Something happened to me about a month ago. I showed on social media an unpopular opinion. At the heat of the moment, I didn’t care and didn’t think things through. I just posted the comment. However, half an hour later, I regretted it. People agreed with me but they weren’t willing to post it on social media because they were afraid of the backlash. And they were right in a way, I did receive a very small amount of backlash but something nonetheless. I instantly felt terrible when I saw it. People weren’t calling me names and make no mistake, nothing that we were talking about contained any kind of bullying or insults. But people were talking about my comment indirectly. That it was unnecessary and maybe even rude. I wanted to take it back. I wanted to turn back time and never make the comment. I even considered apologizing. But why? I wasn’t saying anything wrong per se. Maybe wrong for those who disagreed but not wrong in principle. It was my simple opinion. The only difference? That it was unpopular.
All my life, I’ve held very clearly my stance on many different subjects. Because I like reading, I have these moments where I research topics I stumble upon and form my opinion. (Weird for a seventeen-year old, I know.) But I always kept it to myself. If people were saying something I agreed on, I said a sentence or two concurring but if people were talking about something I disagreed on, it was a completely different story. I stayed silent and only listened. Even when I thought someone was saying something that was wrong and not simply different from what I thought, I didn’t say anything. I always thought, why even bother? People believe what they want to believe and that’s it. To try to convince them of otherwise, would just be a waste of my time.
But it wouldn’t. I know I am open to hear others’ opinions whether they differ form mine or not and it has happened that I’ve changed my mind listening to others. I had never expressed an unpopular opinion so publicly before. But a month has passed and I don’t regret it anymore. It’s not wrong to state your opinion, it’s actually great and you should do it. Expressing our opinions and listening to others is not only part of what makes us individuals and constitutes on our freedom of speech, but it’s also what gives us perspective. What allows us to see things in different ways and put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. I’ve learned my lesson and I’m glad I did. I will no longer be afraid to say what I think.