This I Believe

Brenna - Nashville, Tennessee
Entered on August 29, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that an open mind is the only true way to see the world, and yourself, in all its beauty and wonder. I believe your mind is like a house that you have built brick by brick that is held together by the mortar of your beliefs regarding who you are and what your role is in this world. Although this foundation should be strong, sometimes the pliable mortar becomes impenetrable and brittle so that no fresh views, ideas, or feelings can enter. As the builder of our house, we must always be willing to reconstruct, build an addition, and allow for new guests to move in.

When I was young, I was strong in my understanding of myself and who I was. Later I would look back and see it was a façade that had been created by reliance on my friends and the copy of their traits and thoughts. In high school, I was separated from the group that had once been my comfort zone and had, at one time, been the creators of my index of what I believed in. This is when I hit a hard and blunt realization. I had no idea who I was. In fact, I realized my figurative house was like the cookie cutter 1950’s homes on the older side of town that all looked alike and had no character. At one time they were flashy and beautiful, but now had become a faint reminder of the past and had become functionless. During this time, I began finding things out about myself that shocked me. I wasn’t sure if they were good or bad, right or wrong. These thoughts and feelings were definitely things that I would have been judged for and looked at differently. But then it came to me. How dare I judge myself? I am me with my own thoughts, beliefs, and actions and I saw that my mind had been closed by the judgments of the friend circle that I had once known. I had actually come to the point of boxing myself in because of morals that I had once upheld, and not because of personal conviction but popularity. Opening my mind to my own thoughts and feelings opened my mind to a great many other things as well. I saw people as people and not a set of values, beliefs, or actions. I no longer judged based on the mass belief that it was right or wrong. I saw things in their true light and meaning, not the meaning or relevance that I assigned to it. An open mind is something that few have when you think about it, but it is something we should all strive to achieve. Only then can we say that we have drawn our own conclusions and made our own assumptions. At the end of my struggle with finding myself and who I actually was, I realized that I could paint my house any color, make it any shape, and build it in any size I wanted. As long as I kept an open mind to what was to come and how I could change, my house we seem beautiful in my eyes.