In the movie The Iron Giant, Hogarth tells his robot friend, “You are who you choose to be.” I believe that this is true: each of us will become who we decide to be. No one can make my choices for me, and I can’t blame other people for the choices that I decide to make–good or bad. I may not have control over where I live, how I look, how much money I have, or who my family is, but I do have control over what person I am becoming. I am who I choose to be. I choose.
I am very grateful for the people in my life who have helped me make good choices and who have been there for me. My parents have loved and helped me, my teachers have guided and taught me, and my friends and family have supported and believed in me. But even those who have been very close to me could not make my decisions for me. Seriously, how amazing is it that I can decide who I am going to be?
But sometimes I forget that the choices I am making are actually turning me into the person I am becoming. When I am spiteful towards others without regret, I can feel myself turning into a heartless person. When I am lazy and apathetic, those are the traits that begin to define me. The more I choose these things, the more I become them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do is increased.” I believe this is true. When I constantly practice a character trait, my power to do and be that increases until I become that. If I always try to be kind, I become a kind person. If I always work at being forgiving, my ability to forgive grows until I actually am a forgiving person. I believe I can actually decide who I am.
This I believe: that I can control my own destiny as a person. No, I may not be able to be a star in the NBA, I may not be able to win the lottery or cure cancer, but, in the long run and in the life after this, these things will matter little. What will matter most is the person I become—and I have complete control over that. No matter what others may do or say, I have the first say, the last say, and the final say in the choices I make and ultimately the person I become. You are who you choose to be. So choose.