There are times when I know that I will have bad breath. It is always bad in the morning and always bad after drinking coffee. I can’t smell it, I just know it. The rest of the time I am clueless about my breath. While I’m clueless about my breath, I am sure about other people’s breath.
There have been times when the distance the person’s breath travels to offend my olfactory senses is nothing short of Olympic. All I can say is that I am glad we are not around some altar praying shoulder to shoulder.
Do they know their breath is so bad? If they did, would they do something about it? In reality most of us are unaware of the offensive nature of our breath. This, I’ve been told, is called ‘habituation’. Basically, you get used to the smell and you don’t notice it any more. For instance, my daughter just moved back in with us while she is in transition and she has a dog. The first thing I noticed about the dog’s cage is that is smelled like dog. Now, as I am writing this, I don’t smell it. I’m just used to it. The only way someone is going to know that their breath is bad is if someone tells them. What they do with that information is up to them.
Besides, what do you say? Some of you are far better at this than I am. You offer a mint or excuse yourself and run out to buy them some mouthwash. I smile and try to breathe through my pores.
Opinions about economics, politics, religion, science, immigration, sexual orientation, and a host of other topics are much the same. People are rarely aware that their opinions might be offensive to anyone at all. I believe that everyone is entitled to an opinion no matter how bad it may or may not be. It is the spouting and spewing of ideas like everyone agrees with them that is the problem.
For example, one movie critic wrote something to the effect, “It is a good movie if you are a moron.” I happened to like the movie he was writing about. His opinion about the movie dragged down anyone disagreeing with him. It is one thing to critique a movie, and another to critique a person that watches the movie.
So how do we check our opinions ‘stink’ factor? An honest friend is helpful. Admittedly, I do not always have the courage to ask. There is some kind of internal battle that really wants to believe that I am as wonderful as I think I am.
How I do it is to read a diversity of opinions on topics of interest. Then I take my emotional temperature as I read what people have written either for or against. If I get upset, why? What makes me mad about their opinion? How might I be doing the same thing to people that disagree with me? It isn’t a science, but I am getting better at detecting the foul odor of my opinions before anyone else gets to say anything.
The best way to never find an enlightened moment about your breath or opinions is to always be with people that have no sense of smell or are always in agreement with you.
But that makes it really hard to love people that are different than us or our enemies.
So, since this is an opinions piece, does it stink? What would it take to make it more pleasant?