January 8, 2016. Do not worry about offending me. From my family, to my school, to the organizations I belong to, to work that I have had to do, I’ve long been in environments where I naturally tend to hold a contrary opinion, or hold on to beliefs my family, friends and colleagues are against. Thus, don’t worry when you argue with me, I’m used to it.
Always, I hold on to my principle of assuming good faith in every man, relying on the basic humanity that binds us all, and the many experiences we all share, despite differences and conflicts. People will always be, to me, more than the sum of their opinions. They are my fellow human beings. As long as we do not breach out basic sense of humanity and good faith in arguing, I am okay.
Take note however, that respecting another person’s opinion doesn’t mean I would just stay silent too. It irks me a lot when people just invoke “respeto lang!” in order to prematurely end debates and conversations. It stifles our pursuit of the truth. If I think some people are wrong, I first try to understand the context of how such wrong opinions have been formed in their minds, but I would also make an effort to challenge these opinions, not because I don’t respect the people who hold them, but because I just really think they’re wrong.
Thus, I find it unnecessary to say, “no offense” the way many people do, because I think that should be a given. I find it odd, especially in our culture, where challenging beliefs and opinions is seen to be offensive. People should not take offense when their beliefs or opinions are challenged.
Admittedly, there are also times when I do stay silent. Sometimes, it’s because I just don’t care, a person’s opinion doesn’t matter to me, or the person doesn’t matter at all in the first place. Most of the time, I concede when I realize I’m wrong. I’m not a very proud person, in the sense that I genuinely don’t mind admitting when I’m wrong. But more often, I think challenging opinions and long-held beliefs, or trying to approximate the truth in any situation is a process that doesn’t begin nor end in one engagement. Parties have to go through different phases and stages necessary before arriving at their respective enlightenment. So I do let things be, at times.
I find myself writing this because over the course of the past weeks, I’ve seen how heated arguments over political candidates and the upcoming national elections have become in social media. Also, I’ve realized how colleagues are failing at their effort to convince others to side with them. Soon enough I may find myself joining these conversations. And this serves as a reminder to myself, and to others on how to engage in conversations with me over opinions and controversies.
Assertive but not aggressive. Diplomatic but not timid.