This I Believe

Mariah - North Bennington, Vermont
Entered on January 31, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Learning to Believe

I’m not sure what I believe; it’s as simple. Or as complicated. I’ve never been to church; my mother and father have never been to church. We’ve never discussed God or what it is we believe in. Every once in a while my grandma will say something about “the Lord,” but I’ve only ever heard her mention God three, maybe four, times in my life. I don’t have a religion, I’m not even an atheist, but I believe you don’t need a religion to express your beliefs; in fact, having a religion is sort of like taking the easy way out. A religion tells you what to believe in and restricts you from forming your own opinions.

It is nice to believe in God however, and that He or She is always there for you when you are alone and need guidance. But then again it’s also nice to believe in yourself, that you are responsible for getting yourself through a difficult situation. My grandma went to church when she was younger, but during her time there, she never really learned if she believed in God or not. She believed in God because she was told to, not because she truly believed in him. So when she got married, she stopped going to church and never made her children go. Instead, on Sunday afternoons they would take my mom and her three younger sisters on a long car ride and they would just talk and be together as a family.

I believe in my family. I believe in people. I believe in the world around me. I believe that life is not to be taken for granted. Whenever I’m feeling a little depressed about some little thing, my grandma will always say “just remember there are people out there who are worse off than you are.” This makes me grateful for everything I have and the people who love me. My grandmother grew up with thirteen brothers and sisters; their father was abusive and a drunk, and he would often disappear for weeks at a time without telling anyone where he was going. Then my grandma’s mother died of cancer when my grandma was fourteen and she was left to help take care of the house and her siblings. But she pulled through and she said the thing that helped her the most was learning how to love herself and be grateful for the things she had, liked my grandpa.

People shouldn’t worry about what other people think of them. Like my grandma always says to me “in order to be happy you first have to be happy with yourself”. If you love yourself and be yourself I believe this is the key to life. I’m not saying I know all the secrets to life but I know what makes me happy and isn’t that enough? Being happy with yourself and your life. I know I can be a bit selfish, I can act like a-know-it-all, and sometimes I can just be a brat. But I also can be a good person; I’m a good listener, friend and daughter. You have to learn to understand yourself and take the good with the bad. If you can accept yourself for who you are than you’ll be much happier with the world around you.

You need to understand yourself to be able to understand what your beliefs are. You can’t base your beliefs on what others believe. I believe that all people view life differently and we all have our own ideas about the world. Coming to your beliefs takes time, and even at the end of our lives I don’t believe we’ve stopped working on our own personal philosophies. I’m still working on my beliefs and I’ll gladly keep working on them for the rest of my life.