We hold our beliefs so dear, so close to our heart. We cradle them, tenderly, like a newborn babe. And we defend them as fiercely as a mama bear, when we sense they are being threatened.
There are so many issues to advocate for: guns, abortion, education, or politics. You see, we have these rights and we must defend them. But to what extent? What happens when a right or a belief becomes an obstacle to unity, love and true freedom?
True freedom is having the right to exercise this or that, the right to say this or that, or the right to possess this or that, but choosing not to employ it because of its evidently damaging outcome. True freedom is the right to choose the third side: the side of connection.
Whenever I feel that my beliefs and my rights are starting to own my emotions and feelings – like after a social media shouting match – I take a moment to speak to myself, on behalf of my belief. It helps bring me back to the center of humanity. It goes something like this:
Dear Melinda, the Pro-Choice advocate,
I understand that you are a passionate person. God knows we need more passionate people standing in the gaps in this day and age. I understand that you value all life, in all stages, and I see the pain and grief you carry for the mothers who are not given a reproductive choice. You clearly have a heart for all people and it’s beautiful. Your advocacy is quite noble, in my opinion, and I believe humanity is grateful that you care so deeply about this human rights issue.
However, please remember that I am an issue, I am not a person. If you want to support me, then support the people who need me! Teen and young adult mentorship, sex education in schools, and parenting support, are areas that need passionate people, such as yourself, to take action and be a part of a strengthening your community, on behalf of me, the issue. If you truly want to stand for me, in reproductive rights, then help men and women make better choices from birth, better choices in adolescence, better choices throughout their life. Help people know how to make good choices!
If you treat me with the mindset of living it out your devotion to me, instead of shouting it out, the right to choose will strengthen across all issues and both men and women will be empowered. And isn’t that what you really want anyways, a generation of men and women empowered in their decision-making and critical thinking skills? Humanity is not born with this intelligence, it takes teachers and mentors to model the way.
Yes, Melinda, you are a courageous, strong-willed, and love-compelled woman. And because of that, I wonder what could happen if you lived out your beliefs in a way that impacted your community. What if the life of a Pro-Choice advocate reflected the value of choice that you hold so dear? What if instead of being known as an abortion supporter, you were known for empowering men and women to choose the outcomes of their life.
I know, its hard. We say what we believe, yet we live out what we value, and they do not always line up with each other. Do not fret, for every single person on this planet struggles with that level of authenticity. But, it is possible. There are ways to align our beliefs with our values and create a lifestyle that speaks more than words, and the opportunities to do so are endless. Let your creative mind flex and begin dreaming about what that could look like for you!
I believe in YOU!