Why your opinion matters
Recently I've found myself in situations where I spend a lot of my time thinking to myself, What's the point? What's the point in caring? What's the point in staying up late working? What's the point in having an opinion if it just gets ignored?
After some reflection, I've come to the conclusion that all of it makes you a stronger person — even though you shouldn't find yourself in situations where you're thinking about why you should bother caring about something, it's still good to find the positive in what could be a crappy situation.
But getting yourself to the point where you can find the positives, and the will to actually bother to fight to have your opinion heard, is very tricky. I spend plenty of time just nodding and smiling and getting very dark and moody internally. So if you find yourself getting that way, just take note of these reasons as to why your opinion matters:
Because you have formed an opinion based on your lived experiences, and no one can tell you that it's wrong
Often you'll have conflicting opinions with people who lead a completely different lifestyle to what you do, and hold different beliefs based on what they've been through in their lives. They're not wrong in their opinions, and neither are you. Facts are completely different to opinions — you can only argue facts to a certain point where you may have to admit defeat (or celebrate being right), but opinions you can discuss indefinitely — you can't be wrong.
Because your opinion can have a huge impact
You may not think so, and you may think that it's easier to keep your opinion to yourself, but don't! Your opinion can influence who you vote for in elections, and that single vote could make a huge difference in your community. If you voice your opinion you're also going to start finding people who think like you, and those relationships are so rewarding. Speak up!
Because you can change your mind
Don't fret about what you've said in the past. You're allowed to change your mind about something and form a new opinion. It just shows that you're developing, and how you think about things is changing as well. Your opinion matters when it's new to you and you're still working out what you think, and it matters just as much if it's a long-held belief that you've stood by for as long as you can remember.
And finally, if someone says to you, “Yes OK — but putting your opinion aside ...” just understand that that is an absolutely absurd thing to say, and have a laugh, because you know it will make yourself feel better, and them slightly uncomfortable as they struggle to understand what you're finding so entertaining.
Make sure if you feel strongly about something, you speak up and let people know what you're thinking. I've kept my views to myself for a long time in fear of getting in trouble — whatever that means — and now that I'm getting a little bit older and secure in my own thoughts and viewpoints, I'm starting to understand that my opinion is completely justified. And so is yours!