This I Believe

Dennis - El Paso, Texas
Entered on January 24, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65

I was always taught that the only person who could take care of me, was me. My mom taught me that I could only rely on myself to get through the good times and the bad times, too. She always said that no one really cares what’s happening in my life, that the question, “How are you doing?” is only a social greeting of sorts.

I have thought about that because of two particular women in my life, an ex-fiancee and a new friend I met just a few months ago. The ex blames all of her woes and problems on just about everything and everyone, except herself, even though the evidence glaringly points towards her mistakes leading to current problems. The new friend takes responsibility for her problems, but finds more solutions to repair the mistakes and move on to the next issue. The former wants someone to take control of her life, the latter needs only herself to find her self-control. I thought I was independent; my ex-fiancee, when we were together, nearly choked the living life out of me, professionally and personally. My new friend, Sylvia, has taught me that religious faith has strong roots in helping solve problems without having to complain about them. My mom taught me to be strong in the face of disaster, never panic and own up to responisbility for my mistakes.

I’ve learned that, by example, I need to keep my self-control. It affords me the opportunity to take care of my life, and allows me to meet people from other walks of life on an even playing field. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but I learned that no one wants to hear me whine about life. People want to hear that life is good, even if, in their own lives, things may not be so great. Those words of encouragement help them sort out their problems internally and, I think, makes them much stronger. I thank the three women in my life, Mom, my ex (for what it’s worth) and my new friend for life. All three showed me that strength comes from within, and that it doesn’t really pay to be fragile in this life.