“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” – Coco Chanel
A relative of mine recently posted a “Note” on Facebook — yeah, people still use those — telling the “digital” world of friends and family that he was an Atheist.
Five centuries from now that might not cause the shock waves that it does today. But in a mostly Christian family like mine you can imagine it being a big deal.
Not saying that it was for me, because it wasn’t. I’ll love him regardless of his personal beliefs about spirituality, sexual orientation or sports team allegiance. I hope the rest of my family feels the same way, too.
But when I read his deeply philosophical soliloquy about how he came to his conclusions, I couldn’t help but think that it must have been difficult (but liberating) to write such a piece.
Then I started to think about the upside of unpopular opinions or actions and how they should be applauded, whether you agree with them or not.
Taking an unpopular stance takes courage
Everybody can get behind the story of a courageous act. Not necessarily just the “jump-out-of-a plane” or “run-on-hot-coals” type of courage, either.
“If a decision doesn’t scare you enough, its not the right one”.
Good advice to an extent, but please don’t take that literally. (There’s a rule I follow that says you can put an asterisk behind virtually any quote you come across because there’s almost always an exception).
I’m not talking about the type of unpopular stances that people take just to get a rise out of people, either. Although they take a degree of courage as well.
What I’m talking about is the type of courage that forces you to look at yourself in the mirror and be comfortable in your own skin. The type of courage that makes you vulnerable to critics, naysayers, friends or foes.
We should applaud those people because they take the first step into the darkness with a dimly lit lantern. They speak up in the awkward silence about things many of us aren’t quite ready to. They say the things that we might not have the right words for. And often, they inspire us to look inside ourselves.
Being authentic to yourself in spite of pressure to conform is worth applauding.
Remember not knowing the answer to a question and being afraid to ask for fear of looking stupid to your classmates?
Or worse, that awful feeling of not wanting to raise your hand in class when you knew the answer for fear of looking “too smart”?
Courageous is the kid who asks for help. Courageous is the kid who’s proud to show that he doesn’t need it.
Courageous is the kid that’s comfortable with being unpopular.
Cheers to that.
Thanks for reading! If you got any value from this, it would mean a lot to me if you shared it with someone else. Pay it forward. That’s how we all got here after all!
Looking to get in touch? Here’s how: