Monday, December 24, 2018

Opinions Matter.

I have strong opinions. But I also have weak opinions, and at times, no opinion. These opinions have defined actions I have taken at different times of life. Some pleasant, some terrible. The beauty, though, of these actions has been that they have been mine and I have lived with them, learnt from them and course-corrected. I have abandoned beliefs I have held for decades within minutes, and I have been reaffirmed of my opinions despite days of disagreements.

Our lives may be the results of our actions, but our actions are certainly a result of our opinions. These opinions stem from a variety of places. They include things we have learnt while growing up, things we fear, things we have read, things we have heard, things we have endorsed to fit in, and things that we adopt to rebel. More often than not, these things are fleeting, but the opinions that form from them, are not.

What bothers me the most, though, is the reluctance we tend to have to listen to conflicting or contradictory opinions. This reluctance stems in multiple forms and has detrimental effects not just to relationships but also to the individuals involved in the conversations. The suppressed opinions force people to follow the herd instead of taking the time to think and form their own opinions.

And it is important to understand where we all come from. After all, these opinions that we have have influenced not just our actions but our life. These opinions have indirectly shaped who we are, and having someone question the very basis of our lives certainly isn't a pleasant prospect. Lesser so when that person plays a significant role in your life. But isn't that also the very reason we should pause and listen?

The way I see it, shared opinions are but a gateway to another person's thought process. Someone sharing their opinions allows us to step into their shoes and look at the world from their eyes. An opinion is but an opportunity for initiating a dialog within ourselves. And rejecting an opinion without fully considering it is us blatantly stealing that precious opportunity from ourselves.

This conversation began as a previous post that talks about the importance of identifying who we are, and that individuality is simply a reflection of opinions we have at that given time. This fluid nature of individuality thus screams why we should be more receptive to objecting opinions, not less.

I have strong opinions. We all do. That is the beauty and curse, of this ever-connected world of ours. The internet that connects us to the rest of the world can also push us down an echo chamber of affirmative opinions. Self-gratification through likes is easy; letting skeptics put you through the paces in the comments on your strongest beliefs is not.

If we refuse to form and change our opinions, aren't we just a species of sheep?

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