The Courage of your Convictions

Recently, the lovely Elle Roberts sent out a gorgeous Love Letter to her amazing list of Artful Business Conference peeps (of which I’m lucky enough to be one). She was talking about the power of words – or rather, the weakness you can give yourself by undermining what you’re saying with extra, silly words added in to some of your phrases. (Read her article here)

And I couldn’t agree more. When asked to comment on my idiosyncracies, most of my nearest and dearest will probably tell you I’m a grammar Nazi (am I even allowed to say that?). I would happily walk around life red penning stuff – billboards, signwriting, shopfronts, you name it. If I wasn’t also a hater of graffiti that would probably become my full time vocation.

I replied to Elle (as her email bade me do) saying that one of my pet hates is when people give their opinion and then say something like ‘but that’s just me’ or ‘but that’s just my opinion’. To this I always release a sigh, an eye-roll and an inner (and probably often outer) bitchy resting face… grrrr. I think ‘oh please, if you’re going to give me your opinion, at least have the courage of your convictions and stand behind what you’ve just said’.

The courage of your convictions. Dear God. I’ve opened my mouth and my father came out. Thanks Dad. But seriously. I’m so into this phrase it’s not even funny. I’m all for having an opinion and maybe changing it over time or following an intelligent conversation or a life-changing event that makes truism of stuff. That’s totally cool. But if you’re going to take the time, effort, oxygen and thought to offer your opinion on something, then for goodness’ sake – OWN IT. None of this fluffing about saying ‘but whatever – my opinion doesn’t really matter, I don’t know why I said that, don’t listen to me, what would I know...’ Ugh.

I wonder if this is an Aussie thing? Tall Poppy Syndrome and all. Are we afraid of having an opinion that is wrong, that pisses people off or is just different to the people around us? I dunno. And I know I have said this before – probably more than I think – and I vow to never say it again.

I have some opinions. Some of them are uneducated ones and some are more thought-out and rounded. All of them are mine. I generally don’t take my opinions from current affair programs, online forums or people I admire – but these things do help shape them. Except for at the polling booth where I take hand signals from my husband about which box to tick. Because in my opinion they’re all as bad as each other and there are a gazillion things I’d rather spend my time thinking about or researching. But I digress.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if we all had the courage to just follow our hearts, our opinions, our passions…? Imagine if we stuck to everything we said and put our money (or at least our energy) where our mouths were.

My husband and I have had this convo countless times. It goes something like this:

Me: I think we should paint the house pink.

Him: Nah.

Me: Come on, I really want to paint it pink. It will look great!

Him: Oh maybe. I don’t really care.

Me: Great – then let’s paint the house pink… let’s just do it.

Him: Nah.

Me: But you just said you don’t really care…?

Him: I don’t.

Me: Well I do care… so if you don’t care, and I’m passionate about this, let’s just do it!

Him: Yeah that makes perfect sense, Claire, you’re right – as always. I’ll go to Bunnings now.

*Please note – this generally isn’t actually how it goes, nor do I have any inclination to actually paint my house pink, but you get the picture right?

All I’m saying is this. If you don’t care, then at least shut up in the first place. If you do care, then fight for it. Pick your battles. But throw everything you’ve got in your artillery at those battles and go down with your ship if it comes to it.

And many other clichés I can’t think of right now.