Humans go through life gathering experiences and learning to form ideas and opinions to serve them in encounters later in life. You gather facts and opinions to figure them out, but those two things are undeniably different. However, as time moves forward it seems like there are attempts to blur the lines between facts and opinions.

Another saying is opinions are like butts, everyone has them and most stink. Now, just because someone has an opinion you disagree with doesn’t immediately condemn it, but the problem is the conviction in which the argument for how accurately their opinions are. Facts are concrete but opinions are more fluid.

The definition of opinion is ‘a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.’ The definition of fact is ‘a thing that is known or proved to be true.’ An opinion doesn’t have to be true but what is disconcerting is there seems to have been a big shift that opinion and fact are interchangeable.

To use scientific terms the scientific process is; ask a question, do research, construct a hypothesis, test the hypothesis, analyze the date and then share your results. Opinions are the hypothesis while facts are the conclusion that has been proven true. Now that’s not to say facts can’t change, they are not a scientific law, but there’s at least research that proves it to be true. Opinions are ideas and beliefs that can be based on some knowledge but not necessarily proven true.

What concerns me is this shift that you can stand by your opinion on questioned, that saying ‘That’s my opinion.’ means it’s infallible. Over the past week I’ve seen posts shared that say ‘Here’s the facts…’ only for the poster to be confronted and them to defend it with ‘Well that’s my opinion.’ That is a major problem because it’s the type of closed off attitude that isn’t good for anyone or society.

Now, of course I’m not saying you should accept facts without question. New information can change them and it’d be ignorant to not acknowledge there is deception, but do not put opinions on the same level as facts. Not all opinions are the same as some can be a step forward off of true information or facts, but just because ‘That’s my opinion.’ doesn’t mean you dismiss any contradictory information.

I’ve experienced it with friends, family, posts on social media and the end of the argument has been ‘Well that’s my opinion.’ You’re doing yourself a huge disservice to not challenge your thoughts and constantly seek out new information, that’s how you grow and gain more intelligence.

To shut down an argument because it’s your opinion shows a lack of confidence, not strength, because if you were right then you would be able to have it withstand other information. What that shut down really symbolizes is the path of least resistance. It’s easier to be cocooned in that and to seek out what supports that, and maybe that’s facts that proves you right, but I’ve seen it more often be a reason not to acknowledge the opposite side.

In an age where daily it becomes easier and easier to access information it seems like instead more and more seek to find their sweet spot and stay there. I’ll admit I’ve unfollowed people on social media because of things they’ve posted, a lot of the times because I found their post vulgar and not anything based in fact. However, I still listen to other opinions and read things from opposing view points.

The last two things to keep in my mind is not to take yourself so seriously and to have a bit thicker skin. Right now it’s a sensitive and emotional time in the country so when I talk about growing thicker skin I mean in regards to not getting so worked up on things that are just opposing view points. Snowflake is a term that was thrown around plenty of times while criticized for my sensitivity as a Millennial. It isn’t pleasant to hear but it’s just someone being a troll.

Debate is healthy and just because someone has an opposite opinion doesn’t mean you should get worked up, nor should it turn vulgar. Just like no one should take themselves so seriously and use that entitlement to put them above anyone else. Things are a lot easier with those things in mind.