This I Believe

Jim - La Conchita, California
Entered on October 9, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

What I believe – The Push & Pull

I have lived most of my life as a positive, overly optimistic believer in all things good. As a kid I was saw myself as the peacemaker, and always found ways to skirt trouble, avoid a conflict and settle down people who fought or argued with each other, including my family and friends.

As an adult, many of the challenges I brought into my life were a result of not wanting to rock the boat, or face what I considered “bad” head on. Some might say that I had a “Disney View” of life, and tried to create or maintain my own happy reality at all costs. I was a good husband, a fair and conscientious manager, and a gentle and loving father, but I worked hard to keep life “nice” for me and everyone in my circle.

Not until I was in my 40’s did I learn how valuable the act of honestly and openly dealing with conflict and the push and pull of people, life events and views was to me.

Although it is often not the easy way, I now realize that dealing with opposing views on an issue can allow for all sides to see it more clearly. A push from one perspective can give equal strength for the opposing perspective. For the first time, I feel it is healthy to argue with my life partner, to pull out all of the fears and hurts that I use to quickly sweep under my heavy carpet..a carpet that became a smothering burden in my previous marriage.

Now, when a political or personal issue comes up that draws my attention and passion, I welcome the opposing perspective, believing that the push and pull over the issue will allow for the truth to come out of it, or at least give it a fair opportunity to bloom.

I still look on the bright side of life, but have come to welcome the darker or rougher side of my life and people. It feels good to include myself in the sea of all peoples. I am not the good boy, the nice guy all the time. I have shortcomings, misconceptions, and prejudices like everyone else. We are not so different, and the black and white of right and wrong, good and bad feels more like cream and coffee mixed in my morning latté.

I like being in this river with everyone else…in the push, pull and flow of life.