Passion is useless if it’s not contagious

SaraBeth Caplin

Having an extreme amount of passion for something without giving off vibes of fanaticism is a delicate balance. It’s easy to live on top of a soapbox, and yet so hard to actually practice what you know in your heart to be true when the rest of society thinks and behaves otherwise.

I’m content with being an “old-fashioned” thinker not because of the way I was raised, but because of personal experiences that shaped my beliefs. I have a strong disgust for doing things simply because it’s what everyone else is doing. Yet in this world, having high standards can mean losing your chance of being accepted by the majority. It can even mean a lifetime of loneliness.

I’ve been called many things since I started writing for the Stater: arrogant, naïve, even a “disgrace to journalism.” There have been times when I’ve been tempted to either quit or stick to writing “safe” pieces that most people can agree with so the comments on won’t be so difficult to read. But after careful consideration, I realized that watering down my passionate beliefs for the sake of appeasing others was giving in to the status quo. If I wanted people to like me, I’d simply keep my mouth shut; however, I have committed myself to living a life of passion and fearlessness when it comes to standing up for what I believe in, so I have accepted that will often come with intense criticism.

We’ve all heard the expression that what’s right is not always popular, and what’s popular is not always right. Everyone has differing views on what is “right” and acceptable. Because of that, many of us have been taught to keep those views to ourselves so we can maintain peace with others. I strongly disagree with keeping personal convictions a secret, even if they might offend other people. I believe that it is downright necessary to face backlash for having a strong stance on something in order to know the strength of your convictions. You will never know how strong you really are until that happens.

In fact, I believe it is completely useless to have a strong belief in anything if you aren’t willing to take some heat for it. Passion should be contagious. If it isn’t, I am inclined to wonder if it even exists.

Yes, standing up in the name of passion can come with a steep price. I’ve found that it’s a great way to find out who my real friends are. It’s been a way for me to figure out who truly cares about me and who never did.

I know now that life is too short to be overly concerned with getting everyone to like you. Whether people adore you or can’t stand the very mention of you, it is better to be either of those things than lukewarm. Otherwise, life can be pretty boring.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “A man who hasn’t found a cause worth dying for isn’t fit to live.” I urge you to find yours and live it out without fear, regret or shame.

SarahBeth Caplin is a senior English major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].