Your opinions are different from those of your friends. You don’t want to upset them, and they easily get upset, so you keep silent.
They express their opinions freely. You listen and try hard not to be upset by them, but it disturbs you inside. It feels unfair that they can say what they want and you can’t. But you don’t know what to do about it, so you remain silent.
There’s a fundamental flaw in this model. You believe that people should be able to express their opinions freely, even if you don’t agree with them. But you silence yourself.
Your opinions are as valid (or invalid) as the other person’s. If they have the right to express themselves, you do too.
If you silence yourself you’re censoring yourself. And I’m willing to bet that you believe censorship is wrong and dangerous to civil society.
So what can you do instead?
- You can express yourself freely and probably upset lots of people, while they upset you. At least it’s out in the open but you need to have courage to keep going this way. It may end up turning into a constant stream of emotional releasing on both sides.
- You can make rules for communication so no one expresses themselves freely, to prevent people getting upset. You may feel you’re betraying yourself and censoring everyone. It feels politically correct, but over-controlling.
- You can take the path of wisdom and consciousness and explore how you can listen to others and express your personal views in ways that can be respected and heard. It will take a lot of experimentation and practice, which means mistakes and clumsiness along the way.
The third option is by far the most challenging. It’s also by far the most rewarding. And the bonus is that you’re contributing to building a more civil society.