The post Conviction by Ceddy which went up a few weeks back really got me thinking about our beliefs and what drives our daily actions. More specifically what’s stopping us from holding true those values that we claim to stand firm on.
I remember back at Sunday school the youth pastor asked us “What do you think stops us from taking steps towards ideas and beliefs that can revolutionize the world we live in, those such as Mandela for example?” and I couldn’t come up with an answer myself. A friend of mine answered “it’s all about comfort.” Now what does that mean exactly? For me it means the reason why you and I may not voice our opinions or take a public stand when it comes to controversial issues is because we are not directly involved with those issues. So in essence, we are comfortable in the sense that it isn’t directly affecting us. Let’s go back to the Mandela and MLK Jr.’s of the world, they were living in a time and a place where they felt first hand what injustice and prejudice was doing to them. It’s not to say that this is particularly wrong, it’s part of our nature, our concern for anything is automatically accelerated when we find that an issue is close to home. Think about a situation in your own life where you didn’t really feel a great deal about something happening to a stranger in your local newspaper, but if you traded that stranger with your mom or your sibling, your stand would be totally different. As humans we are moved by our connections and our emotional attachment to almost everything we come across.
Another reason I feel people don’t “go” for things they feel strongly about is the fact that the people around them don’t believe their actions or thoughts have much value. This doesn’t even have to be a human rights issue. Do you remember that one kid in class who got straight A’s and was always asking questions making the lecture go longer than everyone wanted? This kid was striving for excellence and was regarded as a “geek” and uncool. No one will take him seriously until he becomes the next Mark Zuckerberg and goes from geek to genuis. A person’s convictions can be easily influenced by their peers and how they are going to be perceived. Many people have the potential to contribute great things to society or stand up for that conviction which they truly value but are stopped because of the fear of how the public will receive them.
The main point is if we truly believe in something and we feel strongly enough about it, our closeness to the problem or how it will be received shouldn’t be a factor. The people who have made major differences in this world have done exactly that, they have stuck by those values without letting anything or anyone get in their way.