Do you love other people’s strongly worded opinions that are the opposite of your opinions?
People have a wide spectrum of reactions to other people’s opinions.
Some people are completely immune to the ideas of others. They could care less about what other people think, whether in general, about the world, about politics or even about them. Live and let live, they declare!
And some people are majorly, deeply, intensely offended or hurt by other people’s differing opinions.
No matter how reactive you are to other people’s opinions, this article is for you.
Keep in mind that we might not all react with the same intensity in every situation, either.
You might be more annoyed by differences in professional opinions or political views or in how the dishes should be put in the dishwasher.
In many cases, I find people are less open to…or more sensitive to…opinions when:
- The opinion challenges their view of themselves.
- The opinion is out of alignment with their values.
- The opinion is out of alignment with their desire for how things “should” work in the world.
On the other hand, people are rarely affected by an expression of an opinion on a topic they don’t care about at all.
All opinions are arbitrary.
Your opinions about you.
Your opinions about the world.
Your opinions about how things “should” work.
Other people’s opinions are all arbitrary, too.
They are simply words that describe concepts that, yes, may influence others to adopt those opinions and act on them.
I am a life coach.
My business is literally to foster lasting, healthy change at the individual level.
And individuals collectively make up communities and societies and governments.
Everyone benefits from coaching, I believe, because coaching encourages people to be better thinkers.
Yes, that’s my opinion. And it’s also my opinion that good thinkers encourage healthy dialog in their communities.
So I present to you one of my famous reframes.
You can think of all opinions as observations. The words of the opinion are describing how that person believes and wishes the world would work.
Even more powerfully, you can decide everyone’s opinions – including yours! – are invitations.
Invitations to be curious and connect and understand.
Because open, receptive minds are open to influence, not resistant, protective, defensive minds.
When presented with an opinion you don’t like, consider asking yourself these questions:
- Why do I think this person thinks this way?
- How does this opinion serve them and their communities?
- When did I first identify that I disagree with this opinion?
- How did I learn the opinion that I hold?
- What is the feeling that comes up for me when I hear the other person’s opinion?
- What truth or truths would we agree on?
It can be challenging to be triggered by another person’s opinion and turn it into an invitation for self-discovery.
And yet there is so much we can learn by how we react to other people.
The next time you’re irritated, annoyed, hurt, or angry by someone’s opinion…
…take their observation as an invitation to get curious.
You might learn something that surprises you!
P.S. I invite you to fall in love with the “Less Stress, More Fun” podcast. Subscribe today! Each week’s episodes offer smart, fun ideas to reduce stress and boost your sense of playfulness.