What is the one thing that everyone has?

What is the one thing that everyone has and everyone has a right to but is sometimes forced on others?
If you guessed  ‘an opinion’  you’d be 100% correct.
I’ve noticed in this day of easy internet access by anyone with a phone, tablet or computer that more and more of these opinions are being shared (or forced upon us) through the avenue of social media and blogging.
Don’t get me wrong.
Having an opinion is not a bad thing at all to have.
What is really beginning to get under my skin though is the number of people with opinions who refuse to accept that there may be others out there who disagree with them.
Only yesterday, I was reading a post on a blog that I visited after a reblog by one someone. In this post, the blogger had put forward her opinion on something that is dear to her and defended her right to her opinion in the face of disagreement and opposition from many of the commenters. That is her right of course and she is entitled to do so. However when a person said to her (after much to-ing and fro-ing of opposing ideas) “I see that nothing I say is going to make you look at this in a different way”, her reply was “Because I am right”.
It was at this point that I closed out of her blog and vowed to not come back again unless it was by accident.
Who knows? Maybe it was the arrogance of youth and a life not yet fully lived that coloured her words. Or maybe it wasn’t.
The thing is, I have lived long enough to learn that every situation or issue in life is multifaceted. It can be approached from different angles. I am not blind enough to overlook the fact that no two people will see things from the same perspective and I would hope that I have taught my children to look at things from the other person’s perspective as well (whether you agree with it or not is irrelevant).

Many of you may have heard the parable of the blind men and the elephant. Each man was led to an elephant and then asked to describe it. The first had the elephant’s trunk and described it as long and thin. The second felt it’s ear and described a fan. The third held a leg and described it as a leathery tree. The fourth had it’s tail and described a rope. And on it went with each man who had hold of different body part of the elephant.
None of these men were wrong. They were all describing the elephant.  However, they were describing different aspects of the whole from their own perspective.

I follow many pages on FB and lately I have been becoming very disillusioned and dismayed as I read the comments on some of the stories and status updates that are posted and I have to admit that I worry about the future of our world.
Many comments that I read are narrow-minded, insulting, harsh and quite judgmental. In some cases, judgments are made when none were even asked for! There is no compassion from these commenters (and some of them purport to be friends of the original poster). They see things only from their perspective and then hide behind their keyboards to spew forth their opinions.
If a news service posts a ‘good news’ or ‘fluff’ item then they are lambasted for not reporting the world issues. If they continue to post ‘heavy’ subjects, commenters jump up and down and ask for some good news to lighten the load.
Just yesterday the police service posted a fun status update about the NRL Grand Final to be played that afternoon and people came out of the woodwork condemning them for wasting time and effort to have some fun when they should be out catching criminals!! I mean seriously???
It appears that behind every keyboard is an expert on something. (Or a person that knows how to use a keyboard and thinks they are an expert).
These experts only see in black or white and have no concept of the many shades of grey that lie between those two extremes.
They fight for their right to tell others that it is ‘their way or the highway’ and they ‘shoot down’ in flames anyone who dares them to look at a situation in a different way.

Unfortunately many things in life are not cut and dried. There isn’t any one right way to do everything. Every person has a different belief system that has come about by things that have occurred in their lives. No two people are 100% in agreement on everything.
There are many problems in the world and there are a multitude of ways in which to solve these problems.
I have to admit that I am scared that so many people out there are pushing their opinions and agendas on others as being the only way.
What scares me even more is the lack of tolerance for anyone who dares to question them on their opinions.

Yes, we all have opinions and we are all entitled to share them (as I am doing now) but I think it’s about time that people learned to respect others and realise that everyone is not going to agree with what you have to say and learn to engage in respectful debate.
Who knows?
We may even learn something new about the world by doing so.

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38 thoughts on “What is the one thing that everyone has?

  1. agreed!! My friend’s mother who was very opinionated always joked, “everyone’s entitled to my opinion” At least she knew when she was going overboard! Some people just feel they must always be right. I have learned to just smile at them and keep quiet. As you said lack of tolerance for the way others might think, or live their lives is a big problem too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I very much agree with this. Sometimes, a solution might well be in the middle ground of opposing opinions. To shut your mind to possibilities is a very sad thing.

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  3. It’s a scary world when people believe that there is no possible way that they can be wrong, and refuse to even listen to the other side. This has been on my mind a lot lately, as like you, I’m starting to see this more and more. Unfortunately, the only option sometimes is for us to take the high road, understanding that nothing we say will change their perspective.

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        1. That is true. I can’t help feeling that the world is becoming so like the early days of Nazi Germany though where the majority all stayed quiet because it wasn’t their problem.

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  4. I think I shared my story about being called a maroon (moron). Funny thing, I know that I had facts about the topic, but made it clear that I was open to new thoughts and ideas I may not have considered. I have learned to click to a different page. I beat myself up enough, I don’t need someone behind a keyboard–who I don’t know, or haven’t seen in over 30 years–tell me I’m a moron for having a different opinion.

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    1. Agreed. People hind behind their keyboards and then espouse their opinions. I guarantee very few of these people would actually say the same thing to a person’s face.
      I just wish that those with opinions (yes I have them too) would realise that nothing in life is black and white.

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  5. You’ve hit the nail on the head, Suz. I just want to add that I am getting annoyed with the lack of factual knowledge that so often pervades the “opinions.” Yes, we will have many different opinions about even the simplest of subjects, but it burns me when the “opinion” is of the type that suggests “If the facts you offer don’t agree with my opinion then the facts must be wrong.” C’mon, we won’t get anywhere if we aren’t able to listen to facts, even if we end up offering other facts that contradict the ones cited. In fact. that’s what makes the world go round — or should I say forward.

    Now for an example of your point from my own experience. When I was writing “When to Forgive,” I was sure that forgiveness was always desirable. But just because I was so sure, I told myself I’d better look at the case against forgiveness. What a great exercise that was. I ended up with a whole chapter on “The Case Against Forgiveness.” I still believe that vengeance is always damaging, but there may be times when forgiveness is best not given, or at least should be postponed.

    Since then, I have tried, as you suggest, to force myself to see the other side when I “know” I’m right. Good exercise. (And I know I”m not perfect at it.)

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    1. I think that is something that takes a lot of guts to do Mona. To look at forgiveness from the other side.
      I agree that in some cases it is very difficult to forgive and sometimes not even possible however (as you said) vengeance damages more than the person you are exacting it against.

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  6. Mmmm, it’s sad but, in a way funny. Your metaphor with the blind and the elephant is right on Suz. And what each does not realize is their experience is a critical part of the elephant and a clear picture cannot be gotten without their perspective. And yet they will argue that they are right and others are wrong. I think the key to this is also a major contributor to many human follies – the sure belief that the individual has or can have a complete understanding of any situation. It is what annoys me most often with logic (don’t get me wrong I love logic but it has uts limitations). Anyone with even a passing knowlegde of mathematics knows that once a system moves out of the realm in which it was developed and has been used, that any assumtions of system behaviour is out the window. Logic does not apply for the whole picture is not known.

    As an example, I am a big fan of submarines and read a lot of true submarine stories. (as well as fiction). Many years ago, the US “lost “a nuclear submarine – it just disappeared somewhere in the North Atlantic. They were frantic both to help the crew if they were still alive, and to protect the nuclear technology and weapons that were aboard. Because of the nature of the way subs operate, the possible area of search was orders of magntude bigger than they could ever hope to search. So they did something very unusual, they brought togetjer a group of experts, each with very intimate knowledge of the submarine, but each only in a small area of expertise. (much like your blind men), ,So, one had captained the same sub previously, another was an expert in the propulsion systems and their issues and another was a torpedo specialist and another an engineer that helped to design the submarine and so on. In total they had between a half dozen and a dozen experts. They asked each expert where they thought the submarine may be located. Each expert gave an answer and the Navy took all the estimates, and averaged them together,. The result was an area where none of the experts had indicated. The Navy went to that area and found the submarine intact within a short distance of the estimate.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed your post Suz and I thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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    1. I vaguely recall the missing sub Paul but didn’t know the story of its rescue. Thanks for sharing that.
      It really does highlight the point that there is more than one way to solve a problem and not every opinion is necessarily the right one.

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  7. I have strong opinions about many things. Quite a number of people hold opposite opinions with equal strength. I don’t think anyone should be trying to change the opinions of others. I mean, that seems futile to me. I think of expressing my opinions as a way to communicate who I am and how I see the world, and I think most of us do. No one’s opinion is “right,” — that’s just silly! There have been times where a new opinion has changed my perception, and that’s why freedom of expression is so important. Otherwise, we’re not going to learn very much, talking to and reading people who think exactly like us, hm? (Not that I know anyone who holds every single opinion I do!)

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    1. I agree 100% with you Joey.
      Unfortunately I am seeing a trend of people that are forcing their opinions on others and when the others attempt to share their own opinions they are beaten down with words and sometimes name calling.
      I honestly don’t believe anyone in the world would hold the exact same opinions as another person.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You are so right, Suzi. I’ve read many comments with people stating opinions with nothing to back them up. The writer does not want to ‘hear’ what anyone else has to say or take other “opinions” into consideration, either! It’s ‘their way’ or the highway. Some are truly scary. I often pass them by, knowing it is an impossible situation. Great post! 🙂

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    1. I too realise that some discussions are an ‘impossible situation’ however the fact that we are seeing these discussions in the first place is downright scary no? It seems that there is less and less tolerance of diversity in our world today and the minorities are becoming a not-so-silent majority.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I wish there were more tolerance for diversity. It has been horrible here in the state of Missouri. Often, I have to bite my lip. Still, I remain true to my original beliefs.

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  9. This is so true! I also think that we are in the era of “sound-byte” communications where if it’s longer than what’s allowed on a tweet, people can’t be bothered. What’s really scary is that people are not as informed as they were in the past. They have a tendency to believe a Hollywood star’s opinion rather than scientists who have spent their lifetime analyzing and researching a subject as if there is some big conspiracy against all of that which we know nothing about. We seem to be in a time where “because he said so” is good enough. That’s scary for our future. It says a lot about the state of thinking to be so myopic to not let the other side speak and to try and understand from the other side. It’s exactly why I’m proud to say I am registered in the states as non-partisan. I refuse to be pegged in a hole. I want to hear what both sides have to say. Phew…did I leave any room for others to speak here?? lol 😉

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    1. I think every person has opinions that are shaped by their upbringing, beliefs, life experiences etc but so many (younger) people are jumping on the latest trendy bandwagon and running their mouths off about it with little or no life experience or facts to back their cause. Of course there are many older people who do the same thing.
      I remember once saying to someone that we will agree to disagree on something and they replied “I don’t agree to that. You’re wrong.”

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  10. Hear hear, Sue!!! Great post. and I also agree with Laura that there is so much biased media – and everyone has become or thinks they are an expert (!!!) out there it’s difficult to sift through it to find out what is really happening- and be able to look at the bigger picture as well.

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    1. I think you’ve touched on something that is so important in shaping people’s opinions – the media. Many media outlets are ‘owned’ by people with particular political leanings and this does colour their reporting. I don’t believe there is such a thing as unbiased reporting these days.

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  11. This is so true. Everyone is entitled to have an opinion, and we all have the freedom to express our opinions. But all opinions are not created equal. It would be nice if everyone took the time to do some research in order to have an informed opinion. I wrote a post a while back — I don’t know if you saw it — about the differences between opinions, facts, truth, and beliefs. What really gets me going is when someone expresses what is clearly an opinion but expresses it as if it’s a fact. That drives me nuts.

    Here’s that post I talked about, in case you wish to read it: http://mindfuldigressions.com/2014/08/01/facts-truth-opinions-theories-beliefs-mash-up/

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    1. I think you’re right that research and facts are required in order to back up an opinion (or argument) however as I mentioned in an earlier comment, sometimes information gained comes from the media and unfortunately it is a rare case indeed of unbiased reporting in this day and age.
      I have read and commented on your post. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

      Like

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