This I Believe

Alisha - Portland, Oregon
Entered on July 3, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: courage

I believe in myself. This statement has been waiting many years to pass through my lips. I know now that if I did not believe in myself it would be a loss of human capital and all of humanity would suffer. Every human, and every living creature are inextricably linked to one another, bonded by the energy of the living earth that supports our every step and puts air in every breath. Just as every living being cannot act without impacting me, my every thought and every action are felt in some way around the world. If I do not believe in myself, the ripples of my self-image may be obstructive rather than empowering to those in my wake. Just as I need every other human and living creature to live to their fullest in order to realize my potential, I have an obligation to humanity to find the potential within myself.

For many years I relied on the power of community to support me. If I expended my energy believing in and nurturing those around me, I did not have to believe in myself. During the times in my life when I believed I was of little value to anyone, my community and my education were all that I could believe in. This amounts to taking from the commons of humanity without contributing to it.

I believe in myself, because if I did not I would be a fraud. As an educator I try to communicate to my students they must be proud of their work. They must have full faith and confidence in their attempts at learning, and find value in their own contributions to the collective learning that takes place when they interact with one another. When I do not have the self-esteem and self confidence to do the same for them I present a poor example; I limit their opportunities to learn.

Young women are especially susceptible to such self deprecating beliefs. As women we are socialized to become nurturers, and to please others before ourselves. I was taught that anything else would be selfish and impolite. Gender roles, even still, value girls less than boys, and sometimes we still believe we are less valuable. If I do not believe in myself I cannot reassure girls and young women of their own value. If I cannot help others find their own internal power, I will fail to contribute to a stronger, more peaceful community. I know now that it is not selfish or impolite to have self worth and believe in myself.

When I believe in myself I can release my own internal power. I can truly experience my own potential. It is my duty to community and to all the disempowered to have faith in myself and my own abilities.