I Have an Opinion. Learn to Respect It!


Have you ever shared an opinion with someone only to have not just your thoughts ridiculed but your character as well?

It seems to me that in this cyber age with keyboards as their weapon of choice, everyone is super enthusiastic about disseminating their opinions but totally unprepared to accept opinions of others. If you’ve ever chatted with someone, read a comment thread on the internet, tuned to television talk shows or followed status updates on social media, you probably know what I mean. Common sense apparently is not so common anymore.

When one person’s opinion does not jive with someone else’s, common sense goes out the door. In with a vengeance almost, come arguments and name calling. Apparently, if you have a different opinion from the majority, you are expected to keep your opinion under lock and key. Better yet, you are encouraged to throw away the key.

It is rather sad that assassinating someone else’s opinion has become a cherished pastime of most people with a computer and half a brain.

I mean, I definitely admire those who are passionate about their views and opinions but to attack someone’s character just because they hold a different view from you will not make them abandon their own viewpoint in favour of yours.

It is understandable that when you care passionately about something you are filled with much disappointment and frustration when people don’t seem to get your point or don’t feel as passionately about what you think should be obvious to everyone. But then again, that does not give anyone the right to turn the dissenter into a punching bag. It will not make you feel any better. More importantly that kind of attack doesn’t make your opinions more valid. It just makes you more of an arsehole.

Why resort to being disrespectful? It may take some effort, but wouldn’t it be better to rethink our opinion in the light of what others are saying? Wouldn’t it do us more good to see if we can incorporate, accommodate or even acknowledge their thoughts, misgivings etc. ? Wouldn’t it be more useful to consider laying out our viewpoint in a different way, perhaps with different examples, or starting from a different place?

The thing is all opinions matter. My opinion matters as do yours. Everyone is entitled to reach their own conclusions about anything and everything. And no one should be made to fight for the right to have an opinion and to express it.

Of course, at times, in the process of sharing opinions with others we could hurt a few feelings and step on a few toes, especially since everyone is so easily offended these days, but that is how conversations and discussions begin. From weighty political issues to trivial everyday matters, the sharing of opinions opens the door to a free flow of communication, brainstorming for new ideas, making changes, forming mindsets and building and rebuilding communities.

Having an opinion, listening to the opinions of others, being willing to modify our opinions ─ that is how we evolve. That is how society grows.

So please, learn to respect opinions of others. Stop being an attention whore. Stop assassinating someone’s character just because they don’t share your opinion.

Simply because you believe in something, it doesn’t make you right and it doesn’t make the other person wrong – it just makes you a person with an opinion!


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