The Price of Honesty

When I started thinking about blogging, I spent some time considering what I wanted to write about.  I read a lot of other blogs and tried to get a taste for what type of posts would best suit my personality, my interests, and the type of blog that I wanted to create.

I’m the first to admit that my posts so far have been somewhat all over the map.  I’ve talked about everything from the neighbourhood bully to Nelson Mandela.  But one thing I’ve purposefully stayed away from is anything particularly controversial.

This is not necessarily because I’m averse to controversial topics, or because I don’t enjoy a good political jousting match as much as the next girl (I’ve been known to relish getting into a good steaming debate on the Pros and Cons – mostly Cons – of Canadian Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.  Oops).

But in general, I purposefully choose to avoid controversial topics because I don’t want to offend people and I want to keep something of a shiny happy bubble around this blog.  There are tons of very pointed blogs and articles out there which argue for one side or the other on pretty much every topic you can imagine, and I actually love reading them!  I’m just not sure I would be able to write one myself with the kind of grace and tact that I think is necessary when talking about sensitive subjects.

It all comes down to the price of honesty.  I used to be the kind of person who formed an opinion and couldn’t wait to share it with you.  I was so sure that I was right that I never stopped to consider that you might think I was wrong.  I loved a good argument because I always felt that I came out on top.  It was only as I got a bit older and wiser (yes mother, I AM mellowing out!) that it dawned on me that perhaps you weren’t arguing with me because you were either a) too polite, or b) too smart to bother arguing with such a blowhard.

In my case, the price of honesty was probably a loss of respect from my peers.  I’m unbelievably lucky that most of the people who matter most to me have been gracious enough to forgive this shortcoming and still love me anyway.  Happily, I’ve since realized that I don’t actually have to say out loud every stupid thought that comes into my head.  This is a revelation!

Now I opt for a bit more of a moderate approach.  While I’m still not perfect, I now realize that it’s more important to see the value in the perspective of others rather than try to cram my own perspective down their throats.  We’ve all walked different paths; who am I to say what is right or wrong for you when I haven’t walked in your shoes?

This is not to say that I don’t still have opinions or that I don’t share them.  I just try to share my opinions in a way that doesn’t disrespect yours.

This principle was extremely well highlighted this week in the response to the Freshly Pressed post “23 Things To Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23“.  As the title suggests, the post author expressed some pretty strong sentiments against getting married at an age she considers too young.

As many of you know, the backlash against this post was strong.  I’ve already read other posts that have been written in response to the original (check out an awesome one over at The Green Study called 5 Things I Think About Before Hitting the Publish Button).

I totally understand the negative response to the original post, but I also think I understand the sentiments of the girl who 23 Things.  Both the (fairly brutal) opinion offered and the (equally brutal) responses are just examples of very blunt honesty.  The kind that flows when we strip away the social niceties (so easy to do over the internet) and disregard the perspective of others in favour of the pleasure of venting our own uncensored opinions.

It’s a delicious sensation to say what one really feels – for about three seconds.  Then for most of us, that bitter twinge of regret sets in.  This is the price of honesty.

So all that to say that while I enjoy a well-thought out article dealing with a controversial subject, I enjoy so much more a post that is written with sensitivity to and deference to others.  A writer who can express their opinions, even on the most hotly debated subject, without offending their readers – that’s the type of writer I want to be.  Until I feel like I can do that, I think I’ll try to stay in my shiny happy bubble.

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