This I Believe

Justin - Pine Brook, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 22, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

Where does self-esteem come from?

I always wondered how some people seem so self-confident and comfortable in their own skin. As I have gotten older, I realized I have become more self-confident but never took the time to analyze exactly how this came to be. Then I started to explore my own feelings and think about the times when I feel best about myself. My thoughts immediately turned to my last snowboarding adventure: Reaching the tip of the mountain in Stowe, Vermont, I felt an exhilarating rush of edrenaline flow into every vein of my body. Every nerve was alive with excitement as I prepared to strap into my board for the ride of a lifetime. Suspense can be the one word which defines this high-octane sport. Simply put, you have no idea what obstacles you may encounter once gravity takes over and you are suddenly on your way down the mountain like a bullet fired from a gun. Once en route down the mountain, you then see for the first time the obstacles around which you must navigate. The clear and serene blue skies are in rugged contrast to the moguls, trees and jagged rocks which frequently obstruct what could be a flawless run.

Believing that you are going to have a flawless run is the attraction to snowboarding. I imagine that my board will take me on a perfect ride, like a magic carpet through the air. I know that I must trust my instincts and not fret, because if I second-guess myself on the mountain, that is when things will surely go wrong. Although you may ride as a pack with your buddies, the mountain still challenges each person individually. The simple act of letting your worries dissipate will help ensure your own success and protect those in close proximity to you. When the chairlift slows down at the exit point, and I am strapped into my bindings with my goggles firmly in place, I allow myself to drift into a relaxed and serene state of mind. I trust my instincts and nature to combine and provide me with a thrilling and satisfying experience as I navigate my way to the base of the mountain. As I successfully descend the mountain, I realize that my confidence level is increasing with each passing trail.

It doesn’t matter which challenges we choose to face or even those that find us. It is the success we experience when we challenge ourselves that builds our confidence and provides us with self-esteem. There is an old expression which states “It doesn’t matter what hand you’re dealt, it’s how you play the hand that makes you who you are”. There is no doubt in my mind that when we successfully meet the many challenges that are part of life, this is how we develop self-confidence and become at peace with ourselves.