It’s 100% okay not to have an opinion on some things. Participation is not mandatory. You don't have to have an opinion if you don't want to have an opinion. In fact, it's okay not to have an opinion.
You totally don’t have to share your thoughts on a topic you know nothing about. Or, even worse, a topic you don’t know as well as you think. You officially have my permission to rest your tired brain.
What I don't know could fill a Costco-sized tub of mayonnaise. I've been trying to take my own advice. I don't always shut up when I should. Should I be shutting up now? It's a distinct possibility. But I'm going to risk it.
There is no law that says you have to tweet or comment or blabber. Not yet, at least. Ha, ha. That’s the plot of a terrible dystopian sci-fi novel. A future where everyone is forced to constantly excrete opinions.
Yes, sure, fine. Your half-baked, knee-jerk opinion may have some merit. It could even be partially worthwhile. I have no doubt that you’re funny and charming and lovely. I just don’t want you to feel any pressure.
The internet is a giant floating mouth full of teeth hungry for opinions. Like a Cheshire shark begging for hot takes. You don’t have to feed it. Instead, if you feel pressured to have an opinion, take a step back. Make a sandwich. Feed yourself. Then see if you absolutely have to chime in.
Hopefully that sandwich was delicious and gave you the time to ask yourself “do I have to write a 3,000-word Facebook post on a topic I don’t really understand?”
Right now, across America, millions of human beings are angry. They are scared. These individuals are your neighbors, coworkers, and fellow citizens. They might be you. The world is casually cruel enough without the powerful conspiring to intimidate the less powerful. But this is a daily reality for far too many people. This is not an opinion. It’s a fact!
If you're not one of those people, you don’t have to speak up. You’re not a bad person because you’re not directly affected by the suffering of friends and strangers. I’m not telling you to not express yourself! I’m just lovingly suggesting that you take a moment and find a safe space inside yourself. A mind palace! Once you’re there, ask yourself, “Am I being a decent empathetic humanoid?”
My mind palace has a hammock!
So here’s what you can do instead of pontificating publicly: listen. Read. Use your powerful and gorgeous imagination. Remember the golden rule. Walk a mile in different shoes. We forget the simple lessons of childhood. When in doubt, breathe. Respect the righteous anger of others. Learn. Evolve.
The best way to help is to just to be there. Show up. Bear witness. And lend a hand when asked. That can be a metaphorical hand, of course. Give what you can, when asked. Remember that social media is just a vast network of dutch ovens. It's not as important as we think it is. Certainly not as important as changing your heart.
Okay. That's all I have to say. I'm going to make a sandwich.