This I Believe

Tyler - Norman, Oklahoma
Entered on February 7, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I have been a very self-conscience individual for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been insecure about my appearance, but my self-image was crippled in junior-high by a lack of confidence in my own beliefs and opinions. I believed that if I couldn’t prove that another person wrong in a discussion, then I must be wrong, and only losers are wrong. I hated myself, and I was changing now!

When I entered high school, I decided to stand up for myself. I soon discovered that I couldn’t find the line between expressing my thoughts and disrespect another person’s ideas. If my differed from the other’s in the least, I would tear their argument apart with insult, wit, and lies. Even if I blatantly knew that my opinion was wrong, I would defend it.

A cloud of competitive-arrogance followed me to OU. My new confidence had become a “sport” defend my opinions by crushed my “opponent’s” confidence and beliefs by using any means necessary. I even became violent at times. Fist-fights became just another way to be right. Pretty soon, being right was more important than anything to me.

I learned how to become very sociable very quickly, and soon became the class-clown. I had also learned how to use that attitude to my benefit with a “little” deception, which opened the door to manipulation. I could convince anyone to believe almost anything, but I figured that was one of benefits of standing up for yourself. alcohol to the mixture, and there was the new Tyler; the crazy, fun, “confident” guy that just might try to knock in your front teeth if he doesn’t agree with you. Life never seemed better. I thought I was a real “bad boy”.

On July 7, 2007, I picked the wrong fight with a group of guys. I was beaten up badly enough to break my jaw and two ribs. My jaw was wired completely shut for the nine weeks. I had a lot of thinking time ahead.

Laying in the x-ray machine at the hospital, I realized that this was not the best person that I could be. There was something more to life. I finally asked a very close friend how she was able to balance conviction and humility. She told me that if I was more concerned with how I was going to “impress” someone by proving them wrong, rather than using that time to learn and improve myself through their view, then my head was in the wrong place. “Because you’re never going to grow if you aren’t open to a new idea. And that is exactly why the world that we live in is not the one that we dream about”. I immediately knew what needed to change in my life.

I still hate my curly hair, and I still feel scrawny. I am no longer as confident in my personality or opinions as I was just 6 months ago, but today, I respect myself, because I know that I am not wasting my life away by trying to be always be right or popular. Little preferences often influence that way that our society judges itself. I have confidence in myself today because I know that I am above that. Today, I can stop to say, “Hey, I’m wrong! Let’s figure out why, and how to fix it!”. Someone once said that to be wrong is to be human. I believe to be wrong is to be confidence, and to search for the truth is courage.