Similarly, to most people I’ve started to wonder how history will talk about this year and what will be remembered most from the 2016 election. In a few short days it will be time to get out there and vote. Regardless of what you believe I encourage you to do so. Most of all I have been thinking about what it means to have a difference of opinion. What does it mean to voice how you feel versus silently sit by and keep your opinions to yourself? More importantly, can people disagree so significantly and still get along?
Numerous people have spoken about politics on various forms of social media. Unless we ask someone we can’t know why they choose to post, tweet, or write about their personal beliefs. Based on what I’ve heard I think there are a number of reasons people speak up and express themselves this way. Someone feels confidently in their opinion and wants others to know where they stand. Sometimes that person wants to help other people think about something differently. Sometimes they might want to argue with the person who disagrees, either to persuade the opposite side to see their way or to remind themselves why they’re right in their own view. Another reason is because someone feels there are some topics they cannot silently sit by and merely witness. They feel the need to express how they feel because of how deeply they are affected by whatever is going on. Since these types of people don’t publicly discuss their opinion regularly when they do you know they mean business.
What about the people who don’t voice their opinions when it comes to controversial topics? Some of these people simply don’t care enough to debate with others. They don’t have the time to quibble with someone over something that doesn’t affect their day to day life. Sometimes these types of people rather not know where others stand. Once someone openly express their opinions you may have to face how different you are from that person. Especially, when it comes to family it can be easier not knowing when you disagree about certain controversial topics. Another possibility is that this type of person questions themselves and lacks self-confidence which makes it harder for them to want to defend how they feel about things. If you doubt yourself, you may also worry what others will think of you and want to avoid feeling judged. People may actively want to avoid any form of confrontation, it’s easier to be silent and talk to people in your life who you know see things similarly to how you see them.
There’s a third group of people, those who carefully choose who they speak to about certain things. This is because they already know where the other person stands. It’s wonderful if they see eye to eye on issues but maybe they continue the conversation even when they know there are differences between the two of them. This is because they genuinely want to start an open dialogue with the other side. They want to hear someone else’s opinion and try to understand where they are coming from, not because they want to change their mind but because they’re trying hard to continue a relationship with them even when they differ so vastly. Open dialogue can be difficult and takes openness, willingness, and a level of calmness from both people in order for it to work.
Having an opinion is great, it makes you who you are. If you think about how, when, and who you vocalize those opinions too you can learn more about who you are aside from what you believe.