This I Believe

Jennifer - Suffolk, Virginia
Entered on June 21, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

There are times when I try, unsuccessfully, to be happy—which, every now and then, is a seemingly inevitable task. Sometimes I even doubt my worthiness and my purpose for living…but I know that regardless of how unimportant I may feel, I can still be affective in some way. I believe no matter how insignificant I declare myself to be, I have the power to change someone’s life. Through my struggles I realize several things. First, I should live as an example, not imitating perfection but striving for it by extending myself to others. Second, don’t ignore the little things in life. Third, changing a life isn’t something I do for someone; it’s something I help them do for themselves.

I always hope what I do is significant and that I actually make a difference. We don’t know the influence we have on others, and indeed may not ever know. Rest assured, if you have been a friend, a confidant, a lover, a parent or a sibling, you HAVE changed someone’s life, even if in a small way. A girl I knew seemed to have everything in place─ on the outside. She was depended upon by everybody, but always seemed to be having trouble herself. She doubted herself, beat her self up when she made mistakes, and cried more than she smiled.

Producing a change in someone is like adding paint to a picture already painted but never finished. I was that girl who didn’t understand the importance of self-love and self-esteem. Day by day my husband, Andre, helps me change. He prays with me and encourages me to love myself, regardless of what the world thinks. He gives me random hallmark cards or surprises me with root beer floats when I get out of class, simply because he knows it will make me smile. No matter the situation, he is always there. For me he sets the standard. If I can take five minutes out of my busy day to listen to a friend vent, encourage the woman standing behind me in Wal-mart to smile because she looks sad, or compliment a complete stranger, I could contribute by my actions and words to their canvas of life.

I often think people feel they need to accomplish change on some grand scale; however the reality is that impacting even just one individual is the start to something larger and bigger than us. The things we do every day, whether known or not, change people. By being ourselves, smiling at strangers, holding the door for the person behind you, or giving your last 50 cents to the guy named George that sits in front of McDonald’s. Whether on a grand scale or the every day minutia plaguing our minds, our very presence on this earth alters the lives of others. Change is the only constant. By continuing to live up to our own standards, we will solidify the change we seek in ourselves or in others.