This I Believe

Libbie - Whitefish, Montana
Entered on December 4, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: integrity

Money laundering, insider trading, and accepting bribes are just a few of the many dishonest acts that cloud our everyday lives. We live in a world controlled by power. Lying to get to the top is considered a good business practice. Taking credit for someone else’s work is thought to be using your resources correctly. In this great sea of lies we live in, there is still a small principle that we try to teach children. Be honest. Pure and true honesty is a rare quality to have in today’s world, yet it is so important. Being honest sculpts your character; it frames your personality, and rules your life. This I believe to be true.

I am the youngest of six children. Growing up I was always center stage in every aspect of my life. As I got into school it became harder for me to be center of attention. There were so many kids, so many personalities and all of a sudden I had so little to offer. By sixth grade I was tired of being shoved to the side. I began coming up with cool stories to impress my classmates. Things that had happened to me after school, or at recess, it didn’t matter. I thought quickly and I spoke even quicker. They were cool stories and everyone liked them except they weren’t true. My stories grew to the point of being unbelievable; often one of my friends would challenge me. I could easily come up with a reasonable elucidation of why my story was possible. I loved the new attention that I was getting at school, but I realized what I was doing was wrong and developed an uneasiness towards my behavior. Every time I would tell a story about something my stomach would get an empty sick kind of feeling, I knew what I was doing was wrong.

One night in seventh grade I attended a slumber party with my closest friends. We laughed, ate ice cream, and watched movies. In the wee hours of the morning the conversation turned to what flaws we saw in each other. It was a harmless conversation much like the pointless truth or dare games that are usually played in junior high. There I was surrounded by my best friends, the girls that I could supposedly be completely honest with. As soon as the focus turned to me, all of my friends seemed to draw a blank. My stomach loosened with a sigh of relief. Then one of the girls hesitantly spoke up. She gently explained that she saw me as a good person, but that it seemed like I tried too hard for attention. The others girls made similar comments. They discussed this for a few minutes which lead me to realize that my lying for attention was certainly noticed, but in a bad way. My head filled with thoughts and was clouded with emotions. That night I made a conscious decision to be honest, to quit telling false stories. It was hard for me to do. For many weeks after that point I found myself vying for attention. My personality for so long had been built around lies, and I had to change. After I started to tell the truth in all aspects of my life I noticed that people treated me differently. They trusted me more, and I liked that feeling.

Today I pride myself on being honest in all situations. I have learned that even though it may put me last, being honest helps me to maintain strong self worth and confidence with my peers and the adults in my life. Through my friends I was able to regain my integrity and build trust with others. Shakespeare once wrote, “This above all: to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day. Thou canst not then be false to any man…” In today’s world we are surrounded by lying, we need to rise above and be honest in all our works, this I believe.