If we all had the same opinion then the world would be a very boring place –

Sounds like repeating the obvious but I have been thinking, recently, about what this really means.

There have been a number of occasions in the past few months where I have nodded in dumb agreement because I have not dared to say –

No, actually, I don’t agree with that

Or even

No thank you, that film’s not really for me.

This has been slightly worrying. I’d kind of assumed that, by this point, I’d know – and feel confident in articulating – where I stood.

We were in a bar last night talking about individuality versus conformity and it made me realise that there is a tension and a complexity that I might have underestimated. That conformity is driven by the very human desires for acceptance and reassurance – and yet it is our differences and individuality which make us stand out.

If we do not say what we really think, then it is impossible for other people to work out who we are; and, if we are constantly conforming, the same challenge becomes true for us.

This is why I have, at times, felt a little lost.

Conformity is precarious and unreliable because the standards are ever-shifting and it is easy, therefore, to feel chameleon-like as you bend to fit in.

So I have been thinking about how you hold onto yourself without bowing to that pressure. How you develop the courage to disagree and to value your opinion in the same way as you might value someone else’s. How you work out what that opinion might be which is, in itself, no mean feat*…

I suppose the first step is tuning into the times where what you say grates with what you are feeling; and the next, unpicking what the fear is behind speaking –

And then remembering that it is these differences which make the world far more interesting and are part of how we challenge what we think.

*This article really fascinated me last week. It’s about how we form opinions and adds a whole other dimension to this debate.

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5 responses to “If we all had the same opinion then the world would be a very boring place –

  1. I disagree. Completely. Okay, I don’t, but I felt compelled to not conform to your point of view. 😉

    I love the idea of having firmly held beliefs, of having something to believe in so hard that the belief is unshakable. Imagine my frustration then when I almost always find myself having to readjust everything, constantly. I love the Descartes quote, “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.”

    That maybe refers to the flip side of what you’re talking about, but I think that staying open and considering everything can be a key to staying true and not buying into the herd mentality, whichever herd seems most appealing at any given time.

    • I don’t think this is the flipside – I think there’s a difference between knowing your opinion (and that includes knowing when it changes) and not feeling able to express what that is. I love the Descartes quote too – and I think that maybe being true to yourself is the unshakeable thing…and that means accepting and going with your opinions when they change. Does that make sense? My problem at the moment has been, possibly less in going with the herd mentality, and more in not listening to – or not trusting – myself. Yet another challenge 🙂

      (sorry in the comment replying delay. I have had a crazy week and this is the first time I have come up for air!!)

  2. I think our most fundamental human need is attachment/connection.

    I think that intimacy can be the experience of growing closer as we welcome each others differences. Though this does take something of an environment of trust to allow to happen. I think the best way to develop this environment is by listening – with some people it won’t work but with some it has in my experience.

    • That’s a really interesting point re time or the process of growing closer to another person. I hadn’t really factored it in, but I guess that this is where the discovery of differences could become something wonderful, rather than something to be feared. Maybe I have been a little black and white in my thinking, and it’s okay to take time to start exploring these areas – providing we don’t negate our voice in the first place.

      (same as above re the delay – wanted to wait for a time to properly reply!)

  3. Yes! I just wrote about this yesterday in my bravery post!!! Yes yes yes

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