This I Believe

Mallory - Addison, Alabama
Entered on December 9, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: freedom, respect

Considering Cliches

We all are actors in the production of our lives. The many different personalities and attitudes we use with different people reflect on their perception of our character, personality, and overall demeanor. It’s perfectly normal to speak and behave differently in front of different people. Most of us do this generally and without awareness out of respect for the people we come into contact with each and every day. But sometimes, changing ourselves to please people can become dangerous and life altering. I truly believe that people need to love themselves or they’ll never know who they are or what they want in life. If you don’t love yourself, it will be even harder for you to allow others to.

High school was torture for me, considering I tried to be someone I wasn’t the entire time. I never found out who I was or what I wanted to do with my life because I was always trying to change myself to fit into the conformities of what my peers considered acceptable—normal was not even an issue. I tried every sport, fixed my hair, and even dressed up almost every day to somehow progress in my high school’s caste system. But part of me—my attitude—never allowed me to be fully taken over. Every day was a battle for me, and sometimes I even dreaded waking up in the morning. This fear and constant exhaustion forced me to change my character and my attitude towards people. Being an extrovert for most of my life, this change made the opposite: closed-up, bitter, and lonely. Although they stole several special years from me, my spirit for love and life was never fully taken. My peers never understood the strength I somehow scraped up from within when I always found something clever to retort back to the drama queens that barked at my heels every day. Thank God I still had something left of me when all of that was over.

Now that I’m in college, everyday that goes by, I’m a little more quirkier, a little more easy going, a little more tolerant of things that I thought I couldn’t withstand as a teenager, and I call it maturity. I call it loving who I am and being conscious and aware of my surroundings, my capabilities, and the people that I encounter every single day. We’re all actors in this world together, and we’re all trying to make it somehow or another. What is sad, is that people will die trying to be people that they will never become. I believe that the people that really succeed in life—the people that find true happiness—are the people who come to love themselves, and in the process, come to love and respect others.