At age seventeen, I find myself puzzled by my peers, who often wish for more. They drown in puddles of questions and regret, then fall into holes of stress and preset expectations that were too high to begin with. Does this mean I’m perfect or that I’m better? No. I, too, every now and then find myself overwhelmed with tears that splash down my cheeks of fury, but then I remember reality…
I cannot change what happens in my life, but I know that everything happens for a reason. Furthermore, every person that steps into my life also serves a purpose. I know that every person I lock eyes with will have some effect on me forever. Whether it is someone who I strive to be or someone who I strive never to be in anyway, they are a part of a bigger plan. For that reason, I believe that I should be thankful for every person I come into contact with, because it is they—the ones who have hurt me, helped me, loved me, made me smile—who have made me a stronger person whether directly or indirectly.
Though even the most generous people may not seem deserving of it, bad things happen to good people all of the time. That is just the way it is. Hardship is not distributed among people based upon merit or punishment, it just happens. However, it is in these moments of hardship that I realize the true meaning of integrity, which in its truest form is compassion. It is in these moments that I am tested on how strong my heart is and how sympathetic I am. It is when I realize who my real friends actually are. I believe we learn more from suffering than we do from happiness. Happiness– though we don’t try to do it–is often taken for granted—we don’t count down the days for something bad to happen; but when bad things happen, we do count down the days to recovery, which ultimately gathers strength and perseverance.
I believe it is inevitable for people to hurt other people even if it is unintentional. That is not to say that all people are cold hearted or mean, but God has given us minds of our own, and for that reason, we are all different and may never come to terms with every single person on this earth. For that reason, I believe in respect; but more so, I believe in forgiveness. Even if a person does not apologize to me, I will forgive them. Grudges are immature. Again, everyone is in our lives for a reason, and for that we need to forgive them even without an apology because we must be thankful for what they taught us, even if it was in a way that made us cry.
I believe love is genuine. We can fall in and out of love with people, but we can never just stop flat out loving certain people. Love is more than just a word, it is an action. And though it is cliché, actions speak louder than words, and love is an action that is tested throughout an entire lifetime. Hate is a powerful word, but love is stronger. I believe we should express our gratitude and tell someone we love him or her—but only if we mean it—everyday
I believe it is necessary to live a life without regret in order to get through each day. We can’t change the past, but we can work to build our future. So what do we have to live for? That is up to us. We live for what we believe in, and we make our choices and actions based upon instinct, fate, and what we believe. I believe in God, and through Him, all things are possible. This…I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.