“Everyone has the right to express their opinion…”
With all the different issues our world is currently facing, it is inevitable that everyone has their own opinion. But only few has the courage to express it; Or maybe some are just afraid to voice them out. Like us, teenagers.
I conducted a simple interview with my fellow teenagers and asked them possible reasons why some of us are afraid to voice out our opinions. And here’s what we/ they say:
1. “We are afraid of criticisms.”
We all know that expression of opinion comes with criticism. It is inevitable that some teenagers are afraid of these because they tend to have vulnerable hearts. Or maybe some of us are afraid of judgment. I, myself, have tried to voice out my opinion and had regrets after doing it. After I confidently posted my thought about a certain issue, I received comments and I started to feel bashful. We all understand that some criticisms may be constructive or destructive, but regardless of how it is delivered, we can still be afraid because we’re just starting to learn how to accept it.
But let me tell you that criticisms are actually good. Some of them helps us to grow and learn something. As the saying goes, “If you’re not open to criticism, then you’re not open to truly growing as a person.”
2. “We are told to shut up.”
Truth be told, this is one of the reasons why.
Some adults view teenagers’ opinions worthless. We do understand that we are too young to think that we could actually change the world. But we know all too well that being young doesn’t restrict us to have an opinion about a certain issue. We also have the right to be heard and our opinions to be valued.
Some teenagers don’t share their thoughts because of the fear of rejection. We are told at school to never be afraid of voicing out our opinions, but we are never warned that we could be bashed by doing so. They degrade us, teenagers, thinking that we were just born yesterday, and oblivious to the “real world.” We’re belittled and told to grow up but stops us from speaking our thoughts, which is how we could grow.
To (some) adults,
We are teenagers, not “just teenagers”. Do you understand? Please don’t limit us from voicing out our opinions. Wasn’t there a time when you were like us? When you were only like us, wanting a voice too? Hoping we could freely suggest about a certain issue?
I know some of us are being careless, irresponsible, and impolite about making opinions. And I know that some adults are reading this thinking that not all are dismissive of teens. I’m not saying these just because i’m also a teenager. There are some adults who support teens, I understand, however, it goes the same for us. You cannot put all flowers on the same pot. Meaning, we are different from each other. Not all teenagers are “careless”, “irresponsible”, and “worthless.” Some of us may be insane but that doesn’t mean that teenagers that actually care like us don’t exist. We do care about these issues, especially we are the next ones to inherit the responsibilities of the future. So please, let us care.
3. “We are not confident enough.”
“All reluctance is a lack of confidence.”
Some teenagers are reluctant to speak out their opinions because they are not confident enough of what they’re saying. They are afraid to commit mistakes about what they’re stating. They aren’t very sure of their opinion. In addition, some may change their opinion after reading or knowing other’s. Because they lack confidence, they are easily confused about which side they should be. So they remain silent, instead of speaking a certain opinion then changing it afterwards.
I know that we all have our own reasons why we choose to stay silent about our opinion. But whatever it is, we should realize that everyone’s opinion matters. But always remember, that it is best to deliver them politely and start to learn accepting criticisms. Be confident and stand for what you believe and what you think is right.
We are teenagers, and we are born to stand out. But we could only stand out, if we start to voice out our thoughts and be part of something.
You have a voice, let it speak and be heard.
Don’t just zip your mouth.
Believe in yourself, and learn to speak, little by little until you can. Let’s do this.
(Thank you so much to all my fellows who’ve been part of my simple interview. You were such a great help!)