This I Believe

Margaret Anne - Birmingham, Alabama
Entered on January 27, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

People throughout my life have done things that hurt me. Whether it was purposeful or not, each time I feel my heart drop within my chest, a solid lump form in my throat, and my face turn the color of a ripe tomato. Many times the pain doesn’t leave my mind for weeks, but I am constantly reminded of the maliciously evil instigator of my pitiful situation and feel as though I should take the initiative to make known their all around unpleasant personality. But the truth is everyone sins. Everyone does things that hurt others, but that person shouldn’t be judged on any single act. I believe in second chances. I believe in searching for good in people if it isn’t originally apparent.

It was known throughout the school that Ben was the love of my life, and I was supposedly his. Well, this girl, Jessie wrecked that. After hearing the news, I walked down the hall, face to the floor, forcing myself to breathe and pushing back stubborn tears stinging my eyes. Finally I saw my best friend, and as we talked I revealed that Jessie was the meanest person ever and was simply out to ruin my life. Every time I saw Jessie after this experience, my eyes dropped as I wondered how anyone could be so cruel.

One night, I went to a party and Jessie was the only girl I knew there. It took me by surprise when she said, “hey girl,” and sat down. Initially, I wanted to stand up and leave, but I hesitated. I’d never actually talked to her, so I stayed and we had a surprisingly interesting and pleasant conversation. We actually related.

Despite our past, I discovered that when I gave Jessie a chance to prove herself to me, I enjoyed her. Such truth applies to situations encountered throughout life- from childhood to death. People are always going to push my buttons whether it’s when they call me a name or steal thousands of dollars from me. I’ve learned that I can’t judge a person from one of their actions. All people have a bad side to them, but in most instances they have an enjoyable side to them as well. There are things that I have done in my lifetime that I regret, and if someone defined my personality by that single instance I would beg them to give me a chance to show them who I really am. I now understand it is important to talk to people before I say or think anything about them, and I must accept that people mess up and make mistakes that they aren’t too proud of themselves. If I catch myself talking about a person I know nothing about, I stop and make a point to talk to them. In every case so far, I have discovered that the person I hated less than an hour ago is surprisingly nice. So I say give that terrible person a second chance and get to know them.