So here is the thing. Everyone has an opinion. That is simply the most basic fact, next to death will come for everyone and the sky is blue on a clear day. No one can argue with those facts. Well, there is always a smartass to argue with that but let’s move on.

So, the problem with opinions, is that people think all opinions are valid and that they have the same weight and gravitas. Well, let’s examine that.

Should everyone have an opinion? ABSOLUTELY.

Should everyone voice and share their opinion? ABSOLUTELY. It’s the 21st century. Censorship shouldn’t exist but sadly it does. Moreover, freedom of speech coupled with social media, has created a space where everyone could and should voice their opinion. I am a proponent of freedom of speech and an avid defender of that inalienable right. So, share your opinions, people!

Do all opinions have the same value? FUCK NO! And therein lies my problem.

People walk around as if their opinion has the highest value or that people should listen to them and even adopt their point of view. The arrogance…People are equal in terms of rights but not every damn opinion is equal, ok? It isn’t. Bear with me, please.

Now, I understand how hypocritical it might sound coming from a dude who ends every text with “just one man’s opinion”. I get it. However, I have never said my opinions are the best. I never said my opinions describe the only way of doing things. NEVER. I am not that arrogant, thankfully. Anyone can go back and read all my texts to try and find an instance where I brag about my opinions. I simply share my opinions and people are free to do whatever they want with them. I do offer advice on some topics and even then, it’s advice, not a fucking order! Take my advice or don’t. That is entirely up to you. I am not saying this to dodge any responsibility. I stand by what I say, every day of the week and I will gladly defend my point of view in front of anybody.

Lastly, I am fully aware I am no guru, no master, no motivational speaker, no preacher, no prophet or any other type of shepherd. I am a writer who shares stories, my experiences and my opinions on various matters. Freedom of speech allows me to express my opinions so, I shall continue to write.

Coming back to the subject at hand, I have realized that some people demand and sometimes insist we take their opinions as gospel. Really? Calm the fuck down! Relax. No one is that important so, calm the fuck down or you’ll have a heart attack. Share your opinions. We shall listen. Well, maybe not everybody will listen but some of us might.

By the way, the value of your opinion depends on who you are, what you have been through, what you do, what your qualifications are, what your agenda is and so much more. If you take advice from anyone without remotely checking anything, then you might get awful advice or you might hear an opinion that is so awful, it might make your head spin!

Allow me to offer a few examples; I don’t need advice about handling the post-breakup pain of a relationship from someone who has been married for 20 years to the only person they have ever loved. I will go to them for marriage advice, how about that? I cannot give advice about menstrual pain to a woman or a man; I don’t have a uterus. I don’t need to hear lessons about nuclear physics from someone who has a Ph. D in French literature, ok? If you have never been to war, please keep your opinions about war to your fucking self. Can we agree that if you have never been married or been in a long-term relationship, there are some intricacies about relationships you might not understand and therefore your opinion might not be as valuable? I don’t care how many videos about parachuting you have seen, if you have never jumped out of an aircraft and used a parachute in your life, let’s say your opinion might be cute. You get what I am saying?

Now, let’s be honest, let’s be real…An oncologist deals with cancer patients every day. Although, they might have never had cancer, their opinion might be just as valid as someone fighting cancer. They are in the trenches with the patients, they went to school for a decade so they can deal with cancer and how it affects people. A marriage counselor could very well be divorced but their opinion and advice about relationships are rooted in the training and certification they went through. Their opinion cannot be dismissed. A person who adopted kids has almost as much experience as someone who gave birth and raised their children. A holder of a Ph. D in psychology, specializing in the effects of PTSD in war victims, might have some interesting opinions on war and its consequences, surely not as much as the person who dodged bullets and heard bombs for years. A person who specializes in training CEOs in the arts of management, has a better idea on how to run a company than a dude who watched hours of YouTube footage. This list could go on for hours. I am sure you understand what I mean.

I always advocate to listen to whoever comes up to you and tries to talk to you. Personally, it took me years to develop and acquire the patience to listen to others. Once again, my brother helped me with that because he never gave up on me. He kept telling me to listen more and not get agitated or defensive when people criticize me. I have done some tremendous progress but there is so much more I still need to accomplish.

Some opinions are awesome. They might come from the most unexpected person and they might help you tremendously. It has happened to me and I am so thankful to those who took the time to talk to me. However, some other opinions are simply an insult to human intelligence and an affront to the senses. It is sad but they exist. Not every opinion is equal. That’s just it.

Please be careful who you take advice from. It’s tricky. Many people have found a place in this “advice-giving” share of the “personal improvement” market. People need guides. People need to be heard and we crave to be understood. However, there are always some rapacious individuals who highjack people’s need for help, and they serve them ill-advised, selfish and often wrong advice and opinion. Sadly, it happens.

Please be careful. I would say listen unless the person is spewing hateful words and plain idiotic statements. Then, once you are done listening, make up your own mind.

Just one man’s opinion.

Now smile and go on with your day!

Freeman. B


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