This I Believe

Brendan - Waterford, Pennsylvania
Entered on January 23, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in the celestial spark of righteousness imbedded in the soul of every human being, though it’s hidden deeper in the hearts of some people. Conscience, moral fiber, this has a lot of names; it’s what tells you to help an old lady cross the street, help someone pick up their books when they’ve dropped them, or just say something nice to someone. Hand in hand with helping others is our duty to ourselves. To take care of bodies (we do only get one) and stay away from drugs and alcohol, and by stay away I mean if you touch it once, you’re out.

I’ve written a number of essays on how, this year, I realized that compliments are free. This has a two-fold effect of cheering someone up and of making me feel better about myself. I used to be a bit of a loner, so I took it upon myself to be friendly and nice to people. Believe it or not, people tend to like you more when you’re nice to them. This is the first half of my belief; treating others well.

The second half of my belief has to do with your duty to yourself. Many people are familiar with the term “straight-edge.” This is a movement associated with the punk and alternative rock scene that upholds not drinking, not doing drugs, and abstaining from sexual activity until marriage. The second half of my belief is very closely aligned with this philosophy; however there are a few flaws, in my opinion, with the “straight-edge” scene. First is that punk and alternative rock is a horrible form of music, and the look that goes with the scene is completely asinine. I’m sure most people would disagree, but this I believe. Also, many people claim to be straight edge because it’s “cool,” but eventually their girlfriend walks in on them and a bunch of their friends snorting lines of cocaine. This is a pretty awkward way to end a relationship, and completely violates my belief if treating others and yourself well. I’ve had a few friends who have ruined themselves on drugs. One got high on acid and hugged a tree because he thought it was a bear. Sure, this is a pretty funny story to tell, but this kid isn’t going to go anywhere in life; he’s going to end up spending his welfare checks to get high again. Seeing the hurt these people can cause themselves and the people who love them has really hammered home how important it is for us to take care of our selves.

I believe in our duty to others and ourselves. To truly live by the golden rule and be kind and thoughtful to everyone. Also, we can’t ruin ourselves with a temporary thrill. I believe that the only path to a truly fulfilling life is adhering to the two parts of this philosophy.