This I Believe

Behroz - Hoffman estates, Illinois
Entered on November 6, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: freedom

If there is one thing I have always believed in, it is the value of my own thoughts. Whether it is about politics, society, or religion, there are always people who tend to disagree with my thoughts and actions, and some of these same people try to shut out my opinions. As ridiculous as it sounds, if my view on day-to-day issues do not coincide with that of some of my peers, I receive sarcastic remarks and dirty looks to no end.

Some of my ignorant peers belong to the social group who tend to try to pressure me into changing my beliefs so they mirror their beliefs. They speak in such a matter-of-fact tone as if the bit of information they are sharing with me was shone unto them by God. For the sake of my beliefs and my sanity, I steer far away from these people.

Protecting my beliefs is not the simplest task to endeavor, but it is a whole new ball game if I try to advocate them. The beliefs that I hold define me as a person, every word I say or action I make all coincide with my views and opinions on each issue at hand. I will sometimes sympathize with other people’s beliefs, but never outright change my beliefs to satisfy someone else.

My thoughts didn’t come to me randomly as if they were as an epiphany; my belief in my own thoughts was molded into me through years of conflict and struggle. All in all, there is one significant event in my life that set the standard for my beliefs.

Back in 2001, after the horrid 9/11 attacks, discussing the “War on Terror” came to be difficult as I am a Muslim. Thanks to the media, everyone seemed to hold the same ignorant belief that all Muslims were terrorists.

I tried to butt out of all discussion that dealt with the 9/11 attacks or Muslims in general. Trying to explain that Islam was a peaceful religion brought me more unwanted attention; it came to the point that I lied about the fact that I am Muslim just to avoid harmful remarks. This much pressure for a sixth grader was unrelenting, I then took my first step towards maturity by coming to a substantial realization.

I realized that my beliefs were solely my own, and that nobody had to agree with them and vice versa. Even though I rarely spoke out about my opinions, mainly to avoid other people’s ignorance, I began to value my own thoughts. I wasn’t afraid to have differing opinions from the rest of society, or my parents for that matter. The “go with the flow” attitude I had held on to for so long is now a shadowy memory.

It was the hurtful and sarcastic remarks that made my life feel unsettling, but it was those same remarks that continue to solidify my beliefs and standards for living my life. Whether people agree with my opinions or not, I will continue to follow and shape my thoughts to grant me the success in life that I desire, no matter what the cost.