I’ve always considered myself to be a fairly opinionated person, but last year I began to question to what extent the opinions that I possessed were my own. For a really long time I was so caught up in showing everyone around me that I was socially aware and able to contribute to the discussions going around me, which were concerned with pressing social issues, I always found myself victim to regurgitating the thoughts and ideas of those around me, without coming to my own conclusions. I was too afraid to appear uneducated or to be perceived to be incorrect that I found it easier to reference someone’s else’s thoughts on a topic, opposed to formulating my own. On my quest to be aware, I found myself often avoiding to question the things I encountered, but instead fell victim to reciting what I had heard from sources across the internet. To me, this was the safer route as it prevented me from falling short or saying the wrong thing. To me, at the time, it was the perfect way to appear to have a semblance of awareness, but even though this protected me in the moment, this habit was evidently to my own detriment and prevented me from actually getting to the core of an issue and from truly comprehending what I encountered.
This is something that I’ve realised is especially easy for people to fall victim to, as in this generation, we are exposed to sites, just like this one, that has large amounts of social commentary on current events and phenomenon at our disposal. It makes it fairly easy to appear to have an understanding and get away with not coming to your own conclusions. After some careful introspective reflection, I realised that I had merely been passively accepting information and all my opinions were diluted versions of what I had previously been exposed too. I knew in that moment I had to make some changes.
I realised that my mediocre opinion forming was not enough and that being socially aware was more than just merely being able to cite a plethora of articles and repeat the opinions of others that I stumbled upon from a text post on Tumblr. Though taking advantage of these resources around you is critical, forming your opinions is more than just reading and reciting. It’s frivolous to rush to absorb information to appear to be informed. What IS critical is to question the things you’ve encountered and to use the resources you have at your disposal to formulate a view of your own. It’s okay to feel a little trepidation when it comes to verbalising what you think, and it’s okay to allow others to influence what you think, but it’s important to ensure that this is not to the detriment of your own thought process.
The great thing about opinions is that they’re not concrete and an opinion you have today may change and evolve over time into something completely different. This is a phenomenon that I’ve witnessed in my own life, as a lot of close minded world views I have harboured previously have taken a complete 360 and have become more accepting over time. So breathe, you don’t have to have it all figured out all at once!
Life is a learning experience, you don’t have to understand and figure everything out right this second, but it’s important that you step out of your comfort zone and learn to figure things out on your own.