‘Conviction’: I will never accept that
by Matthew Welsh, Esq.
Conviction is the true story of Betty Anne Waters (played by Hilary Swank), a high school drop out who spent 18 years working as a single mother while putting herself through law school, tirelessly trying to beat the legal system and overturn her brother’s (Sam Rockwell) unjust murder conviction.
Well, after 18 years of one legal and personal setback after another, Betty finally gets her brother, Kenny Waters, freed from prison. Please let me repeat that: It took Betty 18 years of working towards her goal to free her brother, Kenny, from prison for a crime he did not commit! Imagine working 18 years working towards a goal while experiencing one ‘failure’ after another.
To me, this is an inspiring example of what many great spiritual teachers describe as being tough-minded and tender-hearted. Betty was committed to freeing her brother from prison no matter how long it took and no matter what obstacle she had to go through. This type of commitment requires a very tough-minded individual — someone who will remain committed to their goal no matter what.
My favorite scene in the movie is when Betty’s then husband tries to tell Betty that it is okay that her brother is in prison and she should stop wasting her time trying to free him. Betty’s then husband says to her (after Betty had spent close to 10 years trying to free her brother): “Why don’t you accept that your brother will be in prison for the rest of his life and there is nothing you can do about it?” Betty fires back with fierce determination in her voice and says: “I will never accept!”
This is often the necessary level of commitment and tough-mindedness that it takes to achieve our goals and carry out our destiny. In order to truly accomplish our life missions, we must cultivate a mindset that we must accomplish our goal and never accept anything short of that.
What drove Betty to have this type of strength and determination?
I believe it was the ability to infuse her tough-mindedness with a tender heart and the innocent love she had for her brother. Throughout the movie, we see that Betty’s desire to free her brother is pure, innocent and comes from the love that she has for her brother. Betty and Kenny have a bond of love between them that drives Betty to continue to help her brother no matter what setback presents itself.
This is very impressive to watch and helped me realize that when we infuse a tender heart into our mind, then it becomes much easier to remain committed to our goals and mission in life, especially in the face of adversity.
Watching the movie prompted me to ask myself: What is really motivating me to move forward and pursue my dreams?
If we can shift to a space of innocent love for others, ourself and our God-given missions in life, then that unadulterated love can help us develop the necessary tough-mindedness, spiritual power and personal resiliency to persevere through any challenge and carry out our life missions.
Reprinted from Matthew Welsh’s Spiritual Media Blog Newsletter. For more information, please visit Spiritual Media Blog.