Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are well aware of the chaos that is the 2016 election.
You can’t open Facebook without seeing your family members’ novel-esque posts about how much they despise the other candidate, and you can’t turn on the television without seeing who is endorsing whom, shortly thereafter being lectured on the premise by which they do so.
It seems like everyone has something to say, and considering that fact can be painful to one’s feeling of expressive self-worth.
“What does my opinion matter?”
In declarative terms: “I’m just another average joe, and my thoughts aren’t worth anything.”
This self-doubt can be perpetuated by a sheer macro worldview. After all, the thought that there are over 7 billion other people with brains and emotions that are capable of fathoming thoughts into opinions create a sense of “smallness” can indeed be sobering, but unfortunately, it can also be confidence inhibiting.
Even moreso, however, this self-doubt is sustained by unmitigated fear of those who disagree.
Again, the acknowledgment of the astronomical numbers that represent the number of intellectually capable individuals on this planet brings about a conclusion that directly juxtaposes the previously stated sense of smallness. “I am so small, and those who disagree are legion.”
Though these inhibitions are entirely legitimate to have, they must be overcome. Your opinion is a precious and one-of-a-kind thing. The central reason that it is so important is based on the word “perspective.”
One of life’s oddities is that two people can look at the same thing, and see and feel completely different things in response. That is perspective.
People come from different places, families, and communities, making no two people socialized in the same way.
People have experienced different things, and are conditioned completely uniquely in every case. And thus, no two people have the same lenses in their worldview.
This raises an intriguing conclusion: by silencing your thoughts, you are essentially depriving the world of an entire way of seeing things.
While the world may not be necessarily itching to find another way of seeing things, that grand scale conclusion can more accurately be represented by simply looking at what your opinion can do to those around you.
By putting your opinion out there and simultaneously respecting other opinions that exist, you can open people’s eyes to new things, and even inspire people to change their minds entirely.
The bottom line here is that your opinion is a contribution to a greater collaborative good.
Many philosophers have pondered how much more advanced humanity would be if we all worked together, instead of waging war.
Similarly, one can easily wonder what life would be like if everyone were to contribute to a global conversation by both presenting a fresh perspective and considering other points-of-view than just their own.
So, next time you feel the urge to conceal your thoughts about something you find to be important or intriguing, break your silence.
There have been entire movements initiated simply because someone had something to say, and others found it to be inspiring.
Don’t deprive the world of something that is so uniquely yours.
Brandon is a freshman in pre-aerospace engineering.