The Right To Your Own Opinion
We all have a right to an opinion and it is important to be able to express yours. In life there are many opportunities to offer an opinion and yours is as valid as any other person’s. However, for some this is not an easy thing to do.
Why it matters
Being able to express your point of view will boost your confidence and enhance your happiness, knowing you are being true to yourself. By keeping quiet you are not being honest with yourself or other people. This can leave you feeling demoralized.
Why do people not give their opinions?
People who struggle to share their ideas may have low self-esteem. They may have come to believe through past experience that what they think simply does not matter, or is just not right. It may be that the person fears the consequences that may result from them having their say, believing only bad things can happen.
Developing an opinion
If your self-esteem is low, it may be that you are no longer even sure what your opinions are. However, it is possible to develop an opinion on anything you choose. Begin by taking note of everything you read, see, hear and experience. Then give an opinion on it. Do you like it, how does it make you feel, does it matter to you? Write your thoughts down in a journal. You may like to use a thesaurus to help you come up with words that best express how you feel. Such an exercise will give you the confidence to begin sharing your opinions with others.
How to give an opinion
The internet is a great way to share opinions. You could start a blog. For now you only need to share it with friends. Another way is to join a discussion group on something that interests you and have your say. Don’t worry too much about the responses you get — it’s about having the courage to freely express yourself. Given that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, you will come up against those who disagree with you. The trick is to not see it as a personal attack.
To help you assert yourself, try using imagery. Close your eyes and imagine yourself expressing an opinion. It could be to someone you need to confront, a small group of people, or a whole crowd. Really visualise the scenario and imagine yourself confidently stating your point of view. Keep practising, it’ll make you feel more confident and prepared for when the time comes to give your opinion.
Remind yourself that you are just offering an opinion — what really is the worst that can happen? If someone cannot respect your opinion, the problem lies with them, not you.
The opinions of others
Remember other people are entitled to their opinions and not everybody thinks the same way. As such, try to listen and respect the other person’s views, even if you do not agree with them.
Copyright Julia Barnard 2008
Julia Barnard is a professional counsellor living in Adelaide, Australia. She provides an online counselling service through her website http://www.makethechange.com.au. Julia also writes articles for the website aimed at enhancing wellbeing and promoting good mental health.