Embrace Dissent. Silence Your Opinions.

Stoicism & Philosophy

One of my friends is a die-hard conservative, and we disagree on so many different subjects. However, I still accept them and listen to what they have to say. In my own words, I enjoy surrounding myself with individuals who think differently than I do. Not only does it test my patience, stoic mannerisms in practice, and emotional maturity, it challenges me to expand my thinking leading to open-mindedness. However, our differing opinions are another reminder of how unproductive opinions really are. Why do we tend to get caught up in our opinions?

“The Stoics saw opinion as to the source of most misery. It’s what takes objective situations and makes them good, bad, wrong, unfair, essential, deserved, or outrageous. It’s also what takes things that have nothing to do with us and makes them problems for us. Not liking what some other person is doing, not believing something outside of our control should be done the way that’s it’s being done, and on and on.” —The Daily Stoic

How often have differing opinions made your blood boil or your blood pressure escalate, led to an argument, or caused a fracture in one of your relationships? The time we invest in trying to shove our opinions down someone’s throat is entirely wasted effort.

“The point is: One of the most powerful things we can do in life is to limit the number of opinions we have. To say: “I don’t have an opinion on that.” (Even if deep down we do!) To focus on the things in front of us that matter, or more importantly, that are in our control. There is plenty there for us. Plenty to keep us busy, and not miserable.” —The Daily Stoic

The next time someone asks for your opinion, think twice about giving it. The next time someone says something you fervently disagree with, don’t make a big deal of it. Accept others’ opinions without losing a hair on your head. It’s okay that the whole world or even a few people don’t agree with you. It makes more sense to keep our opinions to ourselves in many cases. Start practicing this going forward and notice how the conversations you have with people improve. I guarantee you’ll feel a lot less stressed out; I know I will.

Here’s a perfect example of how giving your opinions nonstop can lead to chaos:

[…] The presidency of Donald Trump (and indeed the life) has been a cautionary tale […]. Unsolicited and unnecessary opinions on other celebrities, on what athletes are doing on the field, on the war records of members of his own party, on the current financial health of various media outlets, on the marriage dynamic of a Gold Star family, on how football is being refereed, on how so-and-so is treating him, on the crowd size of his inauguration, on the ratings of television shows, and so many other things. What have these opinions—right or wrong—led to for him? Conflict, distraction, anger, frustration that he’s being treated unfairly—and all of this unnecessary and little upside. All of it making an incredibly hard job much harder.”

Think twice about vomiting your opinions. Instead, take a more disciplined approach in conveying your opinions to others. Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is sharing this opinion necessary?

  • Will sharing this opinion hurt myself or others?

  • Will sharing this opinion mitigate the productiveness of this conversation?

Destiny S. Harris is a writer, poet, entrepreneur, teacher, and techie who offers FREE books daily on amazon. Destiny obtained 3 degrees in political science, psychology, and women’s studies. Follow Destiny @ instagram, facebook, destinyh.com, mailing list, or join Destiny’s tribe.

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