly qualified on this topic and she will certainly help empower us through her wisdom.
This shall be a very interesting and empowering conversation for us all with much to learn! I’m really looking forward to developing this important life skill as I’m certain I’m going to need to call on it every day for the rest of my life. I hope you enjoy her series and the narrative that unfolds.
So stay tuned for those upcoming blogposts and if you are someone or know of someone who has a lot to share on this topic, who would like to contribute then please get in touch with me to get involved in the conversation.
You can join in the discussions further over in our group! (See below)
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