This I Believe

Laura - La Grange, Illinois
Entered on October 3, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: tolerance
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This I Believe

I believe in tolerance and open-mindedness. If you are open-minded and give things that maybe sound a little bit weird at first a chance, you are going to get somewhere.

When I first started high school, I was very closed-minded in the sense that I only wanted to be friends with the “popular kids”, because of course, I wanted to make a good impression and be accepted. If someone that the in-crowd considered weird started to talk to me, I would ignore them and pretend that I thought they were weird. I only wore certain types of clothes that I knew the popular kids wore. I acted as if my views on everything were the same as the views of the kids I wanted to be friends with. I was not tolerant of the students who were not popular, and did not even take a second look at their views. In my then one-track mind, the only thing that was important to me was to be accepted by certain people. I was closed-minded. I was not tolerant. I hate myself for it now.

Fortunately, I have grown up a bit. I could care less what my friends’ reputations are, how they dress, or whether their hair is frizzy or perfectly straightened. I am much more open to listen to people’s religious and political views and I take everything I hear into consideration. I think that all people are equal no matter what race, gender, age, or sexual orientation they are, and since I believe they are equal, I treat them all the same. I do not try to be like the popular people anymore. I may share a view with one of them, but it’s because I believe that myself, not because they do. I wear what I want because I like the way the outfit looks. I am tolerant of almost everyone. It took a while, but I am much happier now. When you keep an open mind, you can truly be yourself. When you keep an open mind, you make more friends. I had trouble making friends when I shut others out. This year, now that I am more tolerant of other people, I am beginning to make more friends.

Being tolerant and open-minded will get you further in life in other ways, too. People with these positive traits do better in work. If someone were to be given a new job offer in which they would have to move a few states away, a closed minded person might think ‘No way am I moving. I am staying here, and that’s final.’ An open-minded person would look into the offer and give it a try. And who knows? Maybe that job offer would bring them one step closer to being a millionaire!

I am so glad that I am tolerant and open-minded now. I believe that these traits, for many reasons, are extremely important and helpful to possess.