This I Believe

Heather - londonderry, New Hampshire
Entered on June 15, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I Believe in Respect

It seems that respect is a word rarely used these days, and even more rarely taught to children. I believe in respecting everyone, until they give me a real reason not to. I will teach this to my daughter. She will know respect, but she will know it from a loving standpoint, not from discipline. She will not be told that she MUST respect others; she will learn that it is RIGHT to respect others.

Living in the state of New Hampshire, in a little rich town, there was little diversity growing up. It was common to hear racial slurs and jokes and stereotypes. My beliefs were tested as I heard these hateful words coming from the mouths of friends and family. As a child, it is easy to be swayed into believing these words coming from your friends and elders. I always felt a twinge in my gut when I heard these things. I knew it was wrong.

I am an obese woman. I experience a lack of respect on a regular basis. Call it prejudice, if you will. People assume that I am obese because I am lazy, stupid, eat fast food all day, and have no motivation. In reality, I am an intelligent, active, motivated woman that doesn’t live on fast food. I am the way that I was meant to be.

Having felt prejudice has solidified my personal respect for everyone. I don’t care what you look like, how intelligent you are, how much money you have, or what you can do for me. I care that you have feelings. I care that on the inside, we are all the same. I care that our differences bring different perspectives into this world. I respect you for who you are.

I believe in respect and I practice that belief. I bring my belief with me everywhere I go. Everyone deserves the same basic respect. I believe in people, no matter how many times I have been let down. I will always give the benefit of the doubt until I am proven otherwise. Yes, respect can be lost. Even in this world that we live in, a world that seems cruel, rude, and uncaring, I believe in people. I believe in respecting everyone.