I’ve always ALWAYS had strong convictions. It started at an early age when my conviction was that my sister and I should not wear matching outfits EVER (I think I was 6 yrs old) and I nearly broke my mother’s heart. There is a lesson to learn there: strong convictions should always be accompanied by tact greater than a 6 year old.
Although my convictions may not always have been for the right things or communicated in the best way I’ve always had them. When I’m decided, I’m decided. While that is one of my strengths, it has also caused me to encounter a bit of friction in my relationships. First with my mom, then with my friends in high school, and of course when you are a mother, each of my well researched convictions seemed to be a breeding ground for arguments to spring to life.
Here’s the thing that I’ve never understood (but I’m starting to): Why would the fact that I have a strong conviction about something be intimidating to someone else? Obviously, If I am communicating my conviction in a way that is disrespectful or saying something overly negative or insulting about the other side of the debate, I can see where that would be hurtful, but what if I’m not. What if I’m just saying: “For me, at this time, with the information I have THIS is what I have decided to do, and I think it is the best decision for me.”
I know that when someone else does that, I perk up. I look at what they are doing. If they have researched something, thought long and hard about it and are willing to take a stand and decide something that, most times, is difficult to decide, it makes me think – “Should I be doing that too?”
However, I think where many people (including myself from time to time) get in trouble is that we usually have NO IDEA all the personal details that are behind that particular decision. We will probably 100% of the time judge their decision with only half of the information.
Unless someone is your close friend and you feel comfortable asking EVERY single inappropriate and personal question there is, you don’t know what someone’s bank account looks like, or how they grew up, or what experiences they’ve had in their life, or what their specific religious beliefs are, or their medical history.
And yet, because someone else is taking a stand, and having a convictions we all immediately feel unstable and start evaluating our own lives, wondering if somehow we are missing out on this great thing because we don’t have that conviction. Or maybe we do have a conviction on the subject, but it’s the opposite one, so we start doubting our own decision or we feel regret over a past decision because we didn’t have the same information that this strongly convicted and informed individual has.
Anyone with a strong conviction who is willing to take counter cultural action on that conviction will intimidate others. It’s just a fact. I hope that as we continue to progress as a society we will become more aware that everyone is different and their strongly held conviction may be just as valid based on their personal details and your completely opposite strongly held conviction based on your completely different personal details are. But for now, in the environment that we live we seem to be at war…over personal decisions.
Now don’t go hearing things I’m not saying – I do believe in absolute truth and an absolute standard for some things – but that list is pretty small and can be found in one book if you know what I mean. I’m talking about ALL the things we go to war over on facebook every day. Things that if you are completely honest – are nobody’s business but you and your spouse and your kids. There’s nothing wrong with sharing an article that is informative, in case others in your season of life may want to do their own research – there is everything wrong with sharing an article that insults, bashes, and is brattier than a 6 year old who doesn’t want to match with her sister and then tagging someone who doesn’t believe the same way you do with the comment “How can you still believe xxxxxx after reading this!?”
It’s a shame because I feel like at this rate, and in this environment, only the strong will survive. But on the other hand, sometimes opposition makes you stronger.
My advice to all you with strong convictions, all of you who has taken stock of your life, work environment, family, health and any other important aspect, done research, gotten council and made a strong decision: STAY STRONG, be tactful in how you communicate it, and realize that opposition is part of the decision you made to go against the grain. If you really believe that this is the best path for you – LIVE it out, be unabashedly confident in your decision and let the hateful words just wash away (as best you can), because you aren’t living this way for them. Keep YOUR life and YOUR goals and YOUR reasons at the front of your sights and get blinders because convictions are intimidating, but we NEED people with conviction.