Why expressing your opinion is critical

March 19, 2018
Expressing your opinion is critical

Expressing your opinion is critical!

Many of us are tossed around in life by others’ opinions of us. For some of us, having others approve our actions is an integral part of how we operate. Consequently, we are constantly looking for overt and covert gestures of approval from others. At one end of the spectrum, it could be a sublime nod or a gentle smile of approval from someone in a position of designated or perceived authority. At the other end, it could be a spectacular recognition in a public domain. A Facebook Like falls somewhere in between.

Recognition and validation

We are emotional beings who need recognition and validation. Nothing wrong with that. However, when we end up becoming someone else or a nobody shaped by what others think of us, it damages our self-esteem and that’s a cause for concern. For those who have a desperate need, when this much-awaited approval does not come through, it could have serious consequences such as depression, even suicide.

The good boy and good girl syndrome

Some of this desire for approval can be traced back to childhood and our upbringing. We are all familiar with the ‘good boy’ or ‘good girl’ image – whether it is at the Parent-Teacher meeting at school or in a social setting. A ‘good’ child is meant to be obedient, one who faithfully follows others’ instructions.

As an adult, the phenomenon of ‘good’ could carry on. Being ‘good’ occasionally is still okay but some of us end up trying to be ‘good’ all the time. Consequently, it becomes our default setting. This means that one needs to be ‘good’ with everybody every time to be able to earn and retain the title.

It calls for a continuous and lifelong adjustment to suit others’ specifications – ‘others’ could even mean our own family. This desire is a vicious cycle and trap – once we begin adjusting, more adjustment is demanded from us.

An empty vessel

The other thing that happens is even more unfortunate. In an effort to obtain others’ approval for our actions, we end up becoming an empty vessel into which others pour their opinions, desires, and wishes. Their wishes get added to our to-do list.

The world, then, operates with a binary switch – we are pronounced either ‘good’ or ‘bad’, depending on whether those to-do items were executed to their liking or not. Since our vessel needs to accommodate others’ opinions, wishes, and desires, we cannot pour any of our own into it. Obviously, there is very little opportunity to express our own opinion or view.

Here’s my Quote #133:

In my opinion, being able to develop and express an independent view is critical. It is as much our right as having our own signature. Our views are a unique expression of who we are and what we stand for. This life is our only chance to be original in view and thought – at last count, there was only one life. If we do not express ourselves fully in this life, when will it be?

Being open to others’ viewpoints

This is not to say that we can be arrogant and closed to other viewpoints. Our view needs to be shaped by what we see, hear and feel.

Metaphorically, it is like a sculptor who begins work with a mound of clay. In the beginning, the mound represents our own independent view. Our interactions with others and the feedback we receive helps us shape the clay (and our view). Therefore, the end product could look different from where we began but we know that it bears our stamp, that we had consciously played a role in that change.

Expressing your opinion is critical

Expressing our opinion spurs boldness, genius and creativity. It liberates us. In some form, our opinion is our work of art. Expressing our opinion takes our work to an audience.

By owning and expressing our view, we will take responsibility for all that happens to us instead of blaming the views of others that was poured into our vessel. We will lead our lives with character and meet life’s challenges head-on even when there is no one available to issue instructions to us.

Leaders of our life

As leaders of our life, we are expected to move into uncharted territories without a map. No one has the capability to predict what lies ahead. However, it does help if our faculties of thinking and expressing are well developed. We will be able to gauge the situation, assess risks, air our views and take appropriate action.

As parents, facilitating opinion-making in their children and encouraging them to express will help when the children face the VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world of the future – we are, anyway, not expected to be around to spoon-feed them with our obsolete instructions.

So, who do we want to be? A ‘good’ empty vessel to hold others’ stuff or a powerful life leader who holds a view?

The choice is really ours – between obedience and opinion.

It is really between expressing others’ opinions and expressing your opinion.


May I help you express your own opinion? Do you know that it begins with being assertive, being able to say ‘no’ when you wish to? 

Let me know if I could help you. Contact me at [email protected]

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  • Angelina says:

    Thank you so much sir for the wonderful writing .

    I completely agree that,
    The choice is really ours – between obedience and opinion.

    Greateful to you .

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