Defining yourself based on your opinions can make for a tough life, because then changing your opinions (which you should probably do from time to time) becomes much more difficult to do. In his book “Excellent Advice for Living“, Kevin Kelly says:
Don’t define yourself by your opinions because then you can’t change your mind. Define yourself by your values.
It’s good advice, and it blends into something else that he said in the book:
If your opinions on one subject can be predicted from your opinions on another you may be in the grip of an ideology. When you truly think for yourself your conclusions will not be predictable.
We see this a lot in politics. If someone is against gun regulation, they likely are in favor of stronger border control and they hate electric cars. If someone is pro-choice, they’re likely supportive of gay marriage and concerned about climate change. In most cases like this, the items that fall into a particular group are unrelated to one another but are entirely predictable based on political leanings.
If you fall into one of those groups, your thought is likely “yes, but they’re only predicable in my case because they’re all the right choices“. Of course, someone on the other side has the exact same thoughts, but on completely reversed ideals.
That’s not to say that being predictable is a bad thing, but feeling like you have to fall in line is where it becomes troublesome. It’s rare, but I know some people that are against gun regulation but are doing their part to fight climate change. I know others that want to see stronger border policies, but lined up happily to get their COVID vaccine.
Every issue should be faced from a fresh perspective, not from what you “should” do. If you face issues from a perspective like “I’m a Republican, so therefore I need to be upset with Bud Light”, that’s leaning directly into the ideological issues that Kevin Kelly is referencing. It’s entirely possible to be Republican and be upset with Bud Light, but if you’re upset simply because you’re Republican and feel you have to, that’s where the problems begin.
Take some time, study the issues, and weigh the merits of each of them based on their individual content and not your other opinions.
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