This I Believe

Joseph - San Francisco, California
Entered on August 29, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe that I can do anything I set my mind to.

Now, that might sound like the typical boasting you’d expect from a lawyer, but I assure you, I am not a boastful person. I grew up a shy self-conscious kid, who grew into a shy depressive teenager, who then became a somewhat less shy, but still pretty self-conscious man. Even just recently, I could be found hiding behind the drinks at my own birthday party. In short, I’ve always been, to one degree or another, a very insecure person. And yet, despite my insecurities, somewhere inside myself I’ve always believed that I can do almost anything I decide to do.

I believed, without experience, while working as a picture framer, and with a totally unrelated undergraduate degree, I could be a lawyer – I’ve now been practicing for two years. I believed I could win the love of my wife, who was at the time, only a friend who had never shown any romantic interest in me whatsoever – we’ve been together for nearly seven years. And I believe that my wife and I will someday own our own home, even though it would probably take us ten years to save up even a ten percent down payment on a home in our part of California.

So, where the hell does all this self-confidence come from within such a decidedly insecure person?

I believe it comes from how I grew up. I was raised in an upper-middle class neighborhood, by college educated professionals who, once they’d divorced each other, started stable and loving relationships, which have lasted to this day. I’m a product of my upper-middle class upbringing, and I believe that I can, and almost expect to achieve the same success, and love in my life.

I believe that people are likely to achieve as much as they’ve seen was possible with their own eyes. Not everyone is so lucky to grow up knowing that money, education, and stability can be as real as the hunger in their belly. Too many children grow up in broken homes, with an under-employed parent or parents, no money, no food, and no real hope. Those children are likely as not to grow up expecting the same, or maybe only slightly better for themselves and their children, because for them, that’s what’s real; that’s what’s possible.

I believe everyone should, at some point in their lives, be given the change to experience success, love, and happiness. I believe everyone should be given the opportunity I had, to see with their own eyes that reality can be whatever they want or need it to be. I believe that I can do almost anything I set my mind to, and I believe that everyone has the right to believe themselves capable of the same.