This I Believe

Mark - Warren, Ohio
Entered on May 3, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

“Weathered Belief”

I suppose, for some people, finding a somewhat positive belief to talk about isn’t that hard. For myself though, it seems as though time and experience have stripped away my more general and positive beliefs. As of this writing, I could likely recite more things I don’t believe in than things I do. I would like to say I still believe in freedom, justice, family, kindness, truth, friendship, god, sunshine, and rainbows, but this isn’t that kind of world.

From my perspective, our world is one of mind numbing mediocrity, tempered only by times of suffering and the ever elusive, fleeting moment of happiness. Both people and nature are cruel; the only permanent things I can believe in are negative. So how does one escape this dull existence believing in the warm smile of a child, puppies, or something else sugary like that? If I knew, it would make this a lot easier.

So after being an observant student of life for a number of years, I’ve come upon my only real belief that can’t be shaken. The only thing in this world that I can stand up for, that won’t change from outside influence, and that I can effect changes on when necessary: I believe in myself.

Now as overwhelmingly arrogant as that sounds, I think it’s the truth. When friends are temporary, family members turn on each other, god hides from the world, and puppies get run over by cars, the only thing I need to believe in is myself. Belief in myself allows me to carry on during the mediocrity, since I know I must drudge through it to reach my goals. It lets me weather the dark times because I know I can handle it alone. It helps me enjoy the happiness in life for what it’s worth, to take friendship at face value, and to enjoy the puppy before it grows up and chews on something expensive.

The glimpses of happiness that everyone gets from time to time aren’t to be judged quantitatively. If life were ninety percent boring or suffering, and ten percent happiness; that ten percent is still worth living for. If life didn’t work that way, we’d quickly become bored and ambivalent with the good things. For some reason, humans must compare things to understand their value. I think without suffering to compare good times to, we wouldn’t be satisfied with things that would otherwise make us happy.

In the end, I am the only thing I can depend on as a constant, the only person I can count on. The easiest way to influence my world is to effect a change in my behavior. And when I need it, I know the strength is there, because my will has been honed by the ebb and flow of good and bad experiences. This is what I believe.