Everyone’s got opinions. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and some people like to express their opinions more than others. We’re all different and we’re all humans after all.
I was chatting with someone recently about changing my hair colour, and they suddenly came out with “I really hate it when people dye their hair a bright colour like blue, I just don’t understand it and I don’t think it looks nice”. Ordinarily I would have just accepted that, but this time I couldn’t help but think: Why?
It doesn’t hurt or upset anybody, it’s not causing any problems, you don’t have to have it personally, so what difference does it make? Why do you feel the need to have such an opinion? Why is it necessary? Expressing such opinions would only cause more harm than good: you run the risk upsetting someone and I can think of no benefits whatsoever. Having blue hair might be someones childhood dream or could boost their confidence and give them the feel good factor. Who are we to say this is wrong?
Having processed this information I responded “well it doesn’t really make any difference to your life so why do you care?” To which they didn’t have an answer.
Another recent example was when one of my friends told me they had become vegan.
When I mentioned this to other people, I was met with comments like “oh no not another one” and “it’s such an unhealthy lifestyle”. I doubt that anyone I spoke to that day had done enough research on the matter to validate their opinions and so I feel these comments were also unnecessary. I couldn’t be happier for my vegan friend with their new found lifestyle. They appear to be pleased with the outcome so far and I would not want to take this away from them with any negative comments.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I always encourage people to have opinions and I think it is unhealthy not to have them, but save them for things that matter or make a difference in life, and don’t waste your energy on those that don’t. That day I decided I wanted to stand up to this kind of negativity and subsequently decided to write something about it. If it makes someone happy then they should do it!
Having said that, in other cases where I feel able, I wouldn’t necessarily feel the need to challenge someone and would instead remind myself that their opinion is out of my control and that I can only control how I react, rather than what they say. Similarly to mindfulness I like to practice listening to such information and just being aware of it and letting it pass through my mind without allowing myself to dwell on it. This approach is difficult to get the hang of first of all and you really have to train your mind to not dwell on the little things (I’m still learning myself), especially if someone’s comments irritate you, however from experience this approach really helps as an alternative to dwelling – after all, it is only an opinion and not a fact!
Since the two incidents I mentioned, I have noticed that a lot of people tend to throw around their opinions without a second thought, without stopping and asking themselves if giving them will have a negative effect on someone. In the world we live in today, we all need a little help to stay positive so these sorts of unnecessary negatives could be prevented if we all took a little more care.
So let’s all make more of an effort to be more kind and encouraging to one another, and if someone you know wants to become a blue haired vegan, then give them a high five and be pleased that they’ve decided to do something that makes them happy!
Further reading – a recommended article: