At what point does expressing one’s opinion become spewing negativity? I was reading through the comments on a Facebook post the other day when this question occurred to me…
…The post was a photo of Jane Fonda at the Emmy awards this past weekend. I personally thought that she looked quite lovely, but as I read through the comments several of them struck me as decidedly negative if not downright cruel. When the negativity was called out, someone posed a question along the lines of “Are we only permitted to post our opinions if our opinions are positive?” This got me thinking.
When exactly does our personal opinion cross the line into cruelty? When I wrote the post last week sharing my opinion on wearing pajamas in public, yes, that was a negative opinion; a general voice of dissension in regard to dressing in a way that I view as unacceptable. Perhaps not everyone agrees with me and that is perfectly okay. Was it negative as in hateful and potentially causing emotional pain to another human being? No, it wasn’t. But…had I named the person wearing pajamas in public in my post or approached her in the store and told her that I thought she looked utterly ridiculous, that would have been cruel.
Perhaps when an opinion leaves the realm of generality and becomes more personally directed, that is when the line is crossed. Think of it in terms of positivity. If someone says, “Blonde hair is beautiful.” That’s a positive opinion, although it doesn’t necessarily affect you in any way. But, if that same person says, “Blonde hair is beautiful on you,” then you take it personally and it makes you feel good. The inverse of that would be “I think floral print dresses are hideous.” Negative yes, but it’s most likely not hurting your feelings. If the statement made was “I think that floral print dress looks hideous on you,” that is cruel, hurtful and negative in the worst sense of the word.
Speaking tactfully also has a lot to do with it. If words are chosen carefully with a clear explanation of your thoughts and shared with kindness, that too can make all the difference. For example, if a friend asks your honest thoughts on her new haircut and you really aren’t a fan, you need to carefully word your response to be honest but at the same time it needs to come from a place of kindness. Of course you aren’t going to tell her that her hair looks like she stuck her head in a food processor (at least I hope not). Instead you might say something along the lines of “I can see that you love it and feel beautiful and that makes me so happy. I’ve just always had a preference for longer hair.” That way you have validated her feelings while maintaining the honesty that she asked for.
When the goal of one’s words is to do harm or be cruel, or to make oneself feel superior to another human being then it is no longer simply an opinion. It is nothing more than spewing negativity into the world. Words can can do great harm; you and you alone, are responsible for the words that leave your mouth. And you are responsible for the consequences of those words.
Even the most seemingly confident amongst us can be damaged by cruelly intended words whether they be in person or online. Sometimes I believe that people get a case of “keyboard bravado”, They think that they can say whatever they like without consequence. There is always a consequence. Trust me. Even if the writer of the words isn’t around to see it, there is damage done. So before you put something out there, verbally or in writing, take a minute to consider the intent of your words. Take a minute to consider how those words will make others feel. And never forget, the responsibility for your words rests on your shoulders.
Don’t wear white after Labor Day. Ya, right…whatever. You all know how I feel about “rules”, especially in regard to fashion. There are none. Hence, the white slip dress after Labor Day. With that being said, due to the lightweight material this is definitely a Summer dress. In order to carry it into the Fall season I just changed up the extras.
The two-fit lightweight knit cardigan was the perfect top layer. It added just enough additional warmth minus the bulk of my chunkier knit cardigans. I also liked how the longer back on the cardigan echoed the longer back on the white slip dress. I’ve been trying to up my belt game lately, so I decided that belting the cardigan over the dress was a nice little extra somethin’. I finished it off with combat boots because my all time favorite mix is super feminine paired with tomboy/edgy.
Ignore the rules! Wear white after Labor Day, wear shredded jeans after 40, rock a cropped band tee in your 60’s…do whatever the hell makes you feel beautiful. Fashion is all about expressing who we are, not following the dictates of faceless self-proclaimed fashion gurus.
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