This I Believe

Avanti - Champaign, Illinois
Entered on June 8, 2007

Faith. For many people the word is strongly connected with religion and God. For much of my life this has been the case and I have tried to keep up my faith via prayer and by believing that someone is there to help me get through tough times. But asides from religious faith, a person can also have faith in themselves. For most of my life I did not realize how important it is to have faith in oneself.

My belief in what faith means changed in my sophomore year but it was so subtle that I hardly noticed it. The school year started off shakily as I blundered my way through adolescence. I had just tuned fifteen and was beginning to realize what it means to be a teenager. I suddenly found that all I had held dear the year before seemed trivial and boring. The change caused me to lose confidence in myself because I felt I had lost my identity. To make matters worse, an idea that I didn’t have a creative bone in my body began to develop in my mind and I felt everything I did—cello, singing, tutoring, even my performance in school—was mediocre. In other words, I lost faith in myself and with it went my self-esteem.

Fortunately, self-pity has always made me feel shameful, and so I decided that if I wanted to get anywhere in life, I’d better smarten up and learn to appreciate myself for who I was. The first step was to learn to appreciate the new crowd I was hanging around with. People have told me before that it’s all right if old friendships break apart. After all, the world moves on. My new crowd gave me confidence and a feeling of belonging. It’s a clichéd saying, but friends really are there for you when you need them most and I found that just having different people around me helped to change my outlook, both on life and about myself. Through their encouragement I started doing new things such as wandering down campus and DDR. They made me feel good even when I felt like a fool.

I didn’t realize I had changed until I found myself becoming bolder. Suddenly I had faith in myself and I was talking to people outside of my usual social circle. Since I have always been rather shy, this was a huge leap for me and it boosted my confidence. Feeling loved by my friends allowed me to overlook qualities I lacked, such as creativity and to feel that I did have some talent, no matter how mediocre it seemed. They taught me that there will always be people who are more talented than me, but as long as I have faith in myself, I can aspire to be as accomplished as anyone.