This I Believe

Brian - LaGrange, Illinois
Entered on October 5, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

As a child, parents raise you to be creative and imaginative. They encourage you to be an individual. But as you grow up, you make friends, and they influence you greatly, sometimes without you realizing it, and slow over time lose a bit of your own individuality as you become part the group, which is why I believe in the importance of self expression and individuality.

I think that as people make friends, they don’t seem to realize how much they let their selves become like the people they befriend. I have over the course of time seen many people I knew change their personalities to fit the situation they are in and to impress the people they are with. This really upsets me as to why anyone would pretend to be somebody they aren’t. I think people should be who they really are, and express their own individuality without worrying about whether it’s “cool” to the majority. I just wish people would stop pretending and sucking up to others and just express themselves freely. I am not, however, saying that friends should not your influence each other. Those who influence and are influenced by their friends expand self knowledge and allow the view of other peoples thoughts and ideas, and allowing for their own reevaluation of their beliefs. It’s when people don’t take what people say to mind but try to copy and be the friend they are with that aggravates me most. If people expressed themselves more, it would be easier to relate to people and not just pretend or agree to know what the other is talking about.

I once had a friend that every time got involved in a relationship would become almost an exact clone of the person and showed no self expression or opinion. When my friends and I confronted her about it she always denied it and said she didn’t change at all. We ended up not really talking to each other or hanging out anymore because I didn’t want to be around somebody I never knew if they actually meant what they said or were just making it up so I would like them. That’s why I like the friends I have so much. Everyone states their mind truthfully whether it’s a happy thought or a complete disappointment, and they aren’t afraid to let somebody know their opinion.

If people would just stop being “a part of the group” and be themselves making friends would be so much easier because you’d know what they were about right away and could see if you liked them and their opinions or not. Live your own life, don’t let somebody live it for you.