What is wrong with the world today? I am sure many of you could come up with a long list of things that are wrong with people today, but the thing that stands out in my mind is that there seems to be a loss of respect for others and a lack of being open-minded. This loss seems to be most apparent in the world of social media. I watch each day as FaceBook and Twitter are continually bombarded with stories that go viral and start mass “comment wars”.
We have all seen them, Chick-Fil-A controversy, Gabby Douglas’ hair, and many other status messages and pictures that start these “battles”. As I watch these “comment wars” get larger and larger I see many people simply trying to state their opinion, and what I have noticed is that some people do not understand what an opinion is and how to present that opinion in a respectful way.
The word opinion is defined as, “a personal view, attitude, or appraisal” (Dictionary.com). Does anyone besides me notice the word “personal”? This means that an opinion is a personal expression of what you believe. Now, let me ask you this. Do you think when you express your personal opinion on a topic that your goal is to make the other person switch their views to yours? If your answer is yes, then I would be interested to know why. When did people stop remembering that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and their own beliefs? Just because I have an opinion on something and I tell you about it, does not mean that the end result should be you aligning your views with mine. Now sometimes, people may express an opinion to me on a topic, and once I hear another point of view, I may alter my own opinion. I can do that because I keep myself open-minded and respect the views of others – even if they are not the same as mine.
I have a great friend who gets what I am saying. The two of us have very different views when it comes to things such as politics and religion. Yet we are able to discuss these topics without sacrificing our friendship or our beliefs. The reason we are able to do this is because we can express our personal opinions on those topics and we are not trying to convince each other to change their minds. We are simply expressing our own beliefs on the topic. I love these conversations with him and I actually learn a lot from them at times. They are great conversations because we are open-minded and we RESPECT the other person’s views.
The point is we all need to learn to look at things with a more open mind. We need to stop criticizing others because of their personal beliefs or opinions. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and who are we to tell others what they should believe or what opinion they should have. We need to learn to be critical thinkers, look at topics from both sides and educate ourselves on that topic, form our own opinion on that topic, when sharing that opinion be respectful about it, and most of all, remember, that it is OUR opinion and the goal in sharing it is not to force others to believe what we believe. They can make that decision all by themselves.