Believe in Being Yourself
Have you ever heard someone say something that you didn’t believe in, only to find yourself tongue-tied and with sweaty palms while your mind races in all directions? You know you should say something, but instead you remain quiet, afraid to embarrass yourself, afraid of what others will think and say. You feel an ominous pulse coming from your throat, like mice are playing tag inside of your stomach. Then, when you try to sleep that night, the scene from that day plays over and over in your mind. You can’t escape it; shame and embarrassment have crawled into your bed beside you. It’s just a snippet in time, but it plays out as an eternity in your mind.
Everyday there are countless disagreements between people, but it is how you handle those disagreements that defines who you really are. For instance, if you are someone who supports President Bush, and has voted for him for the past two elections, and a friend of yours is ridiculing the president, do you stand up or sit down? If you would say you sit down, then you are no different than the person who is ridiculing him. It only shows that you hide behind your pride and ignorance. We are often not real with ourselves; we are just being the face on the mask we are wearing. In fact, nobody can even tell if we are hiding behind our masks. However, it’s our conscience that reminds us that our actions and our beliefs conflict. Let me put it this way…it is like we have our beliefs on a light switch. We turn them on only when we need them, but when we are uncomfortable with something, we just flip the switch to ‘off’. The only person that knows you aren’t being true to yourself is you. We are the only ones who can change, the only ones who can take off the mask. We must take off our masks…life is no parade. We must protect what we hold true to ourselves, and take a stand for what we believe in. We cannot afford to compromise who we are just to please someone else. Conforming to what others believe would be like throwing good things away into a well. Therefore, be self-reliant! As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.” (38) This I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.