An opinion on opinions

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Fair Use: Creative Commons

Fair Use: Creative Commons

Fair Use: Creative Commons

Clarisa Russenberger, Design Editor

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In a society that sees differing opinions as threats, it can be extraordinarily difficult to share your beliefs when they challenge the majority. However, these opinions are critical in our society as beliefs that defy the majority often change the world. From Martin Luther King Jr. and his fight for civil rights to Malala Yousafzai and her crusade for female education, those who stand up for their beliefs are the ones who motivate the necessary change in our lives. Still, the question remains, how do I stand up for my beliefs when it seems as though everyone is against me?

First, listen to understand. Many times, when talking (or arguing) with a person of a differing opinion, we listen to the other person with the intent of responding and negating what they say rather than truly listening and trying to understand their point of view. Many agree that there is a beauty in diversity. Unfortunately, few believe this beauty applies to the diversity of opinion. You don’t have to agree with what everyone says and often “Let’s agree to disagree on this,” is a good ending to a conversation. However, if you listen to someone with an open mind and an intent to understand, your point of view will be broadened.

Second, ignore the haters. This saying might seem obvious; however, its validity is legitimate. While it is important to listen to differing opinions, too many people try to justify rude and hurtful comments with “Well, that’s just my opinion.” In cases like this, where there is no attempt at understanding, the best option is to walk away. If a person is not open to a respectful discussion, let it go. Remember, everyone is at a different point on this crazy journey we call life, and some people might not be ready to hear what you have to say.

Last, stay true to who you are. Don’t say something because you think it’s what other people want to hear. On that same note, don’t avoid expressing your beliefs for fear of upsetting another person. Of course, they should be said respectfully and with empathy, but remember, your opinions are valid and deserve to be heard.

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