This I Believe

Emanuel - Americus, Georgia
Entered on November 27, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Once upon a time, there was this boy who thought he had to be friends with everyone to be considered cool. He was a normal kid, with little identity in the world, and just wanted to be recognized. He did what the kids around him did to fit in. He did whatever they told him to, whether bad or good. His reputation was going up, so everybody knew who he was. As he got older, the bad things he did began to get worse. In the seventh grade, he used to talk back to his teachers to show off in front of his so-called friends. Getting suspended frequently made him known in the whole school. As he was getting older, the consequences were getting harsher. He started realizing that his reputation could only take him so far. He was pretending to be something he was not and started noticing all the friends he had gained were no longer around, while he was getting in trouble. That young boy was me.

After experiencing that, I believe your character is who you really are and what you should express more. Your reputation is only what people think of you. Be the best you can be, the way your parents raised you. You don’t have to impress anyone, just for them to notice you. If they can’t notice you being yourself, it is not meant for them to be acquainted with you in life. You are the way you are for a reason. Everyone isn’t going to like you. When you are trying to build a reputation, it’s mostly like putting on a mask, hiding your true identity. You might be being yourself for awhile, but you start to stray off. Either people are going to like you for whom you are, or you are trying to impress someone you like, but being dishonest to yourself. After awhile, the true you will come out. For example, when you are trying to get a job, managers do not look at your reputation, they look at your character. They could care less if you were the most popular in middle school. If people judged you on reputation, you would be lying to them and yourself. Your reputation will only take you so far in life, whereas your character can take you anywhere, as long as you have the right mindset.

Reputation is like a grading scale grading you from cool to lame. Your character could never get you in as much trouble as your reputation, unless you’re just a bad person. Your reputation is something you can gain and lose, but it’s nothing like respect. I’d rather be respected than be judged by reputation. As long as my respect comes from my character, I know people will respect me for who I am, and not for who I pretend to be.