This I Believe

Catherine - Moraga, California
Entered on November 29, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in optimism, the tendency to believe that things will turn out well. However indefinite, there is comfort in optimism. It is reassuring to believe life will move forward despite all else. The credence in optimism is necessary to maintain because it is beneficial. It supports the desired theory that everything will be all right. Coupled with optimism, this theory acknowledges the human capability to overcome the trials and tribulations of life. Pessimists will undoubtedly give up on themselves, while optimists will find they will be all right.

My appreciation of optimism derives from my dad. He is my go-to man for whenever I am upset. No matter the circumstance, I receive the same answer. He explains to me, “Everything will be all right”. Always in disbelief, I would ignore his advice still certain my self-centered world would end. I did want to believe what he was saying—that my life would continually improve and I will be okay—but I could not convince myself to think so. I trust my dad, but my skeptic tendencies outweighed his optimism, and for a while I believed nothing would be all right.

At first, my belief that nothing would be all right was elementary, created by mean girls, cute boys, and divorced parents. The little optimism I did have was crushed by a devastating decision my mom made. Until I was thirteen, her constant shortcomings were made manageable by a judge. On my thirteenth birthday it was decided that I could make my own decisions involving my parents. I gave my mom an ultimatum: I asked her to choose her bad habits or me.

Her decision changed my life. Upset and confused by my mom’s choice, I consulted my dad. I hoped he would offer better advice than he had in the past. The attempt was useless, and once again, he told me “Everything will be all right”. Although it was the nth time I had heard that answer, I desperately needed to believe it this time. Without the security of my future improving, I felt alone and as though life defeated me.

It took me three years to grasp the concept of optimism. I began accepting the belief that something better could happen to me. If I took care of myself, and if I applied myself, I would be in reach of being all right. Surrounded by people who loved me, I found that they too had encountered hardships—I was not alone. Just like me, they had to believe in something bigger than themselves to work through harder times. Often, the incentive to continue was fueled by the optimistic prospect that life would become better.

I am continually comforted by optimism and whenever I lose my sense of security, I know where to look. Instead of going to my dad, I have learned to believe in myself. Optimism strives on the idea that everything will be ok: This I Believe.