SO, YOU HAVE AN OPINION?
TO BEGIN WITH...
Would you like to start off with some really cool (do they still use that word?) Hummerdingers about opinions? Of course you do.
That's what I'm here for.
MY OPINION IS ANYBODY WHO IS OFFENDED BY BREASTFEEDING… IS STARING TOO HARD.
THERE ARE AS MANY OPINIONS… AS THERE ARE EXPERTS.
IF YOU PUT 15 POLITICIANS IN ONE ROOM… YOU WILL GET 16 OPINIONS BECAUSE ONE OF THEM WILL FLIP FLOP.
IF YOU DON’T LIKE MY OPINION OF YOU…YOU CAN ALWAYS IMPROVE.
SO YOU HAVE AN OPINION?
By Lou Goldstein
So, you have an opinion?…GOOD. You should have one. In fact, everybody does.
Before we really get into this let’s define the word opinion.
According to the dictionary…Opinion means “A personal view, attitude or appraisal.”
It is a belief or judgment that falls short of absolute conviction, certainty or positive knowledge. An opinion is usually based on feeling or emotion rather than reasoning.
Your opinions are based on your thoughts and feelings. Those are based on what you observe about other people's thoughts and feelings. Somewhere in the mix are what we call facts. Even facts can be misleading. An opinion is neither right or wrong. In fact, it is very common for two people… operating from the same exact facts to have opposing views… having interpreted the facts differently.
So what does this all mean?
Opinions are subjective (exists in the mind). Can there be an objective opinion (based on science, history or raw facts)?
“ I think that this painting is beautiful.” This is a subjective opinion because the beauty of that painting is in your mind and can’t be proven by any facts.
“I think that there are 6 chairs in this room.” This is not an objective opinion…it is an objective statement because it can be proven by counting the chairs in the room.
An opinion is also defined as a conclusion… that the combination of certain facts and ideas are probably true… and will be proven to support your point of view (opinion).
A personal view means that it is “your view.” This also means that it might not be shared by someone else. Does that mean that you should keep your opinions to yourself and not share them with others?
NO. You should feel free to share your opinions with others.
Expressing your opinion shows that you are a real person with a working mind.
Don’t be concerned if everybody (or even one person) doesn’t agree with you. Just don’t be obnoxious,annoying, dislikable, hateful, nasty, or just a pain in the neck (this is PG rated web site) when you voice your opinions.
Don’t be this person……
I AM ENTITLED TO MY OPINION...AND YOU ARE ENTITLED TO YOUR OPINION…AND AS LONG AS YOU AGREE WITH ME…WE CAN BE FRIENDS !
Having a positive exchange of opinions is healthy and in most cases productive and meaningful. You may not change your opinion or convince someone else to change their opinion but it can get the juices flowing and we all know that we need to get our juices flowing from time to time.
Honest debate between two (or more) people with different opinions can be good. Just remember to respect the other person’s right to not agree with you. You can express your opinion and present your point of view but you should also listen to and “hear” the other person’s conflicting viewpoint. You might even learn something that might cause you to modify, add to, reinforce or maybe even give you a reason to think about changing ( heaven forbid) your opinion.
Having an “open mind” ( which is not the same as a hole in the head) when expressing your opinion is the foundation of constructing your building of the future. It allows you to be able to constantly broaden your horizons and “see ahead” of where you are at the moment.
We all change our minds about things occasionally. Don’t let a stubborn, non-compromising and oppressive attitude about your opinions drag you into a hole so deep that you can never get out of it.
It’s OK to change your mind. Did you know that there are some people who even change their political parties from Democratic to Republican or visa versa? Hard to believe...but true.
Oh ! OH ! We have crossed a bridge. Do we really want to talk about POLITICAL OPINIONS ? When you cross this bridge you are entering into a whole new world with different rules and different guidelines.
There are probably more friendships that break up and more negative outcomes that result when people disagree with each other over political opinions... or sensitive subjects than anything else.
Political opinions run from honest and reasonably fair discussions to the most vile and hurtful discourses imaginable.
PRO LIFE VS PRO CHOICE:
Let’s start with honest and reasonably fair discussions about the most debated topics we know today.
Pro-life… Life begins at conception. Therefore, abortion is murder.
Pro-choice… A fetus can not exist independent of its mother during the first trimester and should not be regarded as a separate entity as it cannot exist outside the womb.
Pro-life… Adoption is analternative to abortion and accomplishes the same result.
Pro-Choice…Adoption is not an alternative to abortion because it should remain the woman’s choice.
Pro-life…An abortion can cause medical complications.
Pro-choice… Abortion is a safe medical procedure.
Pro-life…Abortion should not be used as another form of contraception.
Pro-choice… A woman can get pregnant even when using contraceptives.
Pro-life… Many teenagers have lifelong regrets after getting an abortion.
Pro choice… Teenagers who become mothers have grim prospects for the future.
So, we have opinions that are on both sides of the fence concerning the political issue of abortion.
Both sides have facts and statistics to back up their points of view. The differences of opinions shown above can lead to people rendering their opinions and still end up“agreeing to disagreeing."
But what happens when the opinions are voiced this way:
Pro-life…If you support abortions you hate America.
Pro-choice…If you are pro-life you are stupid.
Pro-life… If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people to not kill each other?
Pro-choice…You have no right to tell a woman what to do with her body.
Pro-life… Because I believe that abortion is murder, I also believe that I can kill any doctor who supports it...to prevent an abortion from happening.
Pro-choice...If you are pro-life you should be put in jail.
All responses like these only alienate people and ends any possibility of a meaningful discussion.
You are better off not saying anything at all.
The same holds true when it comes to other political opinions.
Conservative… I disagree with the liberal point of view
Liberal… I disagree with the conservative point of view.
Conservative… I think the president is making some bad decisions
Liberal… I think that the president is making good decisions.
The voicing of these kinds of opinions encourages responses that could lead to healthy discussions where people on both sides of the issue can continue to voice more opinions to support their point of view.
But what about?
Conservative… I think that the president is a Socialist and he wants to destroy America.
Liberal… All Republican’s are idiots and don’t know what they are talking about.
Conservative… I think that the president wasn’t even born in the U.S. and should be deported.
Liberal… I think Conservatives are all homosexuals.
This type of discourse basically discourages any response other than escalating to a negative and hateful exchange of ideas.
It is advised to stay away from debating with others about these sensitive issues. The reason is because, in most cases, people that are aggressive in seeking debate about these issues already have their minds set. If you don’t agree with them you can expect a confrontation that is not worth your time or effort to get involved with.
It is OK to express your opinion to let everyone know where you stand...but after expressing it…
sit down or change the subject. This is where the phrase “You are certainly entitled to your opinion”
is most effective. “We can agree to disagree” is another effective statement to make before withdrawing from an attempt to debate.
OR…If you really don’t care about affecting a friendship you might have with that person (or persons)… and just feel like having a real barn-burning... adrenalin pumping up... rip-snorting good old fashion donnybrook….go for it !
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STATING AN OPINON AND STATING A FACT.
Our opinions are based on combining certain facts that we believe to be true (maybe they are and maybe they are not) along with suppositions or theories. When we mix up all these factors we have an opinion.
If we say that the northernmost state in the United States is Alaska we would be stating a fact. If a person disagrees with you there does not need to be an argument or even a discussion.
Avoid a confrontation simply by suggesting the person look it up and get back to you.
So, let’s summarize.
The voicing of your opinions is important and encouraged.
It is also important how you voice them. This part is not difficult.
Simply,state your opinion in a civil, polite and respectful manner. You might consider starting off by saying something like this, "Now this is only my opinion"... before stating your opinion. This is a non confrontational manner to begin the discussion.
If someone disagrees with you...try to keep the ensuing discussion as an exercise of exchanging opposing views... with the goal of bringing knowledge to each other. Even if the opinions do not change… all parties might learn from the other.
What happens if, despite your intentions to be civil, the other party becomes hateful or completely unreasonable. Your best course of action is to try and change the subject or removing yourself from the situation entirely.
See you next time,