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Why Being Opinionated is the New Black and how You Can Share Your Standpoint without Being a Douchebag

by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt on January 7, 2013

Opinionated

How often do you say what you really think?

How often do you share your truth even if it’s not the most popular opinion in the room?

Not that often, right?

You’re in good company then as most people shy away from ever voicing their true standpoints.

They won’t say which party they voted for.

They won’t discuss their religious beliefs.

They won’t chip in with radical views on issues that move the world.

In short, they’re bland, dull and simply boring to be around.

Having opinions is what makes you you.

It’s what shows your peers what’s going on inside your beautiful mind.

It’s what makes you stand out from the crow.

So, why don’t people share their opinions more often and instead sit in their own graveyard of silence?

There are many reasons: The fear of alienating people. The fear of other’s opinions. The fear of not being able to handle a discussion.

The fear of being seen as pushy or obnoxious?

Or worse: the fear of others having a valid point that might challenge your point of view?

My take on it? Lame excuses and stuff that ordinary people are made of.

I wonder why you wouldn’t be uncomfortable saying something you truly believe in?

Why would you not want to share your truth?

Why not let the world take part in your convictions?

I’ve always been opinionated.

I talk about religion, politics, abortion, organ donation.

That doesn’t mean that I’ve been right all the time. Hell, no.

I’ve said some stupid stuff that I think completely differently about today.

I know that I’m saying things right now that I’ll think completely differently about in the years to come.

But sharing my opinions openly has led to the most amazing discussions, bonding experiences and mind-blowing new revelations of my life.

I have had the most eye-opening conversations talking about religion, politics and general world views with people of all kinds of different backgrounds: some of them agreed with me, some of them couldn’t have disagreed more with the way I see life, love and this world.

Never has there been a falling apart of a friendship. Never has there been a screaming match. Never have there been hurt feelings or unwanted repercussions.

Curious about how I did that? It’s not that hard, really, and so much fun.

How to share your opinion without being an ass about it

1. Don’t go into a discussion attempting to change someone’s mind.

There are those kinds of churches that encourage their members to go out and convert people, the more the better. I think that’s an awful and arrogant approach. It comes from the standpoint that you are right and the rest of the world is wrong. You are, in a way, the savior coming to set things straight, right?

That’s definitely not the way you want to approach a conversation with anyone.

Go into the conversation without an agenda at all. Just share your beliefs honestly and openly and let the other person make up their own mind.

2. Use words like: I feel that…. I believe that…

If you start your sentences with phrases like these, you’ll never hurt the feelings of your conversation partner. It’s impossible to attack someone if you approach a conversation like that.

3. Share your experience.

Nobody can argue with that. If you arrived at your conclusion because of something that happened to you, your points come from a place of understanding that is deep, sincere and often well-reflected.

4. Have an open mind.

Be open to the possibility that the other person has a good point too. Don’t just say and think they’re wrong because they come from a different background or approach a topic from a different angle. Be curious and open to other ways of seeing the world.

5. Don’t be scared.

Seriously, nothing is going to happen to you. Nobody is going to bite your head off or crush your world because you have a different stance on things. So, breathe and know that you’ll be fine.

Look, I’m not saying you should go ahead and start talking about controversial issues, just because. What I am saying, however, is that this world needs more people who stand up for what they believe in and who stop being so damn politically correct.

After all, every one of us has a unique point of view on issues that move our world.

Share them with us.

Share who you are.

If people can’t deal with it, they haven’t earned the right to hear your story and share in your truth.

That’s how simple it is.

Stop hiding behind your cowardly curtain of political correctness and start owning up to your truth. [Tweet This]

On to you. What are your thoughts? What’s something you’ve wanted to say for a while but have been holding back because you want to please EVERYONE?

This is the post for you to rant, challenge other people’s beliefs and your own.

Go!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul January 8, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Wow, I just realized how much my childhood affected my ability to have some types of conversations. I think mainly they are about controversial subjects when the other person and I don’t actually agree, or sometimes just voice my true opinion if I think or know some people do not agree.

This is something I definitely see that I need to work on, so thanks for this post. I mainly just would like to talk about WHY I possibly feel this way to reason it out in case it makes sense to anyone else and they can relate.

Growing up, my extended family, my community, and definitely my school, had many situations that didn’t even necessarily happen to me, but were examples that I saw of someone voicing their opinion, and being shunned for it. At a young age, I believe most if not all of us just store those things as reality and form a solid belief in ourselves based on those things. For me, that belief was “If I share my true opinion and it is radically different than what others think, I have a chance of losing my friends and being treated badly by others”. My family had this mindset too of keeping to ourselves and not really standing up and voicing an opinion. Something I should add is that we were completely the opposite if it was something we KNEW was bad and going on, or that someone was treating someone badly, etc. Those things we truly knew in our hearts were wrong, we HAD to say something. So I think it was this belief that if it was an opinion that wasn’t obviously affecting others, but would elicit a negative response from others, then it’s just easier for everyone not to say anything.

I can talk for hours with people who share the same beliefs, and I will talk about my deepest feelings with them on some of those subjects. It’s just when it comes to another person having a different belief on something that I have trouble. I think there is a real fear there that if I know my opinion is different, sometimes very different, that if I share it with them, we will not be as close as we used to be. I have been in situations where I did have reactions by others that lashed out because of those types of differences in opinions, which again, with me not be aware at the time, I stored as a limiting belief.

There’s definitely things stored in me about conflicting opinions with people that make me VERY uncomfortable. Now that I’ve grown a lot in my beliefs and my mind, I see now that I need to go toward the uncomfortable feeling to deal with it, not run from it and hide it. From now on, I will be diligent to choose a new belief about these situations. I will choose not to identify with my belief, be afraid that they’ll prove me wrong and I’ll feel stupid, I’ll choose to not see it as an argument, but as a fun, open conversation with another valuable person who has a valuable opinion. I’ll choose to approach every conversation like this as just another opportunity to learn and grow, and to have the mindset that, as much as it may hurt at first, if a person stops being my friend because of differing opinions, I don’t want friends like that anyway.

There’s definitely a lot in me on this that has surfaced, and just like everything else, when you’re ready for the lesson, the teacher will appear. I see that I’m ready to let this go 🙂

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Anne-Sophie January 12, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Wow. Thanks for sharing your struggles so openly. I can relate to the feeling of fear of losing people but would they be worth being around of they were so superficial or narrow-minded? I don’t think so. Now, obviously, this is easier said than done, but if you keep practicing and working with your limiting beliefs, you’ll be able to let go and form a new set of beliefs: all opinions are valid and people with different opinions are worthy just as much as you are. And vice versa. Can’t wait to see how you move passed thirst issues.

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Paul January 8, 2013 at 3:14 pm

P.S. I got so wrapped up in sharing that I didn’t thank you for this post. 🙂 Truly, thank you 🙂

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Anne-Sophie January 12, 2013 at 4:44 pm

You are quote welcome. It was a rang I needed to get off my chest. 😉

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Ben January 12, 2013 at 4:04 am

That is so true Anne. I’ve really had to work on this kind of thing because the way I was brought up I found it very hard to express myself and what I thought.

I’ve massively improved and I like it. Sure sometimes I upset people but i’m more comfortable with that now. I feel much better in myself expressing what i’m thinking instead of pretending I agree with somebody.

As for the gun problem it goes alot deeper than just banning guns. I agree with the ‘if you ban guns the criminals won’t care and will still have them’ point of view. If they want to hurt somebody they will find a way.

I also believe in my own self protection. I don’t own guns but have worked on learning to defend myself which also includes awareness and avoidance and such.

The harsh truth is that if somebody really wants to inflict violence on you no amount of begging, talking or understanding them will help, the only thing that will help is stopping them before they do it to you.

I love your quote and have posted it on twitter.

“Stop hiding behind your cowardly curtain of political correctness and start owning up to your truth.”

🙂

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Anne-Sophie January 12, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Hey Ben,
Thanks for your comment and for sharing the quote on twitter. Means a lot. I think that to some extent we all grow up with this problem- or most of us at least.

The difference comes in when you grow up – you either change your beliefs and become more confident or you stay the same and remain silent.

I’m glad you chose the former and started to become more self-confident and self-assured in sharing your true beliefs. The world needs more of those. 🙂

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