This I Believe

Samantha - Austin, Texas
Entered on January 8, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Finding Nirvana

I believe in Nirvana. I borrow the Buddhist term and apply my own definition. Nirvana: achieving self love and personal satisfaction.

There will always be people who are smarter, stronger, faster, cleverer, more popular, healthier, and happier; but to make the most out of life, one must be able to truly appreciate oneself. I am not referring to the unconditional love that one has for family. I mean that every person must accomplish something in their lifetime that they know they can be proud of. It wouldn’t matter if every other person on the planet is sold on a person if that person isn’t sold on himself.

When I received a B as my final grade in Government, I felt ashamed. Partly because I was raised by parents who accept A’s as ideal and anything less unacceptable, but mainly because I knew that I could have done better. I didn’t try hard enough, and so I felt cheated and unsatisfied with my performance. There are those who will find a shallow happiness in contentment with their lot in life, who don’t aspire for more, and then there are those who have false, unattainable dreams that remain unfulfilled and unhappy. But even those lives can be full, because happiness is a very personal accomplishment, one that is not measured by other people’s standards.

I aspire for college because I aspire for a successful career. I have no way of predicting the future, but at this point it seems that any field I enter would not be the end, but the means to finding and justify my calling. I read and I read; current events, and I feel the humanitarian and the environmentalist stirring within me; history and science, and I feel frustrated at the inconceivable; philosophy, and I feel the universal wonder at the mystery of life. Like everybody, I am not two-dimensional, and so my path is not clear. All I know is that it is there, not guided by God, but by the miracle that is man–me.

Nothing should be more important than individual success. Not monetary or social success, but achieving personal satisfaction. Nirvana, in each man’s individual way.