Respecting Other’s Opinions
Published on January 27, 2017 by arothstein
There has never been a time that opinions have been more divisive than currently. Whether it is politics, religion, or social issues, ready access to internet and social media primes people to be experts on subjects that they really know little about, and many people accept all of the information as factual. People, even friends and family members, are arguing and “unfriending” each other from social media sites due to differences in opinion. Many have forgotten that our nation was founded on diversity and differences of opinion. There does not have to be “right” or “wrong” on every issue, and people can agree to disagree. How do you remain respectful of other’s opinions when they are in such direct opposition to what you believe? Here are some tips to do just that:
- Do not take other’s opinions personally. People form their opinions based on their former experiences and understandings, and everyone, even family members have different perspectives. It does not mean your ideas are wrong, simply that they differ from yours. Don’t become defensive because people think differently from you.
- Do not let emotion rule your reason! Do not become angry because someone does not see things the same way you do. Not only do people base their opinions on experiences, but people have different personalities and goals for life. Accept another’s diverse views as you accept another’s personality.
- Do not expect to convince another person to change their view. You can discuss issues and share viewpoints, but if your goal is to get the other person to change their mind, you are destined for failure, and resulting frustration. Some people debate issues, expecting others to change their views, but it rarely, if ever happens. Perhaps you may make a point that the other person will ponder, and it may make them take a slightly different viewpoint, but you are not going to change another person’s mind. If you go into a friendly debate with the idea that they are wrong and you are right, then that friendly debate will not end on good terms. Opinions are different, but, unfortunately, there is no great arbiter to declare who is right and who is wrong, so you must just agree to disagree.
- Diversity is what makes life interesting, and it would be a boring world if everyone were just like me or you. With diversity comes diverse points of view, and diverse viewpoints is what makes our world work. If we could all be accepting and respectful of other’s views, our world would be much more peaceful. If we did not feel that we have to be proven right all of the time, then we could be much more accepting of differing views.
- Finally, you can ask yourself “how important is it?” when you are debating issues with those who have differing opinions. Your arriving at a consensus is not going to change anything. If you can realize that the friendship or relationship is much more important than the issue that you are discussing, then you can let the diverse opinions of others be what they are.
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