This I Believe…..
I remember the nervous excitement I felt walking down the brown tiled stairs into my first grade classroom for the first time. I was proudly wearing my grey and blue plaid polyester Catholic school uniform with a starched white blouse and my new Buster Brown school shoes. Sister Agnes Rita, Sister Agnes Rita “Particular” as she called herself, did not smile easily, and as an already shy six year old, I was immediately intimidated. My intimidation led to a wet uniform when I was too afraid to raise my hand to use the bathroom.
As the years of grade school progressed I learned to muster up the courage to raise my hand for the bathroom or maybe I just learned how to hold the urge until lunch time. Either way I remained timid, thinking about what I wanted to say but never having the courage to say it. In high school my dad frequently warned me not to follow the “herd instinct”, but again I lacked the confidence to speak up.
Somewhere from the time when I entered college to now I have become confident and secure in myself and in what I believe. A transformation occurred, maybe it was just a matter of time and experience, or maybe my father’s opinionated gene, a part of my own genetic code, was finally expressed.
My, relatively new, willingness to share my opinion recently resulted in a painful fight with my younger sister. Over the course of the weekend I lectured my sister about her personal life, sharing my unwanted opinion with my educated, talented adult sister.
Immediately after returning to Seattle I confessed my poor behavior to a friend. My friend shared some advice she had recently read in an article by Sally Kempton in the magazine, Yoga Journal; before speaking think these three things: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? (Kempton, S. (2006). Me talk pretty. Yoga Journal, 195, 57-62). Today, 25 yrs after being afraid to ask to use the bathroom I do not hesitate to share my opinions, thoughts, ideas, or feelings. I enjoy discussing politics, religion, and current events, but I believe the above three questions provide a good guide before my thoughts become words.
I believe it is important to be confident in my opinions, philosophies, and values, but, also, to know when to share and when to listen; to remain flexible, willing, and open to learn from other’s opinions and ways of doing things; to think before speaking and give advice when asked. I believe, like with most things in life, moderation is good, both not speaking up and not shutting up have the potential to be hurtful. I believe if I ask myself before speaking if my words are true, necessary and kind then I can potentially contribute to a conversation otherwise there is a lot to be learned from listening.
This I believe…………
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.