How free is free speech?

Many of us have a view of the world that is very different to the person sitting next to you. You may love chocolate – they may not. You might think a 23 degree day is perfect – they may like it cold and prefer a 5 degree day. We all think differently.

Thank God for that too! Who would want to live in a world without debate, creativity and challenge? We would still be in the middle ages if it weren’t for the uniqueness each individual possesses.

But what happens when that opinion or free thought is not what the majority believe or think? What happens then?

Last week, Bride and prejudice aired an episode where a couple told their son that they were not going to attend his wedding in the US because they were against gay marriage. As you can imagine this sparked outrage and people (as they so often do on social media) began hurling insults their way, which were in my opinion completely unnecessary.

Now before you start hurling abuse at me, let me continue.

I found them unnecessary because I began to think about all of those times people would jump down my throat for things I believed in or things I thought we as a society should do. And they would badger me because what I thought was right, didn’t happen to coincide with the majority.

They would then explain to me that they had the right to think this and that, and also have the audacity to say that my thoughts and opinions were invalid or wrong – go figure.

We all have the right to free speech and to communicate our thoughts. You don’t have to agree with them, but you must make peace with the fact that some people will differ.

We don’t have to agree with what the mother did, but calling her names (behind a screen mind you) because she did something we wouldn’t do, makes you just as bad you think she is. It shows intolerance and elitism.

Let’s be a bit more open, let’s show the world this openness we claim to have.

 

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Forgetting happiness

How often do we find ourselves sitting down at a table or chair, or in front of a fridge wondering how it is that we got to that place? I know I’ve done it more times than I care to admit! The horrible thing about it is that we can’t remember – we can’t remember the thing that brought us to the place. We focus on why we are there so much we forget to stop, think, breathe and allow our minds to wander without the constraints of stress or anxiety.

Unfourtunately, I’ve found that this not only happens with random thoughts on the way to the kitchen, but with happiness too.

Society tells us that to be happy and successful in life we have to make money (albeit not explicitly). Don’t deny it. Every business, organisation and job is centred around how much money you make. If it weren’t about the money, why would you be looking for a better job?

Let me guess – to get a house, provide for your family, be financially stable, buy an investment, save for a holiday etc? They all require money. We get jobs to make money to buy what we think is essential for us to be happy in life when really, what we should try to do is take a step back, get the old photo album out and look at pictures of our childhood.

Childhood?  how random? I know.

I know that not everyone had a fantastic childhood – some had horrendous ones and prefer to forget it, but I’ve found that everyone during their childhood had one special memory, one special event or thought that triggered happiness -and it usually never had anything to do with money.

Children have a beautiful ability to see the world as one full of possibility, hope, love and happiness. They take pleasure in the small things whether it be a butterfly, the ocean or even a hug. They know what makes them happy and don’t forget it.

However, for some reason, as we grow up we lose that ability to know what makes us happy and seek it in the most mundane thing of all things.

Tell me something – what will be your legacy? What will people remember you for when you die? Your zest for life and it’s infectiousness? Or everything you owned but can’t take to the grave?