It’s human to judge. We do it all the time. We take an incomplete set of facts and we make up our mind. Being gloriously human, we then legitimize our judgments by calling them opinions, values or common sense. Don’t tell me you never judge. You are trying to tell me that you are not human.
The challenge in judging, in opinions, is that they separate us from each other. This is a particular issue where the judging and opinions were unsolicited. It’s profound presumption that your opinion so valuable and so correct that the other must listen to it. That moves it from separation into downright rudeness.
My SIL, a kind and loving woman, sent Owen and I a long email imploring us to stay married. She was worried about my financial future, convinced that all the people my age are single for a reason and the grass wasn’t greener on the other side. She remains sure that marriage is not there to make you happy, so she thinks we should give up on romance and be a platonic couple. All of what she said, it was based on her mental framework. She told me far more about why she had stayed married than she told me about what I should do with my life. It was opinion, not fact.
The trick to mitigating the separation and the presumption of offering an opinion seems to lay in understanding your framework, your biases, your thought patterns and your triggers and then asking the other person if they want your opinion. When they ask, it means taking yourself out of the situation as much as you can and simply offering thougths.
I made my decision carefully. There were people I spoke to, we worked through the impacts of their decision together. I wanted their opinion because I knew they were aware of their mental frameworks, their biases. I listened carefully to what they said. In the end there was one opinion that mattered – mine. I needed to be ok with my decision. I needed to know it was carefully made, that it was done as kindly as possible and it was the best possible outcome.
As for the rest? I suppose if you are someone I care about, I’ll politely tell you that I’m good about asking for advice and assistance when I need it. If I haven’t asked you can rest assured I’m comfortable with my choice. If I don’t know you and I haven’t asked? I’m still going to be polite, but I’m going to tell you in no uncertain terms that I’m not interested in your opinion and to please keep it to yourself.
Which should explain to my charming commentator, who has been rather aggressive with the opinions about my divorce, why I blocked you from commenting. If you aren’t polite enough to realize that your opinions weren’t asked for, then I don’t feel like I need to read them.