For things to change, first you need to change.

Sally - LA, California
Entered on August 28, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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“For things to change, first you need to change.”

If there was one thing I could recommend to someone new to this world, it would be this: “For things to change, first YOU must change.” As I went through some hard times in my life, I experienced many things that caused me to realize the most important lessons of my life. And changing myself first is one of the things that I learned. I believe that if I want to change things in this world, the first thing I should do is change myself first.

When I was about five years old, I moved to the foreign country Australia. I was born in Korea, so I was not used to seeing all the blond and brunette people at my new school. I also couldn’t speak English perfectly, which made everything even harder. But I still managed to ask a few girls if I could play them, but they refused- I guess they weren’t used to a clueless Asian, either. But there were also other peers who tried to help me, and made me open up more. I realized that if I broke out of my shell, and showed the ‘unfriendly’ girls what I was really like, they would accept me not just as the Asian girl, but another true friend. And just like that, the magic took place; I slowly began to become a part of the whole community, and join in the fun. I was no longer the outsider, but another important part of a new world.

Another thing that helped me realize this lesson was a sport. Synchronized Swimming is my favorite hobby, and probably one of the most significant things in my life. This sport not only helped me physically and mentally, but made me a better person inside. When I first started this sport, I disliked it very much, being put in a team with other swimmers who have been swimming for years. And because it was one of the hardest things I have done, I lost even more interest. But my amazing teammates, who mean the world to me, helped me through the beginning, the hardest part. And as I watched them try hard, and devote themselves to this sport, I slowly began to realize that it wasn’t the sport that made me dislike it- it was me. My attitude was the main obstacle that was in my way. From then I knew that if I had at least tried to have fun and improve, I would have had a much better start. So that’s when I tried my best, and became a new, hardworking athlete. Now I love this sport more than anything, and my passion is still growing everyday.

These things made me realize that I shouldn’t try to change others or other things before I change myself. At my new school, I couldn’t change the girls to accept me until I broke out of my own shell, and when I started synchronized swimming, I couldn’t enjoy the sport until I changed my attitude first. Even though at times things may become impossible to go through, I believe that I should try to have a positive attitude instead of blaming others. Sometimes in life you are the main obstacle that keeps you from going on, and you just need to fight yourself before you enter the battlefield.