It may seem easier to regurgitate popular ideas and play to the mass appeal, but there is something to be said for developing your own convictions and sticking to them. Whether you're afraid to speak out about your political stances or personal preferences, comfortably and kindly speaking your mind can give you an incredible sense of inner peace and strength. While it seems scary to make a firm statement opposing popular perspective, it is one of the most liberating things you can accomplish. Here's what happens when we start making our opinions known.
Phase One: Dealing with Naysayers
Fact: Not everyone is going to agree with your opinions. Sometimes hostility becomes the knee-jerk reaction for someone who doesn't agree with your standpoint. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, and usually strong feelings come attached to those opinions, which make for emotional conversations.
Keep your cool, and don't be scared away from sharing your feelings. The abrasiveness you feel when you've voiced your opinions is actually making you a stronger person. You're earning your stripes in the world of self-confidence. Use the opportunity of open dialogue to really listen to what the other person is saying. You'll learn far more about a person while discussing an emotional opinion than you'll ever learn through years of trivial conversations. You'll also start to learn more about yourself.
Phase Two: Developing as an Individual
The more freely you begin to share your opinions on a variety of topics, the more defining your character will be, as mentioned in a recent Quora discussion. You'll start finding more and more people who see eye to eye with you, and you'll start to find people that you'll never see eye to eye with. You'll start to deeply understand yourself, what makes you tick, what really turns you off. And with these wonderful pieces of knowledge, you'll become a real individual, not just one lost in a sea of the masses. As discussed in a recent BBC article, your uniqueness can actually bring you further in life both professionally and personally.
Phase Three: Becoming Blind to the Haters
Eventually, you'll be completely free from the fear of pissing people off or being seen as unpopular. And those naysayers just looking to start a fight become a complete waste of your time. You're intelligent enough to understand everyone's opinions will vary, you are comfortable enough in your own skin to brush off the haters, and you have likely developed a strong core of like-minded friends to build you up higher than any hater could break you down. In the words of Psychology Today, "some people will disapprove of you, of course. No matter who you are, some people will disapprove. They are in the business of looking down on everyone. They are not worth paying attention to." Well said.
Phase Four: Learning You're Not Infallible
Part of the opinion process is learning enough to actually have an opinion in the first place. Live enough life, and work toward new knowledge constantly in order to refine your opinions. We are not perfect, and our opinions can often be misinformed. So what happens when you voice an opinion and experience an epic shutdown? (Yes, this will happen eventually.) You listen and learn about why you were off the mark and become an even stronger person. Sometimes opinions are wrong, and that's okay. Your newfound confidence should help you be tough enough to drop the ego and appreciate new perspectives. There is a wonderful TED Talk about not just admitting but embracing our fallibility. It's a powerful lesson.
You're a veteran by now, you voice your opinions, you know who you are, and you don't care what people think. The last piece of enlightenment is learning to be wrong and know that opinions can also change as you learn more information. Come out of your shell, and speak your mind. You'll be forever changed.