This I Believe

Nicole - West Palm Beach, Florida
Entered on October 9, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

If you live your life worrying about what people will think, you’re not really living your life. I know this lesson far too well. I have spent most of my life walking on egg shells and worrying about how people perceive me. I’ve always tried to pride myself on being an individual who didn’t care what people thought of them but deep down I did care. I wanted people think I was all there and that everything was fine for me but it wasn’t.

I’m a mess and I can admit that but I would never tell people. I’m neurotic and stressed and I’m really good at covering it up. But as the stress began to build and I didn’t relieve it, I began to snap. It started off very subtle, I would get annoyed at little things, but then it began to over whelm me. Luckily this happened towards the end of the school year so I had the summer to deal with it.

I decided I would start anew during the summer and just be myself, something I hadn’t done in a long while. I was used to being the person I thought people wanted me to be so being myself was refreshing. I made a lot of great friends and I was sure that they liked me for me. But I hadn’t done a complete one-hundred and eighty yet.

The point where I knew I had changed for the better was two weeks ago. I was at a friend’s house and I was getting frustrated so I went for a drive with my friend Emily. We drove around PGA National for a half an hour just talking about the most random things. I told her about my fears that if people actually got to know me they wouldn’t like me. As we talked and listened to a John Mayer we cried. We cried out our fears and apprehensions. We cried out our insecurities. I had finally opened up completely for the first time.

I look back now and can’t believe I didn’t open up sooner. I love the place where I’m at right now and I wouldn’t go back for anything. I truly and deeply believe that being yourself is the most important thing you can do.