This I Believe

Bryan - Indianola, Iowa
Entered on September 6, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: respect

I believe in respect.

There aren’t many people in this world who don’t want to be liked. But, no matter how hard you try, it is impossible to be liked by everyone. I realize this, and I am no different. Because of this, I don’t strive to impress other people or go out of my way in order to be liked. I simply want to live a life that is worthy of respect for who I am as a person. The greatest compliment I could ever receive from another person is knowing that I have their respect.

I didn’t have a clear notion of what respect is until I entered seventh grade. It was then that I was introduced to a science teacher who liked to keep things simple in the classroom. While many of my other teachers had an extensive list of classroom “dos and don’ts,” he had only one rule. That rule was for each student to have respect for each other and for himself. From that day on, very few students misbehaved in his class, because he set the tone that to be anything less than respectful was unacceptable. It was at that time that I began to understand the meaning and power of respect.

As I get older and continue to mature, I find myself valuing respect more and more. Many of the goals I have set in my life revolve around respect. I want to be respected by my family, my peers and my co-workers. I want to be respected as a student, a friend, a brother, a son, an employee, a neighbor, a father and all the various roles I currently hold or will in the future.

Although gaining the respect of others is important, even more vital is the respect I give myself. If I don’t respect myself, there is no way I can realistically expect others to show me respect. I strive to respect myself morally, spiritually and physically. A measuring stick I use for the choices I make in life is whether or not I will be able to respect myself after I make a particular choice. Too look in the mirror and ask the question, “do I respect myself,” can sometimes be difficult to do. However, it puts who I truly am in prospective and aides in molding myself into who I strive to be.

When I was young, I dreamt of having fame and fortune by way of being a professional athlete. I don’t believe this to be an uncommon dream for a youth; what is also not uncommon is realizing one day that such a dream is not realistically attainable. When that day came, I wanted something in my life that could drive me. I have come to believe that the something I was looking for goes deeper than fame or fortune ever could. That something, I believe, is respect.