Updated: May 20
I know most of us are scared of many things in our life about the simplest things and the most dangerous things in our life. It can be about lizards (**I know people scared as shit about them**), spiders (just like Dr. Sheldon Cooper), water and snakes (**well, here it is me**). Despite, our fear about many things, we tend to act the bravest but then end up scared to death when their worst fear comes around in the picture. I am not here to talk and give a motivational speech about how we can face our fears and overcome all the things we are scared about.
I am here to talk about another kind of scared. It is scared to share our opinion. Yes, I bet for my life that most of the people are very scared about sharing our opinions with the fear of putting their job at risk, losing your lover, alienate a friend or be disowned by your parents.
There was research done by a German Scientist, Elisabeth Noelle Neumann who performed a test called ‘The Railway Test’ which later was named as ‘The Spiral of Science’. In that test, Elisabeth told that in a 5-hour journey by train, if a person is sitting in a Chair Car Train and just to initiate the conversation starts giving racist remarks on the train which is fully booked. What will people do? Will they raise a voice and ask him or her to stop doing that because it is very offending? This was her hypothesis that despite how offending the remarks will be, the chances of people sitting around asking that person to stop with that is very less. The possible reason for that is that no matter how brave or courageous the person is, there is always the fear of speaking their opinion upfront because of the Fear of Isolation. They fear that what if they dwindle in a situation where their opinion is not much appreciated by people and they end up hating them instead.
This is very similar to the majority of people. Do we always fear that what-if our opinion is not appreciated by others? What if the things we speak end up offending some people? But my question is does it matter? Does it matter what other people are talking about you behind your back or even in front of you? Don’t you have that much balls to stand up and start a discussion about the opinions shared by them? I have been truly blessed to be around people who find it kind of interesting to participate in a conversation that has a difference of opinion and that never turns into hate.
I will ask another question. What if Gandhi would have had the same fear of expressing his opinion about the freedom of India to Britishers? Would we have been even free? What if all the freedom fighters would not have stood up for the betterment of India for freedom? Would the Britishers have dreamt of leaving India and giving the Indians the freedom that they would have deserved? No, absolutely no. I know the next thing coming up in people’s minds would be they were famous people, and only famous and influential people can stand for a right. Was Gandhi such a famous personality? No.
It defines no logic that only rich, influential, famous or maybe, immortals can voice their opinion. It's not that. All of us can speak our hearts out. This doesn’t mean that we speak whatever we think. We should have the habit of listening as well. Maybe that’s why we have 2 ears and 1 mouth so that we listen to twice the things we speak. Well, just saying it’s not a proven fact or something. But yes, we should listen to what opinions others have and not feel offended in case some other’s opinion is not as per we expected. Isn’t this that makes discussions and debates very interesting. Of course, this act will end up in a feeling that maybe we will lose that person from our life but then, is it justified to the fact that you are not telling someone to incase their opinion is not right at least according to you.
One thing that I have learned in my life till now is that not every time you are correct, not every time the opinion you have will be acceptable to the other person but at least during whatever discussion you have, you know that you learned something important and different in your life. How long will we live in our bubble and think of being away from all the drama you can face in case you express your disagreement? In the end, will you justify this one question in your life, what is the thing I believe in? Listen, people, not expressing your belief can lead to the following possible outcomes:
Your ideas might get lost in the translation
There will be some inevitable uncomfortable silences that you have to face
There might be hidden prejudices too with the other person be it in school, colleges or workplace
Answer one question to me, how many times where we scared of raising your hand in the discussion fearing what if the answer you tell is wrong and the possibility of some cowards laughing behind your back? But think did they even raise their hand in the first place? It is a very normal situation that people face in their everyday life because of all the societal pressures we always have been in that don’t involve in any kind of fights since our birth. This kind of pressure has led us to be this way, but is it about fighting every time? If we find someone’s opinion very hard to understand we discuss it with someone who doesn’t even give a fuck about it. It is because all of those opinions tend to make us frustrated that we need to let it go, just like we do in front of our parents, best friends or even colleagues at Sutta breaks. Nothing new for me though, I was just like that too. Scared as shit when it comes to telling someone his or her opinion is wrong. But then later I realized that everything has a way of telling it out. You don’t have to be rude and ruthless while telling it. You can be calm and composed and let your opinion out without offending anyone.
I have faced it many times with my most favorite roommate I ever had. We used to fight a lot about small issues like, why are you making this face and not talking to me? I mean which sensible person would fight over such petty issues but I did because that made me uncomfortable and some hideous question as to what I might have done that led to her reacting like that. I know most of us nowadays don’t even care what bond we share with our roommates. But trust me, no matter how many times I fought with her, now if I tell you she is the one whom I am closest to. She knows me inside and out and I know of no better person who can understand me as she does. Who amongst us has been in contact with a roommate you had in your life for just 10 months and stayed put with him or her even after many years? But here it is, me and her because neither I nor she was scared of voicing our opinion to each other.
But in the end, it is everybody’s life and I am no one to tell someone to just starting jumping over to face this fear. But I am being very honest, it leads to you being a better person at the end and when you are on the death bed thinking of what good things you have done in your life, you will have your answer. This doesn’t mean I am not scared. I am still scared of snakes and the likelihood of something bad happening to my parents.