“I’m always right, even when I’m right about being wrong.” I’ll bet a boatload of opinions have been coming your way as of late. The masses all appear fixated on certain topics and willingly offer many unwanted presumptions and postulations. Your friends and family may be well-intentioned, but they are not always the “experts” they imagine themselves to be.

We all form views and react to events based on our beliefs and understanding about life. Of course, way too many have been freely sharing these schools of thought as tactlessly as possible recently. Perhaps they forgot to taste their words before they spit them out. You know what they say: It’s better to bite your tongue than eat your words. Don’t take personal attacks personally.

I asked my friend his opinion of Roe versus Wade. He said he prefers to float. “If you think I’m too critical, that’s your fault and you’re wrong.” Sheesh. Do you wish to enlighten her or change his mind? Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you’ll ever regret. Sure, you think that critical person is aiming for you, but maybe he’s just one fry short of a happy meal. Want to be truly free? Do not be attached to compliments or criticism. Praise makes you feel good, but honest, gentle critique will make you better.

How ‘bout a nice big cup of research? Please don’t just focus on what you say, but how you say it. If you insist on attaching negativity to your words, trust me, they will not be heard. Of course, people’s views reveal something about them. But your reaction, especially a tense and troubled one, reflects what is going on inside of you, as well. What is it about their position or perspective that makes you so uncomfortable or ill at ease?

Is it your nature to conform or not conform to societal rules, dictums, or decrees? He insists on strongly imposing his views? Ugh. Don’t counterattack, please, even if you disagree. Simply say: “Actually, I prefer to look at the matter this way. I appreciate you sharing. Thank you.” When in doubt, try changing the subject. Remember this: A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind – and won’t change the subject. Most often, we need to be taught how to think, not what to think.

“Yes, I checked my receipt. And no, I did not buy any of your nonsense.” Uh, oh. If they insist on pontificating, you may need to politely interrupt. If you can, try to keep a healthy distance from judgmental, over-bearing, obstinate folks. After all, your peace of mind needs to be a priority.

“You do realize you just said that out loud, right?” She remains overly impassioned about this topic? Calmly say to her: “This works for me.” If someone offers ideas that go against some of your core beliefs, you may feel personally threatened. Now you feel as though you must somehow protect yourself. Perhaps that particular belief is central or key to your whole identity.

Dig deep, sweet friends, and try to imagine how and why they came to their outlook. They may confront you as to why you would even suggest that they verify or validate their strongly held opinions. Know that this boundary they create almost always stems from fear. If you show care and mentally walk in their shoes, they may feel less vulnerable around you. If they act as if they are an ultimate authority on this subject, you can walk on eggshells, or you can walk away. Eggshells may become hard to break after walking on them for too long.

“All I know is that one of us is right, and the other one is you.” Uh, oh. Perhaps it has become inordinately irritating and stressful having others force their stance and speculations on you. Indeed, honesty and a fair exchange of ideas encourage us to look at things from a different point of view. If a certain topic is too sensitive, make a pact not to discuss it with her. “Let’s not talk about this. How about we just have some fun?” You know time flies whether you’re having fun or not. The choice is yours. Remember, you do not have to discuss everything with everyone in your life. Choose wisely.

Do not doubt your faith in yourself or your own life choices. How are your friendships? My friends are all crazy. That’s about the only thing that keeps us sane. They tell me: “Heck, I love you more than food. Okay, maybe not food, but I still love you.” The secret? If you have to clean your house before they come over, you may not be real friends. Speaking of cleaning, nine out of ten times, when I lose something, it’s because I put it away. When I want my house to look clean, I take off my glasses.

But seriously, if he’s more of a stressing than a blessing these days, you may choose to detox him from your friend group. People do outgrow friendships. Sometimes you just have to stop watering dead plants.

Silence can sometimes be your most eloquent reply. Please keep an open mind, sweet friends. It’s been said: Change the way you see things and the things you see will change. Keep the faith and take heart. Great change in this world is almost always preceded by chaos.


Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at facebook.com/pages/Safe-Haven-Healing.

 

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