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  • Writer's pictureRossana Snee

Just because it's your opinion...

Who's to say you're right?

"In my opinion..." is used quite often in conversation. In most cases, the phrase is spoken as though it were a statement of fact, instead of what it really is--just a personal view and long-time held belief.

For example, I have four tattoos. They're really pretty (in my humble opinion), and all have personal meaning. One day, of my students at the gym where I teach a class, opened up and expressed her opinion about tattoos. She could not understand why anyone would want to do that to their bodies. She shook her head in wonder. I didn't say much. She's entitled to her ideas, as I am to mine. It's her opinion that tattoos aren't something to be permanently put on the body. It's my opinion that tattoos are great and can represent very significant events in someone's life. She probably thinks she's right. I know I do. In truth, neither one of us is right or wrong. It's a matter of taste and preference. No one has the right to dictate to anyone else what they should do, or not do, because in "their opinion," it's illogical, bad, childish, selfish, irresponsible, etc.

Somehow we've forgotten that an opinion is just that: an opinion; a belief whose foundation is too weak to prove anything with any certainty.

The problem arises when people become so wedded to their "opinions," that divorcing themselves from their personal view and attitudinal righteousness, is next to impossible. This can cause rigidity and an inability to have an open conversation.

Stating an opinion isn't necessarily a bad thing. We all have opinions we want to share, whether they're asked for or not. That's OK. When you maintain your opinion, however, above everything else, and speak with a close-minded attitude, nothing can ever be gained. The conversation will leave no room for anyone else's opinion. And if that's the case, you're blocking yourself to other ideas that may actually be right, or at least interesting and thought-provoking.

If I hold the opinion that every woman should stay at home with their kids and I disagree and argue with anyone who feels that being a working mom is just fine, then I'd have an issue. With all the billions of people, each having their own brain, ideas, and personal experience, is it not unfair to force opinions on anyone else? To each his own. This goes for political, religious, and anything and everything about which people have opinions.

There have been broken friendships, family rifts, and even divorces, over differences of opinion. People tend to dig in their heels and refuse to budge. Eventually, even if the person knows they may be wrong, they will refuse to admit it; they have too much invested in the fight and in being "right."

I have a suggestion for you...think about the idea of Possibility. Next time you're in a discussion with someone and you both start to clash with contrasting opinions, STOP. Just listen to what they have to say. They may have a perspective about which you've never thought. And what if by truly listening and being open, you discover theirs is a sound perspective? Wouldn't that generate new thought patterns in your mind? Wouldn't that promote new experiences in your life?

You're not always going to agree with everyone, and not everyone is always going to agree with you. It's impossible. After all, no two brains are alike, nor are the experiences experienced by each individual. But you don't have to duel to the death to prove your opinion is right. Did it ever occur to you that both of you might be wrong? Hmm...

Opinions will differ. And that's OK. Just don't let your opinions define you to the point that you're always on defense mode. After all, what are you really defending?

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