"Well that's the way I feel."
I hear this a lot. I hear it about whether or not abortion is wrong. I hear it about religion. I hear it about the stimulus package. I hear it about James Cameron's Avatar. I hear it about everything.
"Life starts at conception. That's just the way I feel."
"All roads lead to the same place. That's just the way I feel."
"The stimulus package is a huge mistake. That's just the way I feel."
"Avatar is going to completely suck. That's just the way I feel."
Here's the problem: Just like Alanis Morissette's Ironic isn't really ironic but just a bunch of bummers, none of the statements above are actually feelings. They are opinions.
And yes, feelings can be tied to opinions. But they are never the same thing as opinions.
Happy. Sad. Hurt. Angry. Afraid. Giddy. Anxious. Excited. Depressed. Empty.
These (among countless other words to describe them) are feelings.
These are real. These are powerful. They are ever constant. We are always feeling something. Bored. Hopeful. Tired. Shy. Embarrassed. And feelings and opinions play an endless dance together to shape the way we view our world.
But they are not the same thing.
For fun, think about a few of your favorite opinions: favorite color, favorite movie, political candidate, spiritual preference, etc.
And ask yourself:
What feelings shape these opinions? What opinions shape your feelings about your opinions?
And then the next time you give your opinion, call it that instead of calling it a feeling. But feel free to tell people what you're feeling as well, because often times what your feeling is a lot more interesting than any opinion.
At least, that's how I feel about it.
Posted on Thu, December 17, 2009