This I Believe

Elizabeth - Arlington Heights, Illinois
Entered on May 23, 2007

The world we live in is harsh. People are judgmental and cruel. Society is materialistic and shallow. For all of these reasons and more, I believe it is better to be hated for what you are rather than to be loved for what you are not.

Growing up in a wealthy suburb of Chicago, I have always felt I have high expectations to meet. All throughout middle school and even for a year or two of high school, I found myself doing everything and anything to fit in with these expectations. Whether it was begging my parents for Abercrombie clothes or walking to school so that I didn’t have to be dropped off in front of school in my huge, hideous, red and tan, with a touch of rust here and there, conversion van. There was no way I could be associated with that thing. I thought I might actually fall over and die if I was seen in it.

I am now eighteen years old and like to believe that I have seen a thing or two in my day and more importantly, learned from them. Luckily, I managed to survive middle school. High school was a whole other thing waiting for me. I like to say that high school is middle school continued, times seven. High school meant more people, higher expectations, and not to mention peer pressure. My first two years of high school were new and exciting. New people and more freedom seemed to be the best thing in the world however I was still trying to be someone I wasn’t, all just to be popular.

I thought being popular was the most important thing as so many teenagers do. Academics, religion, and family all fell to the bottom of my priority list and instead I focused on doing whatever it took to be popular. I am now a senior in high school, preparing to go away to school in the fall and although it took me a combined total of five years to realize, I no longer care what other people think of me or whether or not they like me. Some people don’t care for me because of my occasional sarcasm and others don’t even bother getting to know me but instead just go by their preconceived notions of who they think I am. In the big scheme of things I would rather have my family and a few close friends who like me for who I am than a bunch of superficial friends who don’t even know my middle name.

Middle school and high school are the hardest and most dramatic years in one’s life but I truly believe that if we could all just realize that it is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not, things could be a whole lot easier. The world is full of critics and always will be but I believe each and everyone of us needs to be our own critic and that we only need to be concerned with being true to ourselves.