This I Believe

John - Charlotte, North Carolina
Entered on September 21, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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I am 5’9”, 125 pounds, and not sure I can bench press 100 pounds. In other words, I’m not very intimidating. In fact, I’m probably one of the least intimidating people you’ll ever see. I am a little reserved, rather intelligent, and run cross country. Not what you would call a football stud, huh?

Growing up with two sisters and going to a small private middle school with about thirty people in my grade, I guess you could say I grew up a little soft. At Trinity Episcopal, everybody was nice and friendly. Once I came to Myers Park, though, those things changed. When I got criticized or insulted harshly I would cower away without saying a word. When I heard someone talking about a friend behind his back, I would not step in and defend him. Even when a friend jokingly hit me, I would simply grin and not do anything about it. A few weeks ago at cross country practice I told a teammate, “I am going to work really hard to be successful this year.” He replied by saying, “Then you have to stand up for yourself.” That’s when I realized what I believe now. I believe in standing up for yourself and not letting anyone push you around.

The world would be a better place if people stood up for themselves. What if the colonists had not stood up to the British in the 1770’s? What would our country be like today? We would still be paying high taxes for legal documents. The United States has always stood up for itself and its allies, and because of that we are a strong and successful country. And look at the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. Without leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., who stood up for his rights and those of other black people, the U.S. would still be segregated. If every individual would take a stand on what he believes in, the world would be a more peaceful planet.

Refusing to stand up for yourself is like handing over your rights and self-respect. Stand up for what you believe in and get your voice heard, because what you think is more important than what others think. If you want a happier life and a better world, don’t be the guy who cowers away when he’s criticized. Be the guy who won’t take the criticism.