Why Is It Important to Respect the Opinions of Others?
Published December 26, 2022
It’s ironic that in a time where freedom of expression is more valued than ever, expressing a personal opinion can ignite a blood feud (figuratively and sometimes literally).
Nowadays, simply agreeing or disagreeing with a post online can earn you threats from people who don’t even know your name. In social media threads, a simple discussion can easily turn into a heated debate.
You see, this is exactly what’s wrong with the world today. In our bid to make ourselves heard, we’ve also lost the ability to listen to what other people have to say.
So why is it important to respect others’ opinions?
Because respect begets respect. It’s as simple as that. If you want people to respect your views and opinions, you need to respect theirs too.
Besides, the lack of respect for others’ opinions has always been humanity’s biggest downfall. Since ancient times, wars have been waged, and entire civilizations destroyed just because one person thinks they’re right and all others are wrong.
If we want to change this narrative, we need to start respecting other people’s opinions. We need to learn to see things from perspectives other than our own.
The Importance of Respecting Others’ Opinions
Aside from a mutual obligation to respect each other, there are many more reasons why we need to listen to what other people have to say. Here are some of them:
1. It expands your horizon.
In different cultures, a dog’s bark is heard and represented in various different ways. In the US, it’s usually represented as “woof, woof”. While Italians hear and write it as “bau, bau”. So, which of them is correct?
Well, they all are. Whether it’s “bau bau”, “arf arf”, or “au au”, it’s the same dog’s bark.
This is the importance of respecting others’ opinions. It teaches you to acknowledge that there isn’t only one version of the truth.
What might be true for you may not necessarily be the same for others. And other people’s truths may not always coincide with your beliefs. This, in turn, opens your mind and expands your horizons.
You see, refusing to acknowledge that others may also be right is like putting yourself in a box. When you only hear what you want to hear, you stop growing, and you stop learning. If everyone thinks that way, how can society progress?
2. Everyone has something to teach the other.
One of the reasons why we have differing opinions is that we all have different experiences. No two people have the same exact life experiences. Even conjoined twins experience things differently.
Because of these different life experiences, all of us can learn something from each other. But this won’t be possible if we fail to acknowledge and respect each other’s opinions.
3. Each of us is entitled to our opinions.
There’s a reason why God gave us the ability to think rationally. It’s because He wants us to form our own opinions. Therefore, we should all be entitled to express them. If we all acknowledge this basic right, then it’d be much easier to see things from other people’s perspectives.
4. It’s a self-esteem booster.
Children who are encouraged to express their opinions grow up confident and more socially adjusted. The same is true for everyone, regardless of age.
If you make someone feel that you respect their opinion and that what they think matters, it gives them courage to speak up even more. They become more confident in expressing themselves.
As a result, they won’t have to bottle up their thoughts and feelings inside of them. This, in turn, reduces their risk of developing depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
5. The world will be so much more peaceful.
This goes without saying. If we all learn to respect each other’s opinions, there will be less chaos. We’ll be able to communicate more effectively without the need for insults and profanity. In short, the world will be a lot more peaceful.
Why It’s Hard to Respect Others’ Opinions
It’s undeniable that respecting other people’s opinions is easier said than done. Sometimes it’s tough not to argue with someone whose beliefs are vastly different from yours.
You see, this is one of the main reasons why many of us often find it hard to listen to other people’s opinions. We hate to be proven wrong. That’s why we tend to take a difference in opinion as a personal attack against us.
As a natural response, we tend to get defensive and adopt a more combative stance. It’s like all logic and reason suddenly flies out the window until only resentment remains.
When this happens, we no longer care who’s right or wrong. We just want to prove that we are right to save our bruised egos, no matter what it costs.
How to Respect Others’ Opinions
Respecting others’ opinions doesn’t necessarily mean you need to agree with them. You can disagree without disrespecting their opinions. That said, here are some ways to show others that you respect their opinion:
1. Making others feel that their opinions are valid.
Instead of shutting down people when they’re trying to speak their mind, let them do so. Let them feel that their opinions are valid. It’s one of the best ways to show your regard for their opinion.
2. Acknowledge that everyone has their own truth.
As I said, the truth has many versions. Does this mean that truth is subjective? Not necessarily. It just means that we are all experiencing the same truth but seeing it from different perspectives.
As such, it’s inevitable that other people’s truth will differ from yours. Acknowledging this is the first step to accepting and respecting other people’s opinions.
3. Accept that you’re not right all the time.
Contrary to what you might think, nobody knows everything. Even the best thinkers and philosophers don’t know the answer to every question.
So if someone has a different opinion from yours, consider it as a learning opportunity. Instead of always trying to prove that you are right, accept that other people can be right too.
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About The Author
Judy Ponio is a professional writer and devoted Christian. She has a passion for writing about topics related to morality and helping the poor and homeless. She is the lead author for the Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen blog.
Correct Digital, Inc is paid by private donors to provide website digital marketing services to this non-profit organization.