This I Believe

laura - encino, California
Entered on May 1, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that Interacting with someone who is living by deeply heartfelt beliefs fosters growth in others.

People who foster personal growth in others are rare gems in life. Such a person is my Aunt Lisa; she is enthusiastic, goal-oriented, energetic, and truly has a zest for life. She tackles problems with a method of “How can I do this?” instead of “Nope, I can’t do this because – “ I was taking biology and struggling with it—as well as constantly complaining that no matter what I did, I could not memorize anything. My Aunt Lisa went out of her way and found a biology coloring book as well as a beautiful set of colored pencils. She gave me the book and the pencils, and the rest was up to me. Positive thinking is her hallmark. There is always a way.

I am notorious for complaining in my family; Lisa counters that by coming up with a multitude of possibilities and gets me to think of more as well. I got a DUI and constantly called up others to give me rides to places. Eventually, at my aunt’s urging, I figured out how to handle the bus schedule —and got more exercise by doing a lot more walking.

My doctor told me recently that I have a condition that causes chronic back pain. I figured that my lot was hopeless. But my Aunt Lisa, who suffers from sciatica, told me there are ways of coping with pain—pain is not the end of the world. She recommended doing yoga, using a heating pad, taking warm baths, stretching, and taking supplements to keep my joints healthy.

With her signature smile, she gives comfort to all those who cross her path, and her happiness sparks joy in others. People who know her, love her. She truly makes me want to be a better person and to continue that growth as a life-long process. I try harder at school. Following her example, I have been able to look at problems differently.

I say “continue that growth” because I am tempted to say, “I did my part. That’s enough.” But Lisa’s way is to see personal growth as a work in progress, embracing a mellow “go with the flow” attitude that she so perfectly exemplifies. Nothing seems to be able to get her really upset. She will be the diplomat in the middle of a family meltdown, but eventually if people are entrenched in their conflict, unwilling to budge an inch, she’ll be able to move on—to say “whatever” and go on with her day. Then, the battling sides are disconcerted—her attitude makes it clear that dispute like this isn’t life or death. Why put too much energy into a situation which does not really matter? Why not be like Lisa who has her priorities in order?

I believe that people like my Aunt are few and far between—and if you know any people like her, tell them how much they are loved and cherished. I value her as a person, a teacher, and a mentor. She is irreplaceable! I believe in her, and she believes in herself—and we are both the better for it. I wonder who inspires her?