I once read somewhere that opinions are like bad flatulence; everybody has it and it’s impossible to hold it in forever. But once you let it slip, everyone will notice it and most people will likely want to leave the room. A little touch of comedy to start off this post, but most will agree with the thought behind it.
All jokes aside, opinions are everywhere. In today’s society of online debates and instant information, everyone offers and provides their opinions, even when it is unsolicited.
Webster’s Dictionary defines Opinion as “a view, judgement, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter.” The important aspect to remember about one’s opinion is that it is not always based on fact or knowledge.
In fact, more often than not, opinion is based on one’s own perspective and little else. A good example includes comments I received on this very blog from someone regarding a post I wrote regarding the consumption of meat versus vegetarianism. When this commenter’s opinion began to ignore actual scientific evidence and information, her comments turned towards personally attacking and insulting me as the writer as opposed to dealing with the facts.
We live in an age where technology is at the forefront of our daily lives. Although I no longer participate in social media, we often see, hear and experience “armchair warriors” who are so quick to offer up an opinion about something without having any knowledge or basis for it.
Here’s a challenge for all of you: go on whatever social media platform you are currently using and write out a status or message on your home page. All you need to write is “I believe in [insert ANYTHING here]” I can almost guarantee that you’ll get a response contrary to what you’ve written. More often than not, especially these days, some of those responses will be extremely aggressive and negative.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Although throughout history this hasn’t always been true, freedom of speech is an existential reality these days in the Western world. Modern Western society has combined such a vast cornucopia of religious and belief backgrounds that they often conflict and use strife when strangers intersect, especially on the Internet.
Be mindful of this when lending your opinion. Although well intentioned, your opinion may not always be well-received. Trust me, I’ve dealt with that aspect myself. People don’t always understand, even if you’ve “been there, done that.”
Be receptive when receiving an opinion. As I said, everybody has one. Some good, some bad… All information is good information, right? Opinions are just that: opinions! You can’t be faulted for hearing an opinion then walking away from it.
Whether you’re providing or receiving an opinion, always remember this: it’s all just thoughts and words. It may not always give you what you need or want, but it may often give you something you didn’t expect. The important detail is to be respectful, no matter which end of the opinion you’re on. ☯