238 thoughts on “Self-Confidence, Self-Reliance, Self-Esteem, Self-Expression

  1. I have three major passions in my life: photography, writing fiction, and reading comic books. I love the creativity of photography and writing. I also enjoy the chance to see others’ creativity in comic books. The most enriching part of these passions are the freedom to do anything you can imagine. Photography allows me to capture anything, from breathtaking landscapes to the marvels of life itself. Writing fiction allows me to create entire universes on a wim, to explore and drudge the depths of the human psyche. Reading comic books allows me the opportunity to immerse myself in some of the greatest adventures ever conceived, to follow the greatest beings we can imagine. Creativity is the most important of man’s three great gifts of intelligence. Without it we wouldn’t have the capacity to dream, to reach for ever greater heights. Inquiry lets us explore the complexities within and the cosmos without. Understanding allows us to comprehend life’s greatest cosmic phenomena all the way to the higgs-boson, the microscopic particle that gives everything mass. But creativity allows us to not only perceive the very building blocks of the universe but to expand on them. This fundamental part of us is the method to which we unravel not only the mysteries of the cosmos and ourselves but the mysteries beyond those which we can currently comprehend.

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    • Hi Alec!
      I too have a passion for photography and writing fiction! I agree with you that it is a thrill to create imaginary worlds just by using creativity, and seeing that same creativity through photographs. Not everyone realizes that every photograph holds a story. Maybe an over flowing trash bin on the streets of New York is “typical city life” to some, but a story that is yet to be captured, to a photographer. I related so much to your post, and I like knowing that someone else appreciates and loves not just the act of writing and photography, but the emotions that are embedded into it. Keep up the good work, and stick to what you’re passionate about!

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    • Hi Alec,
      To echo what Maddie said, I greatly appreciate and respect how you highlighted the root of photography and writing fiction—two activities that I am considerably passionate for, as well. There are layers of emotion that rest under all that we do and everything that surrounds us, yet only a handful of people recognize such layers. Those who do, more often than not, possess levels of creativity that may seem foreign to others. To me, creativity is not only a means of expressing one’s own feelings, but bringing out the stories of those who might be too timid—or not have the opportunity—to share them. I love how you included the universe and physics into your post; creativity and science are often viewed as polar opposites, yet they work hand-in-hand. To know that there are fellow students who share my outlook that I once thought was isolated makes me very happy.

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    • I wholeheartedly agree with you and I too have a love for writing! I love being creative in anyway possible and I feel as though without creativity we have no dreams to reach far. Glad to see we have some of the same thoughts!

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    • Incredible Alec, if you write fiction as articulate and inspirational as you simply wrote this blog post I promise you, you will go far.

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  2. Choosing what you want to do until you retire is one of the most difficult decisions someone can make. As a graduating high school Senior, I get told that I should do what I love, or love what I do. For me, doing what I love is an absolute must: work will be more enjoyable and I will be able to live a more fulfilling life.
    Taking a stroll in the woods and catching a glimpse of a bright red Scarlet Tanager fly by me gives me excitement. My heart begins to beat violently as I raise my camera, placing my eye on the viewer, and take pictures as fast I can. These kinds of moments are what I live for. Being able to take a well composed picture is the very reason why I chose to pick up photography in the first place.Photography is something that will take me to places where I could only dream of going. If I were not interested in photography, I feel like I would never get the chance to see the mere gracefulness of Mother Nature’s gorgeous architecture. There is an incredible diversity of environments across the country that gives the opportunity to me, and other photographers, to capture things that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. So far, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a few different people that have been an enormous part of my developing interest. Photography allows me to meet people different backgrounds and lifestyles, and I love that. Being able to meet new people and make new friends, while at the same time doing what I love to do, is why I love being a photographer.

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  3. I, like most children growing up, had trouble in believing in myself. I couldn’t come to comprehend what confidence even was. Whenever it was time to decide on something, I would automatically think twice and conjure up an infinite number of scenarios of where things can go wrong. I even thought that everything that I did was wrong. With the mentality that I had as a growing adolescent, my future was not going to be the brightest. However, all of that changed once I started high school. Since I attended a trade school, I was placed in the vocation of my choice. I had chosen Computer Technology and it was one of the greatest decisions of my life. Not because of the craft itself, but how my trade teacher made me the person I am today. He opened my eyes to my true potential. He taught me many things on how special I truly I am and how I was born to be a leader. One of my favorite quotes from him is, “Skills shall grant you second place, confidence is what will move you to first.” If I had to leave this world with something that he bestowed to me, it is that leaders create other leaders. To be a true leader, is to carve an immaculate road for the future generations so that they may live a life that greatly surpasses the life you live now. Continue to fight your inner demons that haunt your ability to be confident in yourself. They are the only things holding you back of a life full of prosperity and success. I believe that confidence is everything.

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  4. Being “gay” isn’t just a sexuality, it’s a culture full of labels that do not suit everyone. I know what you might be saying, “Well here’s Kevin Barger, guess we have to read another statement about the gays and how he came out”, but I’m more than just an average gay teen from the town of Taunton, Massachusetts. I don’t have “hookups” or “one-night stands”, because I am more dignified than that. I don’t “spark up” or “match”, because I am smarter than that. I don’t classify myself as “a bear”, “a twink”, or “a fem” because I am better than a label.
    I classify myself as follows.
    I am an entertainer. I like to see you enjoy what I do and though I may not be on the stage as the person you see right in front of you, I still like to see you have fun. I am a lover. I don’t want you upset with me because I indeed do care for you, even if it doesn’t seem like it. I am fun. I enjoy seeing you smile, I enjoy hearing your giggles as I rap a whole Nicki Minaj verse.
    I am Kevin. I am an all around good person with confidence in who I am as a man. I am Gay. I am proud.

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    • Kevin, This is a terrific post. I love how earnestly you teach us the limitations of labels and how you seek to define yourself in ways authentic to you. Nice!

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    • Kevin,

      This post is amazing! I love how proud you are of being gay. Being gay isn’t something to be sad of or mad of. Being gay is one thing but being proud of it is awesome. Also, I sing old nicki minaj verses all the time lol. Anyways this was a great post. I hope other people liked it as much as I did.

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    • Kevin!!!
      This is truly amazing… I don’t know if you remember but we went to the same middle school! It is so cool to see how far you have come as a human; this is a beautiful writing. I am so proud to know you and I can’t wait to see where the journey of life takes you. See you in the fall!

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    • I am happy that you are comfortable with who you are and that you love to make others happy. I feel the same, the best feeling is making someone laugh or smile.

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    • Kevin,
      I love this post! I agree one hundred percent. Everyone is always trying to label everyone whether it be their sexuality, their gender, etc. You did an amazing job writing this!

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    • Hello Kevin, I deeply enjoyed reading your post. I love how much confidence and courage you have. It is truly beautiful, I wish that other people could open up and be as confident. But sadly, this generation lacks it a lot since people are too busy worrying about what other people think , or living up to societal standards. Honestly, society is way to overrated it should not matter how you live your life, as long as you are happy. So again, I applaud you and am happy to see that there are people out there, that are not afraid to be themselves. Good luck and I hope you have a wonderful life, full of happiness and love. 🙂

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    • Kevin, I love your post so much! I too, consider myself as panromantic with a leniency to be attracted to my birth gender even though I only sorta identify with it nowadays. But I don’t define myself as pan to others right off the bat: I define myself as an artist and steampunk fan. It’s people like us who chose not to be defined by our separating labels that can make a world where everyone is happy with themselves and not need labels to separate ourselves.

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  5. During my time of living I’ve been through horrible things and dealt with losses but, I’ve learned that life is not easy. You have to struggle sometimes and it’s hard but in the end you’ll be fine. I was given this life because I am strong enough to live with it and I know that now. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve become a very strong, young woman. I went through a lot when I was young and as I got into my teenage years I realized that I have to learn to get through life happily. I learned that not everyone in your life stays with you and that you have to learn to live independently.I’ve been through a lot in the years of my life. I’ve been bullied, talked down on, hit, and lots of other things but I have learned to pick myself back up and get on the right path to be successful. You always have an option if you want to make your life better or worse ; I suggest you choose better. Everyone has there own views on how to live they’re lives. In my opinion, I want everyone to be successful. Everyone should be happy in there own skin and happy with who they are. Everyone should live life to the fullest. No one should let anyone or anything drag them down ; always stay on top. Some people bring negativity into this world that we don’t need. Always be yourself and never let people like that bring you down ; always keep your head held high and be aim to be successful in life.

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    • Hey Chyna, you are completely right; everyone should be living themselves without unnecessary obstacles in the way. 100% percent agree with you, there’s no room for inviting unneeded negativity to the table, as well as keeping faith in oneself remains very important. This is a brilliant post that highlights the importance of self-regard/respect and the understanding of control and the perseverance of an individual. The transition to getting through and adjusting to life is really that of learning and understanding the demands and obstacles.

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    • “Everyone should live life to the fullest.” There is no statement more true, I hope everyone heads that piece of advice. I wholeheartedly agree with you!

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    • Hi Chyna, l could not agree more with you. Being independent and living for yourself and your own contentment is so much more satisfying then living for the satisfaction of others. You can not live your life for anyone but you, and you put that into your own words beautifully. Life gives its hardest battles to its strongest soldiers, l relate to your post a lot.

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  6. Self love, one of the biggest lessons taught to yourself by you.

    As a little girl in elementary school I always sought out validation from my peers. I would always go above any beyond for people that weren’t doing the same for me just so I could feel important. Nobody really teaches you the value self love at such a young age, so my depiction of it was what others viewed me as. I learned from television that everyone loved the “popular girl” and for a while that’s what I aspired to be but seeing as I was overly shy that role was way out of my league.

    At the age of sixteen where most teens begin their dating life I felt like an outcast because by that time I had confined myself to the mindset that I didn’t need to seek validation from others so I became very isolated and self dependent however, I was doing it for the wrong reasons. I became distant as a defense mechanism so I wouldn’t feel like I needed anything from anyone. The downside to that was when it came time to interact with the world I was very hesitant.

    The time I broke up with my first boyfriend I was as heartbroken as a seventeen-year-old girl can be. But as I was going through my healing process began to take the time to know myself yes, I began to distant myself again but this time it was to learn how to love myself so that no matter what I can always find happiness in myself and anyone I allow into my life is in addition to my happiness not the sole purpose of it.

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    • I was the shy girl in high school who wanted others validation as well. I spent very little time loving myself. As the years went by I cared less and less about what other people thought of me. I used to want to be popular; now I am grateful for the genuine friendships I have.

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    • Natreysha,
      Your piece reminds me of advice someone always gives me. Especially your last line, “…learn how to love myself so that no matter what I can always find happiness in myself and anyone I allow into my life is in addition to my happiness not the sole purpose of it.”. This line because I always let other peoples voices and opinions get to me and the advice was the opposite. Advice this person always gives me is to be happy and think of myself before other people and not to let other people get to me too much. This person repeatedly tells me that if I don’t allow people to put me in a bad mood then I will stay happy. So I guess this person is telling me to love myself now that I think about it.

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    • Hi Natreysha,
      Self love can be very difficult for one to achieve, especially as a female. As you said, society has a heavy influence on people, especially at a young age. Whether it’s television or social media, there is a definition of beauty that is forced upon individuals. We tend to seek validation from others based on society’s standards rather than just loving ourselves. We also tend to seek validation from a significant other and believe that is where we can find happiness, but as stated in your paragraph that should only be an addition to your own happiness. The journey to self love can be very difficult and filled with rough experiences, however they teach a valuable lesson.

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    • Natreysha, You are completely right children are not taught to love themselves as they are and instead we have movies and T.V. shows that tell us from a very young age that we need to be like the “popular girl” but all this does it make us question who we really are inside and it does not teach us to love ourselves.

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    • This topic is important. social media and society in general portrays an idea of what women are supposed to look like, how we’re expected to act and what’s considered “wrong”. it’s unfortunate that we have to work so hard just to break that mentality and be ourselves.

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  7. You never know where you will make some friends. I’ll always be the first to admit in any conversation: I’m not perfect. I have anxiety and depression, and my self-confidence when it comes to making friends is very less than perfect because of that. So, when I went to a mental hospital for a two-week stay, it’s safe to say that I was scared. I didn’t want to open up when everyone went around introducing themselves. But I mustered up the strength to introduce myself, because, hell, I was going to be there for a while. And at every comment I made, from my gender at the time, to my pronouns, to even my likes and interests, the person next to me gasped. We were almost the same, both agender and both using primarily they/them pronouns, even having the same interests. We opened up to each other and became good friends. We shared music disks when we weren’t doing anything, picking each other for activities, even sharing food when either my family brought me some or they bought delivery Asian cuisine on Fridays. I even helped them pick out their new name, which they still use. It’s been a year and a half since then, and we have parted our separate ways, but we still talk. If I knew before then that making friends could be that easy, I wouldn’t have been so scared to talk about myself before. I have since changed, but one thing will stay the same: I will always be more open to talking to others than I was a year and a half ago.

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    • I’m more than ecstatic that you have decided to share this story. Not only does it give the insight of those who struggle with social anxiety and mental illness, but it also sheds light on LGBT+ topics that are never discussed as much as they should be. It’s inspiring to see that you have grown from where you were, and I hope this story helps others who may feel alone in dealing with mental illness.

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  8. I disagree wholeheartedly with the notion of “finding” oneself. Everyday holds so many opportunities to change and develop, and grow. We aren’t “finding ourselves”, we’re growing. I used to put a lot of pressure on myself and hold myself to a certain standard, and anytime I fell from that pedestal or my interests changed, I needed to “find myself”. This way of thinking was detrimental to my self esteem, it claims that I’m lost and don’t know what I’m doing, which is 100% true by the way, but that’s okay. Assuming I’m lost and don’t know where I’m going and that I need to figure it out puts this nagging voice in my head that I’m not doing good enough. With my new mindset, I’m simply growing. Growing as a person, growing as a member of society, growing internally. Very bad things happen in life, at 14 I lost one parent and a few years later I lost the other. For years I had to survive on my own and come back from trauma after trauma. I learned a lot about myself, about my resilience and my capabilities. I didn’t find myself like I once thought, I simply had a strength within myself that I didn’t know about. You won’t “find” yourself in someone or something else, all you have in fact is yourself, you are already whole, and you’re already enough. We’re all just growing and changing, life is fluid and we shouldn’t shame ourselves for our developmental process. This I believe.

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  9. As time has gone on, I realized that having a good self-esteem is important. The combination of growing up, going through puberty as a female, and constant changes in my personal life, has kept me from finding time to take care of myself. At one point in my early teens, I gained an unhealthy obsession
    with being skinny. I followed tumblr accounts that displayed images of girls with flat stomachs and
    “thigh gaps”. Tips for diets and cleanses for becoming skinny would cloud my mind. I never tried to use unhealthy weight lose fads, but I would lose myself scrolling for hours, bringing myself to tears because I didn’t look like them. Sometimes I forget that I went through that time in my life. It was sick of me to torture myself like that. I should have taken it as an inspiration to better myself but I didn’t. I avoid comparing myself to others now but it’s almost impossible not to. From time to time, I find myself back in that dark place when I truly hating myself. An overnight increase of self-love would be great. Regardless of how impossible this is, I take everyday as an opportunity for me to improve who I am. I hope to one day wake up and completely love who I am, inside and out.

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    • I think it was really brave of you to share this story, and you are right. It is nearly impossible to not compare yourself to others, especially in this day and age when social media is in our face 24/7. But I think you can achieve self-love if you truly set your mind to it, everything good takes time. And you already are so strong from what I’ve read! Improve yourself a little each day and you WILL wake up one day completely loving who you are!

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    • I respect you so much for posting this on the blog. You are so strong for telling this story. I love how you take advantage of each day and try to improve yourself; that is something I try to do as well. I think it’s truly amazing that you are trying and that you have hope. Amazing post!

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  10. Trends are the problem with todays generation; we are all obsessed with the unrealistic portrayal of how things are “supposed to be”. Through out high school, I was obsessed with body image and how people perceived me. I was constantly plagued with losing weight and having the most admirable clothes. Relying on compliments and comments from strangers in the halls distracted me from truly enjoying high school. Relishing these high school moments was ruined by the validation I constantly craved from my peers. As if acceptance wasn’t the only thing on my plate, I was extremely self-conscious with my own body image. I would never post pictures of just myself in fear of not getting “enough” likes. The constant scrolling through Instagram led me to hate summers in fear of not being skinny enough to go to the beach. I would always wear a T-shirt to avoid of judgement from not only other people, but myself. Instead of hiding from my problems and shame, I began to work-out and eat healthier. In my mind I thought if you eat good you feel good and that’s just what happened. Stemming from that, I evolved into a more independent young woman, realizing, life is more than just likes and other people’s opinions. The new outlook I had led me to be confident in what I wore, how looked and what people thought about me. Nowadays I pride myself in the motivation I have to be healthy, which keeps me confident.

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  11. I used to be a very shy girl, I thought that the things I had to say didn’t matter and had trouble expressing myself. Most of that came from being an easy target to bullies in school, my family wasn’t from America and I was a bit chubbier than the rest. That is all it took for people to find a reason to be mean. I was scared to be myself.
    Fast forward a few years, its my sophomore year of high school. I start joining clubs, and one of them was called “Freedom Writers.” It was all about activism and social justice. The more that I learned about the problems that women, members of the LBGTQ+ community, and people of different races faced in our country, I became more and more open about voicing my opinions. I wanted people to hear me and hear what I had to say about the need for feminism and equality in our country, I didn’t want to be silent any longer, no matter what bully gets in my way.
    I realized that my opinion did matter and I should always be able to express myself. Maybe, if the right person heard me talking about my beliefs and the things I am passionate about, I could make a change. Life is way to short to worry about making someone upset by expressing yourself and your beliefs. I am now the loudest person in the room and always willing to show a new point of view to things.

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    • I am happy that you found your voice. I used to be so quiet and I’ve become more brave about being myself. Life is too short, it really is a tragedy to be so discouraged to be yourself.

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  12. The year was 2017, and my senior year of high school was just about to start. I had been telling myself that this was going to be the year for me to shine, and not like all of the other years. Anyone who’s known me for more than a year would tell you how misleading I am being with a statement like that, though, as I’d been an honors student all through high school. At the time, however, I was misleading myself more than anyone. For years, as long as I could remember, really, I had been seen as a bit, well, as more than one former teacher put it, “unfiltered.” I was one of the geeks in that I was a member of the robotics team and held a steady 4.0 grade point average, but teachers and students outside of my social circle regarded me as somewhat of an exception from the “goody-two-shoes” crowd. I would intentionally start debates with teachers on subjects ranging from U.S. politics to the use of metaphors in literature we were reading, sometimes without any intent of polishing or “sugar-coating” my thoughts. On at least one occasion I was told that I associated too much with the “redneck” clique at my school, rarely avoiding an opportunity to enjoy a rambunctious joke with the less refined students in my class. Surely, I thought, I was only being singled out for being the nerdy kid who associated himself with more than one social group, so I persisted with this attitude until senior year when I promised to refine myself. I started the year well enough, avoiding disciplinary action through good behavior rather than simply talking my way out of it. I even received compliments from teachers on how I had changed, and it felt different. Then one day, a friend of mine, another incoming freshman at UMass Dartmouth for that matter, asked me if I was okay, and if everything was alright at my house, as she had noticed that I wasn’t the Jasper Tan she had known for so many years. I explained to her my new approach to life, but as I heard my own thoughts manifest themselves as words I realized that what she said was true. I told her that she was right, and that I wasn’t myself, and my new, less humorous way of going about my days wasn’t helping me deal with any of my internal conflicts the way laughter always used to bring me to a better place. From that day on, I abandoned the facade, realizing that other people’s opinions wouldn’t affect my performance in school or in life, and that if the real me was unfiltered and free-thinking, then so be it. I now know that I work at my highest level of potential when I only take the most important things in life (family, studies, work, etc…) very seriously, and in my eyes, other people’s judgments are not too important to respectfully joke about every so often, because if high school taught me one lesson that didn’t involve numbers and books, it’s that if you want to live life to the fullest, follow your heart, because it’s the one thing that no one else can do for you.

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    • Hey Jasper,

      I really appreciate you writing about expression and being yourself, and not caring what people associate you with and think about you!

      Thanks buddy.

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  13. I believe in self-confidence, growing up as a black female was very difficult for me. Boys at school separating me from my kind “dark skin”, ‘Light skin,” even defining some of us as ” charcoal”. Some of my friends even getting the influence on others just to fit in making jokes about color. I felt like I was an outcast I asked myself so many times why I had to be the color I was today; why couldn’t I be a bit lighter. Some days people wouldn’t call me by my name but by my skin color while talking with other. As I got older I started to notice more and more black women like me becoming more successful in life. Owning a million dollar business, helping other black money who struggle with their own skill color to appreciate themselves. That’s when I realized I shouldn’t let others bring me down because they have their own self of stem they need to work on. Everyday there is someone like me who feels like they don’t belong somewhere, but they are wrong. Your skin color does not define who you are in life it’s what you do to make a world a better place. My entire year on elementary school I was surrounded around people who only dated, hanged with, or even talked to because their skin color, but today I surround myself with positivity and other people who don’t judge by our looks and help others bring out the beauty in them.

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    • I totally agree! All my life I grew with the issue of my skin color being a problem in school. I learned to love my skin and cherish it because I know nobody else will. I love how you talked about your issue in school because I feel like people don’t recognize how others can make an individual feel bad about his or her skin color.

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      • I absolutely feel for you in this topic. I’ve always been shamed for how dark i was. i never understood the point of making somebody feel bad for their outside appearances even though they can’t change it. this is definitely learned behavior, children hear other people talk about others that way and they repeat it and this happens too often.

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    • I agree! After seeing and experiencing what people can do to others due to their skin colors can change a person completely being said from a black male perspective. I did not let people discourage me because of who I am. At the end, those words made me think of what our race has done for this country considering changing slavery and racism. Martin Luther King, as a black man has led the country through nonviolence and civil disobedience from all races. Barack Hussein Obama being the first African American to serve as president of the United States of America. Rosa Parks, was an African American woman to be known as “The mother of the freedom movement.” So do not let people let you down because of your skin color, instead show them what we can do and prove them wrong. Said too much but had to make a fact.

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  14. I believe in self-confidence.

    I found, often, I would compare myself with others which lead to myself being conscious of my body, looks, and hair. I would always watch my friends shop in petite stores and broke my combs trying to style my hair. I attempted to change my looks to fit the ideal beauty standard, but no matter what, I still was unhappy.

    I came back to school one day from over the weekend. The halls were crowded, and the chaos was normal. I could feel a few heads turn away their attention from their conversations. My hair had broken the tie and clouded loose behind me. That morning I spent no time worrying about what products to put on my face. The cropped tee and frayed jeans complimented every inch of my curves. I kept walking with a smile.

    Days prior, I had spoken to my mother. “I don’t think I’m pretty,” I told her. “I don’t have hazel eyes or long straight hair.” She always listened to my words. “No”, my mother responded. “You don’t. You have eyes like the night, deep and mysterious and hair like the wind, wild and free. You do not look like everyone’s definition of pretty. You look like my definition of beautiful.”

    I believe that loving yourself isn’t conceit, its love. Love means acceptance, kindness, and care. With love, doubt disappears, fears fade, and there becomes a comfort in being alone. I believe you’ll help to heal and inspire others just by being yourself.

    “A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.” – Zen Shin

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    • I love the quote you used. I also like when you talked about how wonderful it is to love yourself. “I believe that loving yourself isn’t conceit, its love. Love means acceptance, kindness, and care.”

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  15. I believe in self- confidence

    Sitting in front of the computer trying to put all the words I want to say into a 250 word blog difficult but here’s my best shot so here goes nothing . I was adopted when I was 8 years old, before that I had been in foster care, growing up in the foster care system straight out is terrible for anyone, but I believe its harder for the kids who were just babies when they were thrown into the system, I know your all probably thinking how is it worse your all in the same situation? well imagine yourself growing up knowing you have a brother and sister who you’ve never met, but somehow you already love them try growing up thinking you weren’t good enough for your parents that they just gave up and took the easy way out. that’s the type of stuff that takes big piece out of your self-confidence so when I finally was adopted I had little to no self- confidence, I thought my whole life that no one wanted me and , when I started school I was excited but I shortly grew to know that kids/ teenagers are really mean and don’t care if they hurt others feelings, so I became the weird new kid who had a weird child hood, when I became a freshmen in high school I told my self I was going to no longer be that kid , I told my self I’m not weird, yes I’m different but because of my childhood I’m stronger , from that day on I never let myself be torn down by people making fun of me or my past, and now 4 amazing years later here I am writing this a collage freshmen still living by those word. I don’t care if someone thinks I’m different or weird because I was in foster care or adopted , it just means I’ve had a few too many bumps in the road on my journey through life and there will be a ton more but ill keep learning and getting stronger, and never again let anyone tell me how I was supposed to grow up or how I’m weird because everyone is weird in there own way.

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  16. Feeling the tension between the keys and hearing the sweet melodies from the piano, made me fall in love with the music over and over again. Listening to this long piece of metal that produces a beautiful sound like magical horns playing, this windpipe instrument was full of charm- the clarinet. These instruments that make these gleaming sounds have changed my life since the day I was born.
    It was just a couple years ago, I was just thinking, “What are these instruments that produce this joyful sound?” I wondered whether instruments would be fun to learn. So I thought to myself, “What are the best instruments to play that have a nice feel to it?” One day, my friend played a song for me using his saxophone from his band. Then I could feel the joy coming from the instrument he was playing, and that it had different tones. This was when I thought to myself that playing or learning a musical instrument would be the right choice for me. Back in middle school, I was inspired by friends who did music where they joined the singing and music bands and I was thinking “If my friends can do it, why can’t I do the same thing,” However, my friends were more advanced than I was so I started to lose confidence in myself.
    After getting through these hard feelings about myself not being able to qualify playing an instrument, my music teacher came up to me and asked, “Tyrone, why aren’t you participating in music like your friends are?”
    I replied, “I did not think that I was that talented in playing an instrument.” She told me not to worry because everyone starts as an amateur, then moves up to being skilled. My music teacher motivated me and that is where it all started.
    It was November 15, 2013 when I had informed my parents that my school was having a music band class and was eager to join them. My mother asked, “What instrument would you like to play?”
    “The clarinet,” I replied. That was the first instrument I had ever played in middle school. After graduating from middle school and advancing to high school, I didn’t really think about doing music, just wanted to get the feel of high school, including making new friends.
    The day before, I would attend church every Sunday and would join the choir and participate in singing gospel songs. But one of my mother’s friend from the choir called me over and asked “Tyrone, Do you play the piano?”
    I replied saying, “No, I do not.” He sat down by the piano and started playing this flow of bass and high notes making them into some kind of music that was so passionate and would give you this understanding why music is so beautiful. Being a musician has shaped me into becoming a strong listener in music, hearing where to come in towards middle of the song and how to end the song with a certain note or chord. Although it may be hard to learn an instrument, I was glad that I pushed myself into becoming a better musician. That is what inspired me to play the piano until now. Playing the piano has given me so many strengths. Listening to and making music sound smooth, perfecting a beat when it comes to singing, are all strengths that I have gained from this instrument as I was learning how to read music and how to play every note according to the music book. Mostly, I have been attending music classes, been learning to mostly play gospel music on the piano. This instrument has given me much confidence to be able to play in church as part of the youth band. I am glad that instruments were the right choice for me to build skills and confidence.

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  17. Confidence isn’t a feeling ,a status or even a mood. Confidence is a tool. It’s like a pencil in the classroom or a key to a car. It’s a necessity like no other. Everyone possesses it but not everyone uses it. I believe in myself and i mean it. People in life tell you that you should believe in yourself but they only say it in times of weakness or in need. That’s not helpful it need to ve said even in times of greatness and achievement. That is how you speak something to existence. I use confidence to believe in myself that means i put myself up to challenge that i may not be able to overcome but me being confident helps me take on those challenges. This allows me to push myself to make commitments to thing i know will take me a lot of hard work to prove and achieve. I apply confidence in my everyday life because i have a speech disability that causes me to stutter as i talk. Although it not as bad as others like me it something that anyone might feel embarrassed or shameful of, cause its like you can hear yourself repeating something as if you want to talk but can’t find the words right when you need them. This has followed me all though put my life and there have been time when people even those close toe have made it into a joke. My speech impediment has helped formed who i am today and with confidence it makes me believe in myself. That i can do whatever i want to do at my paste and i’ll get there. If I Believe

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  18. I believe in trying to understand and contemplate your own identity. Culture, in addition to family traditions, is one of the factors that affect the self-identity of a person. When you think of African American, you usually think of someone just being black. Well, I’m African American, but I’m also literally African: my family is Sudanese. Having to appease both cultures while remaining true to myself used to feel like a chore. Do I not have the lingo and swagger my culture possesses? What can I do to avoid being judged before I can even open my mouth and share my thoughts? I was lost in this murky sea of confusion and I didn’t know what to believe. But I hadn’t noticed this burden initially. Not until I was forced out of my home at age eight. Not until the night my house burned down, displacing my family and me completely. From hotel to hotel, and eventually from family member to family member, we were forced to become freeloaders. And although my family didn’t seem to mind, I minded.
    Staying with my mom’s parents, I saw how much “real” Africans love worship. I remember being in the mosque and not knowing a word spoken. A mix of the Arabic and Swahili language took up the atmosphere, and I felt out of place and overwhelmed. The period that I had to stay with my father’s side of the family was a big transition. My father’s side of the family were the kind of Sudanese people who had integrated into society and had left behind their African roots. They were loud and proud, and I knew to be on my toes when in a room with them. But as time went on I had learned to perfect “code-switching.” The transition between both sides was a little more smooth, and I realized that I fit in both groups. Trying to fit into only one group wouldn’t be who I am. I gradually learned to embrace both. I love African fried dough called mandazi as much as I love the deep fried, unhealthy but amazing food my dad’s side of the family in Detroit would make. I learned to appreciate both my names: Ayman– which was assigned to me at birth and Rubia, my Sudanese tribal name, passed down to me from my grandfather, and passed on to him from previous ancestors.

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  19. You are not good enough, you cant do it, you are not worthy, you have no purpose. Im sure many of us have heard these set of words repeated to us multiple times. Some by colleagues, friends, teachers, parents, family members and many other people that are close to us, even as close as ourselves. If you don’t know what i mean by this, imagine looking in the mirror and seeing nothing but mistakes, regrets ,guilt. or even disgust. This is something called lack of self esteem, also known as an obstacle that seems impossible to overcome. In my case it is a battle I never thought I would win. I went from being my own bully to being my own hero. My tears became my strength and my self worth became my most valuable weapon. I was able to shoot down every negative thought or comment with just knowing who I am and my potential. At this point no one could tell me I wasn’t good enough because I knew I was. You cant do it became I already have! You are not worthy became I know my worth! And you have no purpose became i am my purpose! I believe knowing your self worth makes a person unstoppable. Many students hold themselves back from a world of opportunities simply because they become immune to running away from them, due to the fact that they second guess themselves because they don’t know what they are capable of in other words the don’t know there self worth.

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  20. You are all you have guaranteed for the rest of your life. People come and go; you have to accept that. I realize that is easier said than done. I and many others would describe myself as a dependent person. Social situations stress me out. I even get scared to talk to someone on the phone. Faking confidence did help me out in some scenarios, but there was always that fear. The fear that I am not good enough and I never will be. I beat myself up over mistakes I have made. “The art that I make is mediocre. There are people creating works that get confused with photographs.” Up until now, I have realized that it is not always about overcoming this part of yourself but accepting it. You may not be the best at what you do, but you still do it. That is admirable enough. The fact that you kept going even though a voice in your head was telling you to “give up.” People surprise themselves all the time, give yourself time to grow, and I am sure you will too. Don’t be distracted by physical features, whether it be on yourself or others. Our bodies are just the vessels for our souls; you shouldn’t let the look of it diminish your spirit. Beauty is within everyone. You need to find it yourself though. Allowing your true self to shine and practicing self-love techniques are the answers. You’re missing out on potential happiness by limiting yourself to the world. People that “fit in” are dying to be different, they are just scared of rejection. However, more good will come out of this change than bad. People will want to get to know the honest version of you. Who knows? You may even find your soulmate.

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    • I absolutely loved this statement you said in your post, “Our bodies are just the vessels for our souls; you shouldn’t let the look of it diminish your spirit. Beauty is within everyone.” I could not agree more with that, it is a brilliant way of thinking. I also describe myself as very dependent and going into college frightened me a bit considering there are so many situations in which we must be independent. However, I agree with you when you say “give yourself time to grow”, time is all it takes. This blog post in itself is a work of art! Great Job!

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  21. I don’t have a fancy motto to live by or a famous person who inspires me. No instead I have my family and of course my friends. To be honest I was a real shy and worrisome person in middle school who never really wanted to go out and do things because I was always too “embarrassed” to do it and most of the time I didn’t even know why I felt like that. I always felt distant from the world, from even my closest friend. I couldn’t stand it and when I first went into high school I thought that my world was dropping even lower. I had no one, that was until a year later when I met my best friend. She helped my break through that bubble, to go out into the world and explore. She gave me inspiration and feeling that I wasn’t alone any more. I became more outspoken and outgoing as the years went by. By the end of my senior year of high school she has given me the confidence to join clubs, volunteer at shelters and churches, and even inspired me to go into our national honors society program.
    I believe that everyone needs someone like this in their life no matter if they are a friend, family member, or even that random someone that met who will always be there to help and support you. That one person whom you can trust during the good days and the bad. Who will go on adventures or count satellites or just talk. I believe that if there is someone like that who is willing to be in your life and give you the confidence to do anything, then live every moment with them to its fullest and enjoy the beauty of this life.

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  22. The greatest challenge in life is being yourself in a world that tries to make you like everyone else. It’s human nature for us to want to be accepted by others. It drives most people to look the way they do, to like what they like, to be who they are, etc. As a society, we’re trendy. These norms conduct society in a way that cripples our individuality; our creativity, our expression, our confidence. Growing up, I felt that I had to fit this perfect image of what everyone else wanted me to be. I always supressed my passion for other things such as fashion, academics, and other “out of the norm” things for a young black kid in society. It came to the point where I changed the person I was. I would act stupid on purpose. I called kids gay for dressing nice or liking the things I liked on the inside. You lose your individuality trying to keep up with the norms. It gets to the point where you don’t recognize yourself anymore. We as humans need to love ourselves more. It’s what makes people stand out in crowds. It’s what lets us be who we want to be; no questions asked. I made the change to start being confident in who I am, expressing myself freely, loving myself to the point where I am in love with myself and it was the greatest decision I’ve ever made. It was the ultimate middle finger to society.

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  23. One of the biggest obstacles while living in a generation heavily influenced by the media is loving and accepting who you are. From a very young age we’ve seen images on how we’re supposed to look, act, dress etc. The older we get the more impact these expectations have on us, at least until a certain age. After many years of struggling with insecurities, bully and loving myself I’ve decided to put societies expectations aside and focus on loving and accepting myself for who I am. I believe society should’ve never been given the power to set certain expectations in the first place. For many years I tried very hard to fulfil the expectations just, so I could feel beautiful. Until I realized that it wasn’t what I wanted, why did I have to work hard to change my appearance? Why can’t I be accepted for who I am? And most importantly why has It been so hard to accepted that this is me. Once I decided to accept myself and my flaws, selflove and self-appreciation just came along. The process of getting to that point was rough, many skipped meals, anxiety and depression. To think that all of that happened because I was trying to fulfill someone else’s expectations is very overwhelming. But I’m very proud and happy with who I am and the way I look. Don’t let society tell you who you should be. Love and appreciate yourself just how you are.

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  24. I question many things in this life, but then again I also believe In many things. People, ideas, family, and self confidence are all things I believe in. mainly I believe in believing in yourself. Everyone needs support, the feeling of being believed in. When others will not believe in you, you must believe in yourself. It could be supporting ideas you have, or just making it through good times, bad times, high points, low points, just believe in yourself. Keep telling yourself “I can do this, I will make it through”, if you believe those words there is very little you can’t achieve. There are many examples of this in life. It could be a stereotypical story of someone coming up from poor and ending up rich and famous due to self confidence and support. Or it could be believing that you can earn that award/scholarship, dropping that extra weight, or even making it through a big loss in your life. Basically, be self confident, I believe in self confidence. There were points in my life where I didn’t believe in myself, I had very little self confidence. Certain events came into my life that changed me, made me feel better and better about myself. it was almost like a spark, a spark that started a fire. That little bit of self confidence gave me the strength to talk to new people, introduce myself, and it was the real me. the self confidence inside rose more and more to the point I’m at now. All it took was me slowly testing waters and going a little bit out of my comfort zone occasionally. I am incredibly happy with who I am and I think most people like this outgoing, extraverted, “out to make people laugh and smile” type personality. I believe in myself. I strongly encourage others to the same I did. Be yourself, believe in yourself. People will like you and if they don’t it doesn’t matter because you will find people who do, you just have to start by believing in yourself. Take the initiative to be the person you want to be. You don’t have to fall into standards, people love originality.

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  25. There are two paths many people choose growing, being a leader or a follower. Everyone has been in this position at some point in their life. I have a lot of experience being a follower, which really is not a good thing. It takes away any originality you have about yourself and you are constantly trying to be someone your not. Going through middle school and about half of high school, I was always trying to fit in with others in my grade. I grew up with a big yard and animals, and doing things outside most of the time. In my school, no one was the same and I found myself dressing different then I normally would and spending less time on the things i enjoy doing the most. Once I hit senior year in high school, it was like I broke through a wall. I stopped trying to look like everyone else, and if i did a little, I did not care. I dressed the way I liked to and stopped doing things that seemed pointless and focused on the idea of living life to make it the best for myself. I got out of being a follower because being a follower was easy. It makes you shy and not willing to put yourself out there, which is the best part of life. Once you decide to be yourself and be true to that, you will enjoy everything more. Life can be difficult and people will hurt you or help you emotionally, but putting yourself out there and exposing yourself to these experiences helps you grow and become a better person. I regret some things I have down or am upset with how things happened, but I would not be the person I am today if such instances had not happened, and i am grateful for that. Being a follower is just wasting time to enjoy life, lead your life where you want it to take you, be confident in who you are and try to be the best you can be everyday.

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  26. Growing up in two different households (because my parents are divorced), was very tough on me, a child who was very close to both her parents. The initial shock when my brother and I moved away from my father, was not an easy one to deal with. I barely saw my dad for the first couple months of their divorce and it hurt me mentally growing up. I grew up with depression, and I later developed anxiety throughout my teenage years and am still struggling with it now. Watching my mother try to raise two children by herself with no job or motivation, helped me in developing my mindset today. Self reliance is something I feel very strongly about. I never want to be the mother or wife of someone who can’t provide for themselves. If any emergency occurs, I want to be able to help in any way I can, whether that be financially or emotionally. Watching my mom struggle, has made me realize I never want to go through what she did. It ends up causing too much stress and can really damage anyones life. Self reliance and self love are two of the most important things anyone can have. If you can’t rely on yourself you can’t expect others to rely on you, and the same thing goes for love. The feeling of being able to rely and love yourself is like nothing else you can feel. It feels amazing to know that you rely and love yourself.

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  27. I’ve always had self-esteem issues. I don’t remember how old I was when I started to question the way I looked. But I know for a fact it was really bad around seventh grade. I would look at other people and think “I wish I was as pretty as them.” I dealt with that for a long time, I still do deal with that today from time to time. It’s not as bad as it was before, but I still have days where I don’t even want to look at myself in the mirror because I’m afraid of what I’ll look like.

    Another part about self-esteem issues that I deal with more severely than I ever have with my looks, is how I act. It may seem silly, but my personality is the hardest thing to deal with everyday. I’m always in constant fear that I’m being annoying, or I’m gonna say something that for whatever reason offends someone. I’m afraid to say my opinion on something because I know that even though in my head I know why my opinion is the way that it is, but if someone tries to question my opinion, I won’t be able to say anything. I just feel so powerless.

    There has never been a day where I have been confident in everything I do. I’ll wake up everyday and eight times out of ten, I’ll know I look good. But everyday, even when I wake up and I know that I look good, I’ll feel helpless when it comes to how I act. I go throughout the day saying sorry to everyone, even when I know it isn’t my fault.

    Now that college is starting, I want to be able to saying something or do something without getting anxious that someone will either judge me or say something to me. I don’t want to feel powerless. I want to have self confidence in a way that isn’t just about how I look. I want to be able to love myself.

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    • I hope you are able to learn self love and i hope starting college will help you understand and realize that you are never alone. I’m always here for you, Alexis. ❤

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  28. Let me start by saying that I like kids. They’re usually cute, and occasionally funny. The way they see and interact with the world is fresh, and they bring a lot of joy to a lot of people’s’ lives.
    But just because I like something, doesn’t mean I want to force it on other people, or that I want it for myself. I am staunchly pro-choice, which means that people should have the right to choose whether or not to prematurely terminate a pregnancy- no ifs, ands, or buts, no catches or loopholes.
    I believe in choice in general. In a (supposedly) free country like the one we live in, we all make our own choices in our lives, and nobody should be able to interfere with that. Just because I’m a fertile woman doesn’t mean I will for sure someday have children- that’s for me to decide, and me only. I believe that everyone deserves free reign of their own destinies, free from the shackles of class and ethnicity, sex and appearance. Just about everybody has the chance to be great, if only they have the freedom to make the choices that are right for them.

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    • I worked at a daycare and it is so crazy to see the way that kids react to things like gender identification and sexuality

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  29. I didn’t always believe in self-reliance. I thought the best way to get something was to chase it, but I relied on others to help me chase my desires. It always seemed like a race I was incapable of finishing because relying on others held me back. Everyone knows there is no ‘I’ in team, but not many are aware ‘I’ is much more relevant. Learning to rely on your self is more relevant than relying on other people. Relying on others makes you forget yourself and who you are. It’s cliché really, so many of us go through that point in our lives where we rely on others to define ourselves, either because we are lost, or because we have never found who we actually are. I spent so much time in high school relying on others to define me. I was letting minuscule comments and thoughts determine who I was, or who I wanted to be. Constantly wearing a façade suppresses who we really are. Therefore, I questioned, ‘why do we get a rush of dopamine from a like or comment on a meaningless social media post?’ Why are we constantly trying to cater our inferior or fake selves to others? The answer is simple, we rely on others to define us and we are infatuated with what they think. My infatuation with what they thought consumed me. I thought my friends were running the race with me but sadly I was just running with people that were never there. I was running alone. Now, I believe self-reliance is one of the most valuable things. I tried to rely on other people to define who I was and who I should be and it was time poorly spent. After my high school commencement, I looked around and pondered. All I had was myself. While in high school, I superfluously valued what my “friends” thought. I felt as if I had to adapt to them in every situation. Once high school was over, no one’s opinion mattered anymore and I had no one to define me. It was liberating, allowing myself to be whoever I wanted to be and defining myself. I believe self-reliance has made me a happier person. I know that being the best version of myself is all I need and that my definition of who I am is most accurate. It may not impress everyone and it may not win me the race every time but I never said it was about winning the race; I said it was about finishing the race. Relying on myself most certainly got me to that finish line and instead of having meaningless commentary run the race with me I just left it behind. However, I always keep those who mean well and are important to me close. They are my audience; they’re always there when I need them but they also allow me to run free and define myself.

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  30. I believe in the power of attitude. Growing up, my dad always told me that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. Of course, being just a little girl hearing this, the meaning flew right over my head. However, as I grow older, I am able to fully understand the importance of the message. Attitude became powerful in my life when I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 13. My initial reaction to this life change was extremely negative. I thought it was the end of the world; I did not have the motivation to take care of myself and I was very angry that this had to happen to me. It took me a few months, and a lot of tears, before I was able to see clearly and remember what my dad had told me about attitude. I realized I was making myself miserable because of how I was reacting to the situation that was handed to me. I started to change my way of thinking in order to have a more positive attitude. Instead of thinking “why me?”, I began to be grateful that it did happened to me. People have it way worse than I do. Instead of thinking “my body is weak,” I did everything in my power to become strong. I took care of my health, physically and mentally. If people make the effort to have a positive attitude, even in negative situations, life would be a lot happier. I believe in the power of attitude because it is a small change that can make a big difference.

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    • I love this statement. I felt the exact same way when I was diagnosed with endometriosis. A positive attitude can really make a difference; it is so important. I wish everyone was able to have a positive outlook on life.

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  31. Throughout our childhood we are told that being different is good; that we should stand out from everyone else. “Be a leader, not a follower.” But being different is extremely hard. When you are not identical to everyone around you, you are a target. This is a heavy burden. Feelings of shame, fear, and anxiety wash over you and it can feel like you are drowning. I have a speech impediment. Growing up, I would try to hide my voice. I yearned to not be noticed because when my voice was heard, it would trigger teasing and mimicking from others. These hurtful words made me feel paralyzed; like I could no longer move forward in life.

    I believe it is time that we all embrace what makes us different. We cannot allow our fear of what others will think or say, hold us back. I believe we should all be accepting of our peers; we should be openminded to new things and new people. I do not want anyone else to feel the shame I felt when I was growing up. I have learned to accept myself, I believe that my voice is beautiful. But I also believe that self-confidence can be a constant struggle. We should be lifting others up; not tearing each other down. I believe at some point in the future we will live in a world where being different, truly is good

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  32. l believe in independence and optimism. From a young age l was left to figure out almost everything on my own. l would constantly get frustrated every time my friends parents helped them do a task and l was left to figure it out on my own. As l got older, l stopped letting myself get frustrated and l began to figure out everything l needed to on my own. It often took hours of troubleshooting, guessing and checking, and so on but l would eventually succeed and that feeling of completion would always satisfy me so deeply. Yes, l struggled with so many tasks and situations that were thrown at me, but each time l was able to complete something new l took away a bit of knowledge with me. Knowledge is also extremely valuable to me. l have built up most of my knowledge by learning new things as l go through life. The knowledge you acquire outside of school normally helps you get further in life then the knowledge you acquire in school because you taught it to yourself rather than having it taught to you. On that note, l like to look at all the tough circumstances I’ve been in as lessons because l have prospered through each and every obstacle and came out with not only success, but with strategies and tactics to navigate future road-blocks. With that, comes my optimism. Growing up l used to think so negatively about everything because l truly believed life was not fair to me. Once l realized life just is not fair at all, my outlook improved immensely. l now look at the glass half full instead of half empty because l know that with my brain and with the knowledge l have acquired that l can complete anything and everything l need to, even if l have to struggle a little. There is beauty in my struggle, and in everyone else’s. God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers and l feel blessed that he trusted me to be one of his strong soldiers. l try to satisfy not only myself, but the Lord in every tribulation l go through. God has helped me through so much just by the power of prayer and that has helped to improve my positivity as well. God helped show me to always believe in myself.

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  33. I believe in self-love and self-confidence. I just remember during middle school I would cry every night while picking out an outfit for the next day. I would hate waking up every morning and getting dressed for school. I hated myself. I would come home and compare myself to all the skinny girls in my class. I didn’t understand why everyone was always happy and having a good time while I put on my fake smile and went on with my day.
    Entering high school, I was a little nervous going in. I didn’t think I was going to make any friends, I didn’t think any boys were going to want to talk to me; I was so worried that it was going to be middle school all over again, even though people say high school is the best four years of your life. As high school went on, my anxiety about school started to go away and I realized that I can talk out loud in class, and no one is going to make fun of me. I can wear what I want and don’t have to worry about what people think of me, I love myself and thats what matters. Everyone is different and every person should be accepted with no exceptions. If you feel poorly about yourself, you are the only one who can change that. It doesn’t matter what race you are, what your sexuality is, or what you look like, everyone should know they are loved, but you have to start by loving yourself.

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    • Wow, this is moving. I agree with you. High school is tough and being able to love yourself is essential.

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    • Your post has such a beautiful meaning! The way you speak of your confidence now is admirable. That is so amazing that your self-confidence and self-love grew so much. You are so right when you say all people should be accepted, that is so important!

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  34. I believe in being confident in your endeavors. When I was younger I was extremely shy. For fear of being judged I didn’t like to participate in class, use the phone, or talk to people who weren’t close friends. The worst part was I had a fear of talking to adults that caused me to be extremely quiet, stutter, and forget what I wanted to say. Over time this task became easier but I still had trouble. By the end of my junior year of high school I was still a quiet kid who would never raise his hand, and would always sit in the back. It was my senior year when I got a new job that things started to change. I had two bosses and coworkers that I had to regularly speak with. Eventually after about 2 months I started to become more comfortable talking and I used my new connections to get my four best friends jobs with me. It was after one of them had the idea that we should build a boat entirely out of wine corks that my fears started to fade. I worked at a restaurant that sold wine so it seemed feasible. Collecting off tables wasn’t enough and according to my friends I had to be the one that asked if the bar could collect for us because I worked there for longer. This was the first time I had to ask “Can we have your corks for a boat” and I was surprised to receive a yes. It was still not even close to enough so I suggested we reach out to another restaurant in the plaza, but no one else would do it so I asked again. We received another yes! This helped with my fears but it was complicated and it didn’t really work out how it should’ve later on. Eventually it was suggested we look into asking wholefoods for their cork recycle. 124 corks from the first one. They claimed the bag was barely full so we decided to take a trip to a bunch of them. The second one we went to had 500 corks. Then 2,000 corks, 4,000 corks, 1,500 corks, and each place I had to talk to customer service. We started to work on construction but we needed more. Three of us called six wholefoods each, we visited sixteen of them, and at most of them I did the talking. 20,000 corks total was enough. After talking to random strangers over and over again about a wine cork boat, whether on the phone or in person, I moved past my fear. Even if what you are saying or doing is wrong people are almost always kind enough to point you in the right direction. We received various tips and pointers on engineering or where to acquire parts from people who didn’t even know us, so why not try?

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  35. I believe that taking responsibility for one’s own actions is the cornerstone of being an adult. This is a lesson that took me several years to learn. Just a few years ago, I was far too proud and egocentric to accept that any fault could be my own no matter the situation. Apologizing was a foreign concept. Instead, I would brush the blame to something else, or worse, someone else.

    As a self-centered middle schooler, I callously thought, “Why would I accept the blame? It wasn’t my fault: I’m perfect.”

    My narcissistic way of thinking could have put strain on every relationship that I hold dear if I didn’t begin to mean these simple words, “I’m sorry”. It is never enough to give a hollow, insincere apology like those that I had up until then. Those words are meant to always be backed up with a promise of future growth, and care in thought and action; when that promise is broken, the words are simply useless.

    I believe that a meaningful, “I’m sorry” could save a friendship that very well may last a lifetime. For most people, apologies are not easy, especially when you feel as if you’ve been wronged. However, in this situation, it’s even more important to recognize the need to apologize and to mend any ill will. Otherwise, resentment may fester and create an untenable relationship, simply because one of you was too proud to make amends. Apologizing requires speaking from the heart, and the commitment to lasting change. Words alone are insufficient; they must be followed by meaningful actions.

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  36. It’s strange. Everything up until now, I was left in wonder. From the beginning, I was taught to learn to believe the words told to you. Even though they were lies, they were engraved to me as the truth. I learned to despise myself, hate myself for being who I was. Self-love has always been something important in my life. We learn to blame ourselves for the mistake we never created. We learn to hate ourselves. Despite all this, we want to live and learn about what it means to live. What it means to love yourself. If you can’t love yourself by yourself, then others can help you to love yourself.
    When people are alone, they know nothing about love or hatred, but when we’re with others, we can only learn so much until who choose the path that could either give us happiness or suffering. The need of helping others is something that I always had. This immense feeling of lightheartedness because I can make someone smile. That warm feeling that you experience in your chest from making someone happy, knowing that you have contributed to their happiness. It’s moments like those where I call them beautiful. Loving yourself is difficult because you have to accept yourself first. But, I want many others to know that they are beautiful the way they are, that it is okay to accept themselves. I want others to know that even if they are struggling, they are not alone.
    It’s easier said than done, self love is the hardest thing to achieve. But I want to be that person to help others know that loving yourself is important, slowly but surely. Even myself, I am acknowledging and accepting all the flaws I have. I want to become a better person, and I’m still learning.

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    • Loved this. It feels incredibly to help someone else find joy even if you are having trouble finding it in yourself. Self love is a long but very rewarding process, I hope your making progress 🙂

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  37. I believe that facades rule the world. We hide ourselves in the shadow of our actor,those personalities we wish others to see, poking a finger or two into the light every now and again just to be burned and to recede back into the darkness. We let out our entertainers in public for all to see, these beautiful people with no imperfections, their opinions muffled and their beliefs stored away for the time being. But, there are those who live in the light, who are not afraid of being burned, those who have stored their star away and may never use them again. Those are the people that I believe everyone should follow. These pioneers of opinion and crusaders of voices venture through our tough landscape belting their voices about what should be and what can be to represent those who peek beyond the shoulder of their actors. These are the apostles of change who wish for the whole world to see their imperfections. These are the Templars of judgement who fight for their right to jump into the light and towards the sun. In time, the war over imperfections will be over, and those in the light will have prevailed. We may finally leave the somberness of our fake personalities and express our true selves to the world and live life as it was meant to be lived. Many battles will be lost, but the war will be won and the light will gleam over everyone equally.

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  38. My life was full of abuse and negativity.
    As I got older I began to recognize the issues my parents were dealing with. They’ve always been separated for as long as I can remember. I only saw my father on the weekends and spent the other five days with my mother. She was in constant failing abusive relationships, and I dreamed of living with my father to escape the hurt at home. I never thought it would happen and spent years trying to convince him to legally separate me from my mother, while she was throwing all her pain towards me for wanting to leave like all her partners were. I took my anger out on my body for wanting to abandon her, but I didn’t realize it was my environment and mother influencing me to blame myself for her agony. She soon understood my suffering and let me go.
    Last year in September I managed to move in with my father, something I never expected to happen. My life is constantly changing now, and I can see it. Nothing stays the same, and there is always room to grow. I’m surrounded by people who love me now and I’m truly happy. Being stuck in a negative place or time can feel like a hole that’s impossible to climb out of, but change is real. I am proof. Believing in change has helped me to become strong and see life in a positive light. Believing in change saved my life.

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  39. I deeply believe in the power of oversharing.
    Anecdotally, I’m the type of person who always picks truth when playing ‘truth or dare’. As a reserved, insecure kid, my drive to share what I was feeling and examine my own identity was intense. Some of my tendency to overanalyze has aided me in examining my gender and sexuality, as well as identifying and working through anxiety. As aspects of my identity have developed, and I have struggled with some experiences, discussing these things more casually has helped me process some things so that they didn’t remain a large concern. My relative comfort with joking about my own internal and familial conflicts is also an indicator to others that they can share their experiences with me without judgement. The occasions when friends have come to me to talk about questioning their identity, or working on their mental health, have been valuable reflective experiences. Though this usually just means listening thoughtfully, and occasionally pointing someone in the direction of resources to help answer their questions, having another person trust you to help them puzzle through their experience is an honor every time. And these occasions usually come about because I run my mouth about being anxious and gay to the people I’m close to.

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  40. I believe in dreams. Dreams create passions. Dreams create aspirations. Dreams create the desire to love and be loved. I remember when we were kids we used to run around and play. Pretending, dreaming of being astronauts, ballerinas, mermaids, anything we wanted to be. But now, going into my freshman year of college I’ve noticed something–most people don’t dream anymore–they don’t remember what it was like to run around and chase our dreams like we did when we were kids. They don’t remember because from the day we could understand societal standards, the media, and everything people tell us we have been told to think practically– don’t do this, don’t do that, that isn’t realistic–we have been told our dreams will not make us successful in this world. But I don’t believe that dreamers aren’t successful; I believe they are the most successful and fulfilled people in this world. I am a dreamer myself. For as long as I can remember I have always dreamt of making a difference in this world. I have never wanted to be just another person living on this planet. I dream of a life with purpose. One where I can affect other people in this world. I also dream of feeling loved and following my passions. For me, this passion comes in the form of being creative in my life which is in the arts. I never thought I would actually pursue it until I realized that I actually could and that I really wanted to. For the past year and a half, one of my dreams has come true. I have felt loved, I have been in love. I’m the happiest I have been in my entire life. My dreams have helped me realize who I am and who I want to be.

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    • I completely relate with you Brianna because when I was also a kid I did dream of being a mermaid. It is extremely sad that society teaches us to limit our dreams to be more realistic. People can be what they want as long as they believe and not let society tell them other wise. I can not wait to see all the lives that you help change in this world.

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  41. As a Caucasian, american, girl born and raised in the United States, I have been given the utmost opportunities to flourish. Being from a small town in Rhode Island, I felt like a big fish in a small pound able to accomplish anything I set out to do. Until I grew up. I then saw that there were in fact, forty nine other states with almost seven billion people inhabiting this world! I believe that everyone should feel comfortable and assured in their own shoes. Us as humans need to start building each other up, instead of tearing each other down. Confidence is key in a world of insecure and timid people. Confidence can set the tone in many different environments. This characteristic can be how people obtain jobs, gain the eye of a future spouse’s, and so on. Self love and self confidence is extremely lacking in today’s society. At times it can be challenging to love yourself when there are others out there that you may think are prettier, more intellectual, better at sports, etc. However, as my mom always told me, “until you value and love yourself, how can others?” Opinions are everywhere. The only opinion that matters is your own. Step out of your comfort zone and break the rules of conformity. It’s the twenty first century and times have changed. Gay marriage is legal, transgender people have stood up for their rights, people of diverse color now have their voice in congress and in general. It’s time people stop judging and criticizing others and we come together as a whole. Carpe diem, as they say, because life is short and should be spent in ways that make us happy. The first step in constructing a better more accepting world is to love yourself and the rest will be a breeze.

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  42. Painting in the Summer
    Muhammad Moonis
    Date 07/28/2018

    I believe that painting can make your life timeless and infinite.
    Through the course of my life I have always believed the having a hobby can make time travel fast and sometimes, slow it down to the infinite. Through the ups and downs, one always seeks balance in life. For me having painting as a hobby was that equilibrium which kept me pushing forward. Being raised in a society where art held no value, to believe in yourself would always derail my self confidence. I believed painting was equivalent to reading a science book whereas science would encourage me to study about the stars and the heaven in between, painting that image would give me a reason to look up.
    Through the toughest of times and the happiest, that empty canvas could show me all the possibilities of life. I saw through that empty canvas the stretched out life that I had lived. From being born in a poor family to my mother’s divorce. From my brother’s departure to Australia on a scholarship to us getting a new house and moving to United States.
    Through it all, painting made time stretch for me where every bad moment was contracted and shortened while every good moment became infinite. It felt organic. This hobby nourished my thoughts and nurtured my imagination. A solace that often comforted my childhood. I remember painting my grandmother’s hand, three days prior to her death. I remember painting that church that laid right before the shelter home where we stayed for three days. I remember drawing that plane on which we arrived in United States. I am not sure if I drew the right one, but I did.
    In conclusion I strongly believe that having a hobby is thought constructive activity that sometimes provides equity of thought and focus. Hence we should all have an activity in life as such.

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  43. Ever since July 4th of this year I have been on a path of self realization and self discovery. This path all began with doing my 2nd annual running with the American flag as I did the year before. However this year was different from last year because I now am an adult, but not only had I became an adult my story was going to be broadcasted on the news. As I was running I saw faces of individuals with great happiness as they cheered me on and even stopped to talk to me. After a while I truly realized that I wasn’t just running to promote patriotism, or to make other people happy, but that I was also running for myself. I wasn’t running for any sort of personal gain or anything but I did gain a sense of self worth after running for 8 miles on the 3rd and another 8 miles on the 4th. I realized that I have the power to do good in my community and for the world and all that it takes is going out there and doing something. I realized that I didn’t have to be a celebrity or a politician to make a positive impact on the world, I just had to be myself and get out there. For everyone that questions what they are worth, just remember you set that value for yourself it is how you feel and I know not every situation can be changed instantaneously, but you can make a change in your own life all it takes is action. Not every positive impact on your life has to be major, because if you truly think about it, it is the little victories throughout life that amount to the big wins. I know that I can do great things for the world and that I can truly make a major positive impact, all that I needed was a push.

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  44. Something I believe in dearly is creativity. More specifically, imagination and how there truly holds no bounds to ones creative mind. A person once told me “If you love your job, you will never have to work a day in your life.” I often pondered on this thought and how I could find something that I enjoy, and if it was really ever possible to ever morph it into a career. What I realized in 9th grade was my imagination was always there. I often would create stories of my own, writing of endless adventures of fictional people. That year, I took a step further and decided I wanted to make something, a world, as big as Lord Of the Rings or Star Wars. Although it began like a feeling of being lost in the woods, after a while of making maps and stories, then putting them together like pieces of a puzzle, I learned not only am I capable of creating something amazing, but all of us are actually born with such creative minds that truly anything can be made. I continued on and have never stopped for years, even today ideas come into my head as small as a little shift, to ideas that could change the entire spectrum of the realm my story dwells in. What really helped my imagination was that it never left from when I was a child. Everyone has memories of playing with sticks pretending their being knights or pirates or anything that differs who they truly are. Most people tune their creativity as art or enginuity, yet as for me creating a story has been my calling.

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  45. Life has been a rollercoaster, that definitely one thing I can say about life. Filled with many high times where you’ll enjoy the ride and low times where you’ll scream from some bumps you’ll hit. For a while, it feels like there have been more lows for me. Starting high school, I walked in with high hopes with high school life. Sadly high school wasn’t what I hoped it would be. Many of what ills me today started in high school. My self-esteem and self-confidence aren’t at it best but it’s getting better. Life is filled with hard struggles and some of those struggles might take a bit of time to get over but in the end, you’ll grow ever stronger cause of those struggles. I’ve learned a lot from my own struggles and finding out more about who I am and who I want to be. The road is gonna be a long one but hopefully, I will come out more self-confident and more self-reliant.

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  46. Self-love and self-confidence are two goals in life that can take some people months, or even years, to gain. Sometimes, people don’t even get to that point where they can say they truly believe in who they are and are 100% confident. When it comes to me, I know that I haven’t reached that point yet where I can say I completely love myself after years of trying, and I truly believe society plays some sort of role in that. I’ve always struggled with finding confidence in my looks and my weight for as long as I can remember. Now, I wouldn’t say that I’m fat or anything extreme, but I’m also not the “skinny” that seems to be most desired these days. Everyday, you can go on social media and find models that are stick-thin and absolutely beautiful, and you will find girls aspiring to be them and wishing they had their bodies. Not only will it be models that people can see, but it’s all over Twitter and Instagram too. And I feel like constantly seeing these things, there’s always a constant comparison, and that’s not healthy. People, men and women, naturally compare themselves to others, and it can do some serious damage to how they view themselves and their appearances. Also, I feel like a lot of the times, there are unrealistic expectations placed upon women and how they’re “supposed” to look. Today, it seems as though the ideal look most men find appealing is the big butt, big boobs, tiny waist, and strong curves, but that’s just not realistic to want every woman to look like that. I’m always seeing on social media the term “thick” being thrown around as desirable and sexy, but if the woman is “too thick” or on the heavier side in a somehow less attractive way, then they’re not seen as beautiful. It may be just me that feels as though society can be detrimental on a person’s confidence, but with society comes a lot of comparisons, expectations, and unrealistic goals. Everybody is beautiful just as they are no matter their body type and weight, and sometimes I feel as though society doesn’t spread that around enough and makes it difficult for people to realize that.

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    • That was written very beautifully and I agree 100%. Society really does brainwash everybody’s mind into thinking there is only one, specific type of “beautiful.” There are so many different types of beauty and they do not revolve around looks or body shape but around the person inside.

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  47. I used to overthink everything I did. I was afraid to raise my hand to ask questions in fear of my classmates thinking me stupid. I refused to openly smile in family photos because I thought my old braces were ugly. I hated trying anything new in fear I would fail and embarrass myself, despite failure being an essential part of life. And when I did fail in life, I hounded myself with negative thoughts about it, and how it would affect my future.

    Now, I’m trying to live with a new concept of who really cares. Who really cares if I mess up a word in a sentence? Everyone’s done it, carry on. Who has the time and energy to point out something so minute and meaningless in the grand scheme of things? I know I don’t anymore. All those past failures, all of which I thought would haunt me forever, lost their impact the day they happened, and it took me until recently to realize that. So what if I didn’t do something new perfectly, it was my first try, I’ll get better at it.

    Now I believe in not stressing over the little things in life, and learning to let go of silly things that hold you back. I believe in not being afraid to take certain risks, because even if not everything goes to plan, at least you put yourself out there with your best effort.

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    • Hi Colin, I wanted to let you know that I have been there so I know what its like to feel insecure, but the way you described your new carefree and vivacious attitude towards the world is really inspiring. I too believe that we should live and not have to worry about what other people think or how it would effect our future. I believe that we should pay more attention to the here and the now instead of the past or too much of the future. Also, still think about the future a little though its always good to have some kind of plan.

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  48. Self-confidence seems so simple and easy to say, but to have it within yourself means everything. Every girl struggles with her hair. It’s either too thick, too thin, too short too long etc. I’ve came a long way to truly love my natural self and appreciate my coils and curls that God gave me. Growing up, I was taunted for having thicker hair, sure I would always be told that i’m beautiful, but it was very hard to believe that when all my friends at school and the kids on TV had straighter hair. As young females we struggle everyday to look our best and feel our best, but its so stressful, and self contradicting to feel beautiful when every time you go on social media there’s an image of what beauty is. “Beauty” isn’t everything, it all starts from inside. My point is, once you start to be your true self and appreciate those coils, loose curls, tight curls, bone straight, wavy hair type or any other kind of imperfections, then you will begin to have self love. You will start to feel beautiful on your own without having to be told. Just trust in your abilities and knowledge believe in your capabilities and you will gain self-confidence.
    Don’t let society determine your beauty or let you question your own persona, because beauty has nothing to do with your true personality. Now I help people who are insecure or trying to find themselves, I’m a very good listener because I’ve had my own bump in the road.

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  49. I am considered a rather easygoing type of guy. As my father has told me on multiple occasions, I have never been afraid to be me. I would always do my own thing, and I have never been afraid of doing so. I have always been true to myself, and I’ve never tried to be something that I’m not. I respect those who try to change, if they feel that they aren’t right for themselves, but I have always done what I liked, and I like doing what I do. My hobbies have kept my interest, and if I happen to find more, than all the power to me.

    I like to think that my interests are varied. I’ve done many things in my life, and stopped when I didn’t like them. I’ve played baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, and gaelic football. Practicing Karate was one of my favorites. I made it to second degree brown belt, but unforseen circumstances prevented me from going all the way. I play the base guitar, which coincides with my love of music. I wanted to learn after watching the Beatles Help movie. I read alot, from novels, to manga, to , more recently, fanfiction. That last one spikes great interest with me. I love the original works they’re based on, but sometimes I like to see what someone else thought the story should go. And many of them turn out to be exceptionally well thought out.

    I play video games, daily if I can. I have collected Magic the Gathering. I walk almost every day, if I can. I draw, I write, I’ve built with legos, i watch anime and Youtube, I basically keep discovering new things about myself every day. And the one thing I’ve discovered is something I feel that everyone should try to discover for themselves, at some point in their lives. Just be you. There is only one of you in this world….Unless you’re twins.

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  50. I believe self-love is the hardest, yet most gracious attribute one can obtain. In a world where we are constantly judged, it is easy to find ourselves indulging in the opinions of others. Often we take the opinions of our peers for facts and true reflections of our nature, when in reality the opinions of others are actually based on their own personal views and values. My own journey down the road of self-love began as a pre-teen. For years, I was told my nose is too big, the gap in-between my teeth is too wide, or my hair was too tangled to be considered pretty. The overwhelming weight of personal insecurities made it seem almost impossible to reach the level of self-love deemed acceptable in society. When I was fourteen years old, I cut off most of my hair and gave myself a mini makeover to try and boost my confidence. Unfortunately, this didn’t work because I put too much pressure on myself to be perfect and ended up doing more damage than good. With time, I found myself in a position to begin accepting my flaws. I went from hating everything about myself to embracing my enthusiastic, sassy, and outgoing persona. It took many years of self-hate, tears, and start overs to pave a sturdy path on my journey to success. All in all, self-love allows for someone to truly decipher their own nature based on their own values. With this, we choose to appreciate and cherish ourselves to a degree that amplifies the content of a person with who they truly are regardless of portrayal.

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  51. I believe the society we live in now is too focused on looks. If you have an hourglass figure and have distinctive features, features that are out of the norm and praised. Models are a great example whether they are plus size or size 0, they both represent confidence that people want and admire. Even though they seem confident they sometimes have their own insecurities. Some skinny models may be insecure about their bodies by starving themselves and wanting to be a size 0 to look perfect. Many people seem to judge bigger women than skinnier women, because seeing someone overweight makes them think that they over eat and do not care about what they look like. Thin people do not have to work hard to try and lose weight, because their metabolism is faster than thicker people. And it is also easier for them to stay the same size. We should all live in a nonjudgmental world where everyone is comfortable with the way they are and how others look. It bothers me that people these days point out other people’s flaws and think it is cool. Judging a person by the color of their skin and the way they talk or look is very disrespectful. Attending a school like UMASS Dartmouth, there are so many people being drawn from diverse ethnic backgrounds and I am proud to be one of those people coming from Ghana. I believe self- confidence is what the environment should focus more on and appreciate the way people look instead of looking down on them. This is what I believe.

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    • I entirely agree people should stop being so judgmental. We should stop judging someone if they aren’t skinny and possibly see the small side of the community that don’t want to be so thin but they cant keep up with their metabolism. I know someone who had a serious problem with it when we were young and then after going through my own troubles of self image I realized how strongly these ideas are truly hurting the society. It 100% needs to change.

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    • I also believe that people should not be judged by the way they look, instead on a persons actions and morals. It should not matter what size clothes a person wears, or the color of somebody’s skin. Instead as a society we stop judging based on appearance, and rather on how a person acts.

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  52. I believe in individual purpose. I believe that everyone and everything was created and placed onto this earth for a reason. Everybody is alive to fulfill their purpose. It may be something that you are not aware of or feel like you do not have but as life goes you will come to find out and fulfill your role. Some people are placed on this earth to help others. With a purpose like this there are so many different routes it can take you. It can lead you to be a nurse and help those that can not help themselves or even become a teacher and help those that want to learn about all they possibly can. Other people may have a purpose to create and build anything and everything. Whether it be something hand made like becoming a carpenter to build structures that will turn into businesses or having a green thumb and growing a garden full of flowers and life. Some people have the purpose of sharing with others. Becoming an author and telling your story to not only help guide others but to express your inner self is a way to fulfill this purpose. There are so many different purposes an individual can have and everyone is not limited to one. I believe that they are given to people for a reason and what is meant to be will be and anything meant to happen will. Life will play out the way it is supposed to. Purpose is real and this I believe.

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    • This is a beautiful belief. I absolutely agree that everyone has their own path and was meant to do something with it. This is especially important to all of us now while we try to figure out what our paths are and start to follow them.

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  53. My freshman year of high school I seemed to have a negative view on life. No matter what circumstances, I always found negativity in every situation. One morning, my father was dropping me off at school, and I was having a worse than usual morning. I was dreading the thought of school and all the people I would encounter. Before I slammed my door, my dad said something that stuck with me since. He said, “As long as you think negative, things will always be negative.” To many, it may be a simple phrase, but to me, that one phrase has changed my outlook on life. My father noticed my negative thoughts without me having to utter a word. I knew then, I had to do a complete 360.I now believe that you should always look for the good in every situation. I believe you should always make the best of what is given. I believe a positive mindset allows you to flourish. You can’t control everything, but you can control your outlook and way of thinking. As long as you believe in being positive, it will bring positivity.
    Switching my view on things, I now find myself happier and enjoying things way more. It’s always better to surround yourself with positive minded people, rather than people who bring you down. You should surround yourself with nothing but positive vibes, and that’s something that I learned personally. Positive attitudes will bring you positive outcomes, and that I promise you.

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    • I too have heard this many times Ninah. I always try to tell myself that if I want it to be a good day, it will be one, mainly in my work life. I think that people and their environment feed off the way you feel and if you walk into a situation miserable, the outcome will always be miserable. Im glad you were able to find a way to combat that negativity, stay positive

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  54. Ever expected life to go one way after you have it all planned out, and it goes the opposite? That is how the last few months have been. I’ve found that everyday is truly a new struggle and test on my life. In May I got uveitis which backfired me working and my school attendance. Shortly following this I expected my summer to be filled with happiness, positivity and comfort but it has been everything except that. My closest friends left for the military and won’t be back until the new year. The people I thought would never turn their back on me when things got rough did. Those I thought cared the most missed the most important days and achievements of my life. It hurt but I suffered in silence. This summer has been a test on my ability to tolerate pain physically and emotionally and a challenge on how I deal with recurrent hardships in my life by myself. I learned to value patience, sanity and my happiness over everything else because if all else fails I have myself. This summer I had to throw away self pity and build up self happiness and sustainability to fight all the times I’ve felt hurt, disappointed and blindsided by life’s unexpected chain of events. I believe everything that happened was a blessing and I know I’m strong enough to roll with the punches regardless of if I have anyone taking them with me or if I’m alone for the ride.

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  55. Everyone has a love for music. Music has a way of connecting people, whether that be chanting the lyrics with someone you’ve never seen before, or dancing with people you’ve never met before. A single song can bring strangers–from all ends of the world–together. A couple years ago, I reconnected with an old friend through music; ever since then we’ve remained the greatest of friends. We started this project in which we would help my friend establish a name for himself as an artist, and the progress he has made is quite amazing. And the amount of people both he and I have met through this journey are astounding. But music doesn’t just bring people together, it also helps people get through things in their personal life. When my mom passed away, the only source of comfort (for a while) was music. I really immersed myself into the different genres of music. People tend to listen to music that matches their mood, or listen to content that either uplifts them or hypes them up for their sports game. For soccer, I have a specific playlist and song that really helps me prepare for the upcoming game. When I want to relax, I tend to gravitate towards more alternative, and acoustic/indie music with a mix of R&B. When I want to sleep or study, I listen to classical music. Music acts as remedy for many, which is why I believe it is such an important, beautiful thing.

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  56. Self confidence has always been a struggle for me. Freshman year, and Sophomore year of high school were very rough socially, which effected my grades. I spent too much time “kissing up” to popular cliques and being a class clown (who wasn’t even funny) instead of being confident in who I really was. My parents are loving and supportive but their fear of me failing shaped their expressions into those of distrust. They constantly talked of a “closing window,” at my time of immaturity, I could not see, none-the-less see through. I was scared that I would amount to nothing. Junior year came, and I joined Recycling Club, Chess Club, and the Track and Field team. Immediately I had a mindset that I wasn’t going to primarily worry about making new friends anymore. I had a solid, small circle of close friends, but I needed to focus on my academics. I was kicking myself for doing three clubs at the same time, as this was my first year doing clubs. Luckily, I was able to begin balancing my social life and schoolwork very well, and my grades began to rise. I began to make friends slowly, and throughout my final two years, my friend group nearly quadrupled. My experience in the Track and Field team helped me grow into a more confident person, and gave me a new family. They even gave me the nickname “Sarge,” which is a nickname I’ve had since Poptropica, if anyone knows what that is, I also use it for most of my social media because when I was 12 I thought that was cool, and I’m way too lazy to change it. I went to more parties this summer than I went to in my first 3 years of high school combined, people outside my CLOSE group were inviting me to things, I was actually confused. I had a solid understanding of Algebra, so I was able to use my ability to help others. This trait gave me a window to overcome my “immature class clown” façade, and open up a more mature personality with others. With my (slowly, but surely) rising grades and friend group, it helped me accept and grow into who I really was and gave me the will to help others in the same way. Believe in yourself, it has taken us all 18 years to become who we are today, now, we have 4 more years to change and define who we truly are, and instill self-confidence in those who may still be searching.

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    • I can really relate to this post. My freshman year of high school was rough for me too because I lacked faith in myself and tried to become something that I wasn’t. Im glad to see that someone else was in the same position as me but I am even happier to see that someone else broke free from others people expectations and stayed true to themselves.

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  57. As a child, I lacked faith in myself. I never believed I would be able to achieve anything and I never opened my mouth in fear of being criticized. Every single day, I felt weak and hopeless as I would see the other kids socializing and playing kickball. Most of the time, I would just daydream that I was not this timid, pathetic weakling. By the time high school came along, I decided that it would be time for a change. No longer would I be this weak, wimpy kid that does not talk to anybody but his few friends. Instead, I’ll be a strong confident person that doesn’t care about what others think of him. As soon as the third week of school started, I already sensed a change in my mentality and for the first time in my life, I felt good about myself. Every negative feeling I once had, just vanished. It did not feel like I was stuck in a small, dark void. It felt as if my mind opened up and I could see the colors of the world. I could look up at the sky for once and see my true limit.
    Confidence may not seem that great to other people, but for me, a person who never saw himself as good enough to do anything, it means the world. It is such an amazing feeling to be confident as you can sleep soundly at night knowing everything will be fine tomorrow. It helped me develop determination as I strove to never give up and work towards my goals. As I recall my years of no self-confidence, I have new appreciation for the trait for without it I wouldn’t be who I am today. With confidence, people can help inspire others and let everyone find their peace within themselves.

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  58. I believe with all my heart that each person should have appreciation for our journey and future, but more importantly for the people who got us here. I have my family to be grateful for. Both of my parents came from poverty stricken households, but have given me a more comfortable upbringing in the land of opportunity. I wish they had the same chances as me, but it is with gratitude that I thank them for their sacrifices and grind to get me here. My dad grew up in Lebanon and couldn’t finish his schooling because of the civil war there and being called upon to defend his home. It’s his biggest regret not being able to finish college. he has been working construction in America since 1980 and will continue until he cannot physically. My mom grew up in Queens with 7 siblings and extended family in her small home, where she walked miles to school. I feel blessed because I’ve been given a route to education without having nearly as many obstacles. I should work exceptionally hard in appreciation, not only for myself but because that’s what they deserve for giving me a life in which I have the opportunities they didn’t. When I look into the origins of my family’s life I find pride that I can carry with me. To put it shortly again, I believe that we should have appreciation and gratitude for our circumstances no matter how grim they seem because to get you here, someone you love had it worse.

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  59. “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” -Oscar Wilde (This is a quote I follow everyday)
    I believe that self confidence is the key to having a successful life and to actually genuinely be happy with yourself. We often compare ourselves to other people with things such as: money, looks, popularity, outfits, and cars. Which makes us start to go into a depressive or envious state because you start to realize you do not have what they have. Which in turn can mess up your life because you start to focus on stuff that really doesn’t matter and you start trying to be like everyone else instead of being you. You start to focus on everyone else instead of trying to grow as a person yourself. You also start to shy yourself away from new opportunities because you think you’re not good enough or you’ll never get it, when that’s not true.This sometimes makes people want to distances themselves from you because they do not want negative energy around them, which can cause you to lose yourself even more. Society causes us to think if we don’t have this or that by a certain age we are not good enough but everyone grows at different times and experiences success at different points in life. Social media plays a big role in how we view ourselves physically. You look at Instagram models and think to yourself why don’t I have that body? why don’t I look more like her? so I can get the boys that I like. For guys you say why don’t I have as much money, cars, girls and better outfits as him? when you should be focusing on yourself and knowing your self worth. When a person has self confidence and self love people notice that and feed off that energy, in turn it makes the world a better place.

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  60. In my opinion, there is one belief that is essential in order to be successful in every facet of our existence, and that is the power of positivity. This may sound cliche to some people, but I believe that a person’s mindset dictates the outcome, good or bad, in just about everything we go through in life. Whether it be career, relationships, or even our physical health. That is not to say that if you are always positive, nothing bad will ever happen. Life is always going to bring hardships that we have no control over. However, we do have control over how we react to a bad situation and we can choose to let it drag us down, or we can find a way to put a positive spin on it. This may not fix the situation, but perhaps it could teach us something valuable that we can use to help us through future obstacles that we may have to overcome. Growing up we were always taught to choose our words carefully when addressing others. It was always stressed that we should be careful not to hurt others with our words. I believe that is even more important when talking to yourself. If you go into a situation thinking “I can’t do this,” it is likely that you will fail. I believe we should always be kind when talking to ourselves. Always tell yourself how great you are and you will see how powerful positivity can be.

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    • I really relate to your post. It took me a long time to stop being so negative and doubtful about everything. Being positive is so important to having a healthy and happy life.

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    • I totally agree with all of this!! You put it really well, and I love that you even mentioned positive self-talk. I wish everyone would live by this, because it really kills me when people go into something with a negative attitude and then complain about how badly it went after. We’re all in control of how we react to things, like you said. Love this!

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  61. I believe people should not focus too much and be stuck in the past. When people focus too much on the past than they end up making the mistakes in the present time. People are stuck and trying to fix the past but cannot catch up to the present so they always end up falling behind alone. It’s like walking down an escalator while it’s going up. One time I was stuck in the past over a breakup and I couldn’t focus on my present life. I was disconsolate at my current life because I kept thinking about was it my fault and what I did wrong. I was just trying to fix the past but didn’t realize that I was making mistakes on the way. I could not focus on the present time and what would happen in the future. He fell in love with Daisy, but he never got to be with her. He worked for 5 years bootlegging to get money and throwing big parties every week and trying to get her attention. In the end, he wasted his time because she only had interested in him because of his money. In the end, he got shot and died because he took the blame for her. So he ended up wasting 5 years of his life because he didn’t move on from this girl. I believe you should live today and not worry about the past.

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  62. It wasn’t until my junior year that I found the right group of people. I didn’t have to pretend that I was a completely different person. They always support me through everything, and didn’t care about whether or not I had the newest technology, or a tattoo. They let me be who I am which led me on my road to self confidence and improvement. I now have good grades, going to college and have a bright future ahead of me.

    I am my own person. I am stuck in this body for the rest of my life whether I like it or not. I am very proud of myself for coming this far and seeing myself where I am now. I cannot wait for the future.

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  63. Being shy set me back. Ever since I can remember, I was always the shy girl that never had much to say. Freshman year I started a new school excited and ready to be more vocal but sadly nothing changed, I was too nervous to get out my comfort zone. Especially since this was not what I was used to, going to a predominantly white school I felt even more different and out of place. On top of that classmates failed to acknowledge me and some took my quietness in a negative way. Some took it as me acting as if I was better than everyone else and in reality, I was just antisocial. As the years went on and I got more comfortable, build relationships with teachers made some friends that encouraged to try new things I began to open up. I became more confident and willing to do things I never thought I would, having a support system like the metro team and some friends it made what I was struggling with more bearable. Not only in school but outside of school I felt more confident in interviews, meeting new people and joining programs to better myself. Believing in yourself, building confidence is still a work in progress for me but I will not let me being shy or nervous stop me from trying new things and creating new connections. This is what I believe things are not always easy but I’m proud of myself.

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    • I’ve had similar experiences with my own shyness in the past. Often, me staying quiet and not being an adventurous kid led to people assuming I was “mature” for my age, when the truth simply was I didn’t know how to apply myself and become socially outgoing. I also agree with how over time, the timidness wanes slightly, but building up self-esteem is a long term process that shouldn’t be rushed.

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  64. Growing up I have constantly been reminded to have faith in myself with everything I desire to achieve. I have also been reminded to never listen to insolent comments regarding things that make me happy. However, self-confidence in my voice is something I struggle with. Ever since I could remember I was singing and performing for my family every chance I got. As I grew, my passion for singing and music grew as well. I did not care much about the opinions of others when I was a little girl, like most children. However, growing up I became shyer and started to care about what other people thought. Even though I receive compliments from family, friends, and mentors I have yet to be fully confident in myself. With the lack of confidence came the lack of motivation. Though singing comes natural to me, there is always room for improvement and I realized that I will never better myself if I do not practice. A huge factor to my lack of confidence is comparing myself to others, which I have learned to never do again. Everyone has their own voice and style and that is what makes them so unique. My confidence is slowly but surely improving everyday as I sing. I believe that pursuing my passion through college and learning more about music, my voice, and myself will unquestionably improve my confidence. I will continue to focus on the good qualities of my voice, but still know there are things to improve. I believe that everyone has a lack of self-confidence and it is not necessarily a bad thing. It means that we’re human and must love our qualities more.

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  65. When I got my first job I was extremely nervous for what I was going to face. It was years ago now but I still remember it vividly. I thought I was going to disappoint my boss, my coworkers, and myself. As I walked in the door for my first shift my stomach was in a knot but i knew I had to keep going. I went up to my boss to say hello and ask what to do for me to to get started. She told me that a coworker would be training me and I will pick it up really fast. I didn’t believe her out of doubt of myself but looking back I know I should have had confidence in myself. As I was being trained that day and the following day I realized that my job was very daunting but it was not impossible. I just had to keep at it and I would be just fine. I have been working at that job for the past three years now and I can say it is something that no one should turn away from but welcome the challenge it presents. Taking challenges while being optimistic is important because you always have a more enjoyable time and you feel accomplished for succeeding in something you are mentally prepared for. Since taking that job I have worked three different jobs and every time I walked in the door with my head held high and ready to learn something about myself. Never doubt yourself or your abilities because you most certainly can surprise yourself.

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  66. I believe in the sober reality that your life is not going to get any better but probably worse. You think that is too pessimistic? I say that is not pessimistic at all. People are too optimistic for their own good, whether it is a supreme entity, who some call God, will get them through a tough time, or that the next pull of the slot machine lever will be their big payoff.
    I think you, the reader, need some background on me to get where I get my belief. I am an Atheist, and while I don’t believe in any god, I could care less what religion someone is, as long as said person does not shove their religion down someone’s throat. I am also a Cynical Nihilist due to my life experiences and the experiences of my parents and grandfather. My parents came to this country from Poland 30 years ago. They grew up when Poland was under a Soviet puppet government and told that in America the toilets are made of gold, the streets were paved with gold, and everyone is rich. No one wanted to help them from the good of their heart, but they would have for the nonexistent money they had. Humans are innately selfish, greedy, and look out for themselves, which is good for survival in the wilderness, but not when you need to help in New York City when you first come to America in the 80’s. Don’t count on anyone, besides yourself.

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  67. Living is a daily struggle, overcoming short and long term issues takes a lot of effort, and along with the idea of taking things one day at a time, or taking things in stride, I also believe in allowing these problems to occur in the first place. If you can stop a problem from arising then by all means do so, but I also believe in allowing unavoidable errors to become learning experiences. Don’t doubt yourself over mistakes, don’t beat yourself up for slowing down. I live by this belief everyday, because if I let every struggle I face eat me alive, I wouldn’t be here to share such beliefs. My junior year of high school was the most troubling academically, as well as mentally. I let everything slip through my fingers. Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t regret my actions. However, I managed to get accepted to college regardless of my past, and I’ve been given the opportunity to rebuild myself from the ground up, which is all I could have hoped for. If I didn’t face those hardships that very well could have taken my life, I wouldn’t be able to appreciate the life that I was given now. I struggle, but I overcome, maintaining the mindset that “if I can get through this or that, I can handle anything.” Giving myself the necessary space to make mistakes, to grow, and to forgive myself, is the most important value I carry with me every day that I live. It’s that very belief that has led to me writing this statement and every other essay I will write in the future, and I’m grateful to be able to say that I have become who I am because of it.

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  68. Growing up my personal example of self empowerment and perseverance was in my family. My mother raised me by herself, which gave me reason to often put an emphasis on the principle of self-reliance in my own life. She was a constant reminder of what I could do while relying on myself in a culture that can often falsely portray the need, especially for women, to have someone to revolve around. Various times she would work extremely hard just to have it end up not working out, but she never failed to know that having the ability to have control over yourself was better than complete dependence on someone else. When I applied this concept of self-reliance to my experiences it helped me to discern when it was okay to depend on another person and when it was not, which can be tough to figure out on your own. Due to this experience it has become one of the most essential qualities I actively try to make use of in the encounters I come across. Later while growing up I found struggles in achieving my own confidence, however being able to empower myself through the convictions I have found in self-reliance it has become easier to develop my self-confidence and expression in what I find to be important to me. Things have often challenged the way I think, which I consider to be significant, but the prevalence of being able to know myself and depend on myself has never been changed.

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  69. Balsam El Alam

    This I Believe

    14 August 2018

    Self-reliance is a virtue. It has helped me become the independent individual I am today. The beauty of self-reliance is that no motherfucker can take credit for anything I have acquired. Throughout my life, My familial situation has caused me to do everything on my own at a very young age. For as long as I could remember, my mother and father have always done the bare minimum. My peers would always have their family’s support. In my situation, I have felt as though the relationship with my foreign parents was very one-sided. My mother and father saw their kids as servants. In their mentality, just bringing a child into the world is enough for a kid to be thankful for. I learned how to do things for myself through being forced to do things for them. Due to the fact of the matter, I have molded myself to take every challenge that I am faced with on my own. I had no choice.

    Throughout my whole academic career, my parents never assisted me with any homework assignments or made any effort to contribute. I had to build the drive to want to learn and manage my own time, as a kid in elementary school, to make sure my homework was done. Fast forward to my senior year of high school, I had to do the whole college process on my own. From college visits to taking out loans and everything in between, I have always taken it upon myself to do things. I have received very little emotional or financial support from others that I had to find comfort within myself.

    I grew to become a very self-reliant and outgoing individual that can take down any barrier. I thank myself for raising myself the way I did. I regret nothing.

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  70. Ever since I can remember I would overthink what I say and get stuck in my own head. I have recurring situations almost every day where I contemplate what the perfect thing to say or respond to someone is. For example, I was at a bowling alley one time and while getting a new bowling ball a girl bumped into me. Almost immediately they apologized to me, although it was absolutely no big deal, and I wasn’t hurt or anything so I wanted to reassure her it was not a problem. All within the milliseconds I took to respond my brain was contemplating the best response because I wanted to show her I was not upset. Originally I was going to say “You’re okay!” but I convinced myself it was too harsh and so I should say “You’re good!”. Sadly since I was thinking so fast about the best option I slurred my words and both responses came out to form “you’re gay” which was the farthest from what I planned. It was offensive and the totally wrong message I was trying to send. Instead, overthinking made me seem angry and so of course I apologized and tried explaining how that came to happen. She understood and we both moved on, but it still haunts me that overthinking can cause this. Insecurity causes my overthinking because of the worry of how others could view me, and my brain constantly picks up on tiny things that have no meaning to anyone else besides me simply because I’ve been conditioned to feel apologetic about the way I feel and the things I say. In my head saying “you are okay” as opposed to “you are good” would leave me seeming negative which to anybody else, probably even the girl, had no difference. If someone said you are okay as opposed to you are good I would have seen no difference. I believe that becoming aware of your insecurities in this way can help you overcome uncomfortable situations like the one I was in. I slowly am getting more aware of my insecurity in conversations which I gradually improve on every day.

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  71. Throughout the trials and changes in my life, there is one thing that I have always remembered. No matter how many people try to help you, you are the one thing that will get between you and your goal. I learned this quickly when I began to have severe back problems my freshman year of high school. I had nerve, disk, and joint problems in my back that caused me severe pain and still continue to bother me. When this first happened, I had friends that supported me and helped me get through it, however, it was a struggle for me at first. I had never been in a situation where I had felt absolutely powerless. As I struggled walking and doing basic functions, I thought that nothing would change and began to believe that I would be stuck in the same spot forever. This caused me to lack self confidence and self esteem. After a while from the help of my friends, family, and doctors; I realized that I needed to change and to join activities that would make me feel better about myself. I started to try more and work out, which made me feel better. I realized that I could change and not be stuck in the same spot. I got a job and began to feel more engaged in school again. I learned that no one can change the situation your in until you decide to change the situation

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  72. Being uncomfortable to most is an adjective describing uneasiness, usually associated with physical pain, in other situations, awkwardness or discomfort. Being uncomfortable is a state of being that promotes growth. When you’re in the state of discomfort there are two options to choose from regarding growth. One must decide to remain in the miserable state or work through the discomfort which promotes growth. To me, there is no growth in comfort. I am a firm believer in the idea of being uncomfortable and using that to move in a direction which will better your life. It has been the best eye-opener; teacher if you will. Looking back at all the times I been uncomfortable, I now know all that I’ve been doing was growing. Comfortability is a zone of protection that holds you back. Being comfortable and then having your whole world shift completely can feel like there is no way out of the rut that you’re in. There was a time in my life when I was comfortable putting my happiness and trust into people who I later felt betrayed me. I was crushed, and extremely uncomfortable, at that point my growth in that experience was to love myself and be happy by myself, I had become more independent and responsible, and without the discomfort, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Growing and working through uncomfortable times made for a better more positive future.

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    • Honestly, your statement inspired me. I never thought of discomfort in that sense before. I have also had struggles in my life where I realized I had to love and focus on myself. Your belief statement was very well said, relatable, and inspiring.

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  73. One thing that I learned is that you really have to work to succeed. Although success might come easier for others, the bottom line is that if you want something, you have to work for it. Back in elementary and middle school, I always was heavier than the other kids. Some kids would make fat jokes and it always annoyed me that they just had it easy being skinny. I used to get fast food regularly and I would drink a soda roughly 3 times a day. I thought nothing of it because it was what I was doing my whole life. I really just wanted to lose that weight and be confident in my own body. I had already been participating in 2-3 sports a year so I chalked up my weight problem to be my genetics. One day my mom was telling me about high fructose corn syrup (the sweetener in most soda) and how it’s absolutely awful for you. From that day on, something clicked and I knew that I needed to cut soda out of my diet. It was difficult at first, but I knew it would be worth it. Soon after, I decided I needed to cut fast food and other sorts of junk out of my diet too, I went cold turkey. I became very aware of the food that I was putting into my body and I was extremely hesitant to eat anything that would be even remotely unhealthy for me. Eventually I started exercising more outside of the sports I was already playing. By my junior year of high school, I had dropped my weight from 175 lbs to 140 lbs. I finally became comfortable in my own body, and it was such a relief. Instead of doing nothing and being upset with my weight I decided that I wanted to make a change, and I put in the work to succeed.

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  74. From the time I entered elementary school, music has been one of the greatest influences in my life. As an experienced instrumentalist and an avid listener of all genres, I believe that music is much more than sequences of sounds or notes on a paper. In fact, music is a powerful medium of expression, advertisement, relatability, and collaboration that can bring people together in friendly relationships or sweeping social movements. From prior experience in a variety of bands, ensembles, and competitions, I have met many people – some dedicated musicians and some who simply performed for a semester – through my time as an instrumentalist. Many of these students and some of the conductors of these groups have become some of my best friends, even as these ensembles broke down and as I moved between schools. Outside of music class, I am interested in a variety of different genres of music, from hip-hop to 70s hard rock to jazz standards. Through my own interest in music, I have been able to relate with people both inside and out of school based on shared music preferences. Even aside from my own experiences, some artists have used the medium to convey a personal goal, a social issue, or a product advertisement to the public. From expressing dismay towards war in Vietnam to promoting the newest line of designer shoes to proclaiming national identity, music has been used for pushing forward a slew of ideas to a public audience in the form of jingles, anthems, and ballads. Through these avenues, I believe that music is a medium in which people can put their lives forward through beliefs, values, and interests.

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  75. Self-confidence is an everyday struggle but the more I work on it, the better I get. My confidence issues started in elementary school. I was bullied for wearing too much black. When I went to a teacher for help, she told me to wear more colors. Because of that I tried to be someone I was not. I was constantly hiding behind a mask. I was so depressed and shy. In middle school it only got worse. My fight to fit in never worked and it only made me feel dejected. I was still being bullied and people started spreading rumors about me. My self-esteem was at an all-time-low. I became negative, bitter, and hateful. When high school approached, I knew I needed to make a change. I was tired of trying to be someone else. I decided to never hide behind a mask again. I decided to believe and love myself. I decided that I did not care what others thought of me. We only get one shot at life and I want to make the most of it. It took me a long time to get to where I am today and I still have more to go but I have enjoyed my long road. Of course it was not easy for me and I had setbacks but anything worth something requires hard work. Once I let go of what others thought of me, it was like a weight of my shoulders. I was finally able to be truly happy and discover who I am. Self-confidence is a very important value to me.

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    • I can relate to your post. At one point I did not have as much self-cofidence as I do now and life was way harder on me. It really is a huge weight lifted when you discover yourself.

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  76. Losing your perseverance is similar to committing suicide in that instead of giving up your life you’ve given up on your ability to truly live. Obviously defining how to truly live depends on the person that you talk to or what your parents taught you. Yet even with that said, we all need to persevere in order to live our lives to the fullest. losing in the face of hatred and sadness is to admit that you have been defeated and let’s be honest, failure is a recurring factor in the successes that we see in our society. There are myriads of descriptions Singers who were once homeless, students who weren’t satisfied with their studies, even people facing any sort of deficit whether that be financial or legal. In spite of the worst, they continued to push onward and recapture the energy to pursue their passion The loss of your passion to work and energy to achieve can only be fixed by you. Why would a person try to help another when they keep denying the help, you don’t just keep feeding the fire. Most people have seen and know what i’m talking about This can lead to a recession in creativity, refusing to move on from said mistake and in the worst of cases, stay living with that mistake in your life. Knowing what not to do sometimes is what people need to be informed about. An example that albeit typical is still fitting, procrastination. It’s something just about everyone has done, yet we refuse to move on from the habit continuously, leaving it to become a concept that our lives have revolved around at some point. Procrastination can be difficult to control but it should not be used as a buffer to shield you from life’s problems. To summarize my point, giving up is not an option in life under any circumstances ever.

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  77. I believe the most important thing in life is to accept that life does not owe you anything. You build your own life and the world is not out to get you. Life is fifty percent what you put into it and fifty percent luck. Once one can accept this major obstacle they can conquer anything, including college.
    I have watched many people in my life blame the world for their problems and complain that life just “isn’t fair”. These particular people in my life seem to spend more time complaining the awful things life has caused them to go through, rather then working to change their lives. Negativity and complaining are energy sucking and simply a waste of time. I believe it is important to move on from your past and to always work to improve yourself. The people who are stuck blaming their problems on others are the same people who will be stuck when trying to move forward in life.
    Self-pity is an awful thing, it is wallowing, blaming and justifying. Seeing other people throw their lives away because of a troubling past has driven me to want to learn from their mistakes and create a better future for myself. In order to be successful in life I believe one must be ready and willing to build their own life.

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  78. “Be as you wish to seem,” reads an immortal quote from Socrates. I often find myself thinking of this quote as I adjust to the independence of adulthood. This is because of the opportunity that this independence brings: the development of a true identity and character that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Growing up as a boring, white, middle-class boy in boring, white, middle-class Franklin MA, I cannot really say that I have had any life-altering experiences that have really shaped who I am today. That’s not to say I don’t have a personality, but rather that, as a result of my upbringing, I am still much a “blank canvas” going into college in terms of how I might live my life in the future. Thus, it is of the utmost importance to paint that canvas with colors of which I can be proud. I want people to know me as a person of moral excellence and success, someone who knows confidently that they live their life right.

    So, as a start, to ensure that I become the good man that I have envisioned, I have begun reading some famous books and essays that I believe might aid me the task. Many reflect ideas of justice and morality as the tenants of a happy and principled way of life. Yet, in spite of my understanding of what makes good character, I’ve still had to ask myself, “How exactly do I incorporate any ideals I might desire into my own life?” After all, it is one thing to know who I want to be known as; it is quite another to be able to make that character a reality.

    In order to heed Socrates’ advice, I believe I must cultivate and utilize two attributes that are imperative to my development: courage and self-discipline. These two attributes, in my eyes, are what allow us to practice all of those other positive attributes that humanity associates with a healthy and moral life, such as integrity, excellence, selflessness, tolerance, generosity, or any other such quality that a good person might be thought of as having. Courage is what allows us to take the most difficult actions at the most critical moments – for instance, risking criticism to think outside the box. Self-discipline, on the other hand, allows us to resist the evil and unjust temptations that might stymie our life journey, such as those brought on by greed, lust, sorrow, or anger. It allows us to study and push ourselves to the limits in becoming the best versions of ourselves.

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  79. Throughout my whole entire life, the main thing I have learned to believe in is courage. Most times, you regret the things you do not say, rather than the things you actually say. As I grew up and faced life’s struggles, my character matured and my beliefs changed drastically. My personality altered and I began to see things differently. My perspectives on things were not what they once used to be. I began to see reality and how terrifying it actually was. My childhood was nearly gone in the blink of an eye. I no longer wanted to grow up and face the real world. I wanted to go back to the days where my biggest worry was what color I should make my next drawing. Throughout my entire life, I wanted to do nothing more than grow up. Now those days are just a mere memory stuck in the back of my brain, something I can never get back. Now, I am actually growing up. However, I further realized that I cannot spend the rest of my life looking back at the past. Time was not going to stop or even slow down, if anything it was only going to go by faster. I have now learned that I have to move into my future head on. Although it is extremely horrifying, I must do it. I must become courageous and make a new life for myself. I am beginning a new chapter of courage and confidence. There will be pain, tears, and weakness in this new chapter. However, I am more than the weaknesses that will be discovered. I am dauntless and I am strong. I am tough in a way that no one else is. I am just like a snowflake in the winter, unique. I will be brave and confident, for myself and my future family. I will be the best version of myself.

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  80. Our beliefs and values are taught to us through stories. My first story was one my dad gave me because it had my name in it. “A Little Princess” by Frances Hodgson Burnett is about a girl who was in a predicament but never let go of her kind nature. For years I carried the message of her strength and kindness from this book with me. As children we are given fairy tales and fables that have life lessons hidden in all their magical worlds. Sharing stories is more than just a form of entertainment. Sharing our stories helps us connect and understand each other, and better convey our thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It is important to share our stories and there are many forms that they can take. One is a two hundred and fifty word post shared with new classmates. Other ways can also be a bit different from the typical written or spoken telling of events, some have shared their story through art, music, or poetry. For example Frida Kahlo told us her feelings and the issues in her life through her paintings. People sharing their stories is how we learn our history. My uncle was in Desert Storm and the family was able to experiences the events through his eyes with his letters to my great grandmother. Now our families sit around the dinner table and listen to the stories of our family tree from our grandparents. We are built from stories. I believe in stories.

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  81. People always commented about my weight and I had always tired to ignore it; however; after a while, I couldn’t help but feed into their opinions about my body. I had always tried to escape the comments scrambling in my mind. Whenever I looked in the mirror I told myself “I need to eat more” or “I’m too skinny”.” Words hold a lot of power. People would call me anorexic, bony, thin, etc. The list could go on. Every time someone commented about my body, I would attempt to stand up strong and try to not listen to the words, but deep down, it teared me apart, leaving me to wonder, “why people can’t keep their comments to themselves?” Why do we have to please the world and fit society’s ideal image of the perfect body?

    In today’s society the media portrays you to be a certain number on the scale. Such as you have to look “beautiful” to reach many likes on social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. You can’t be too fat, but you always can’t be too skinny. People today are doing everything to make their face and bodies meet requirements in order to be “perfect.” People do things that range from dabbing on makeup to getting cosmetic surgery. These people think by making these type of modifications, society will view them as beautiful, but we all need to learn the foundation about loving ourselves the way we are. It doesn’t take seven dollars mascara or a thousand dollar surgery to make us look beautiful. Today, females are so afraid of whether or not people are judging them, but that’s not to say I have not struggled with the same problems as well. The media has turn into the world’s pageant show. We must learn to take a look in the mirror and love what we see.

    Throughout high school I struggled to accept my weight. I told myself I need to meet certain goals in order to have the ideal body. One day, I stopped and looked in the mirror. As I stared at my reflection, I saw a sad girl who was trying too hard to make society happy, rather than herself. It was time to say “I love my body just the way it is”. Trying to fit others expectations is not important or worth the time and effort.

    I had always been embarrassed of being an x-small and when that wasn’t available, having to sneak myself into the kids section. These “flaws” are what make me unique. I realized that if I continued to live my life trying to please society, I would never be happy. I had to learn to self love. According to Joyce Marter “ Self-love is a journey. It takes dedication, devotion, and practice. Resolve to love yourself each and every day and watch your best self blossom and your greatest life unfold! Self-love is an exponential force”

    You don’t need anyone to tell you are beautiful. Having the force to knock the negativity away is essential in order to acceptance yourself as you are. At the end of the day, you are who you are and should be.Although it was difficult, I had to build my confidence to embrace my size and shape. As corny as the saying is, beauty comes from within.

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  82. I believe that there is something terribly wrong with the culture that we have bred. We have created spores that endlessly germinate within and without of our fragile bodies. But it is not a toxin that degenerates the cell, withers muscle, or disintegrates bone. No, for if it were, there would be hope for a cure. It is the mold of ignorance that invades the very core of our brains.
    I believe I have been able to pin down this ignorance into two major categories: ignorance that results into the unnecessary hatred of others, and ignorance that results in the hope of an easier life without effort. For hatred, every one of us sees it every day. Murder, assault, rape, humiliation, disownment, and so much more against others for the most trivial of reasons. It could be the pigmentation of their skin, their sexual orientation, their gender, or their lifestyle choices. Even something as small as a difference in opinion could result in a knife to the jugular, or a bullet in the lungs. Imagine the frustration of dying on a filthy floor with a chunk of metal lodged in your chest cavity, while your lungs fill with blood, bile, and regret. It is a feeling of helplessness. It is the feeling of hope draining from your body, unable to stop what has already been done.
    Yet, even that helplessness is ignorant, for there is hope for a better tomorrow. We are ignorant for believing that the world will change for better, but that someone else will do it. But who is that someone else? The more we rely on this “someone else,” the less real they seem, for things seem to stagnate in terms of change. From all this hatred and violence, it has created in one single resounding believe within me: nothing I want will ever get done unless I do something about it. I am to blame for my fate and my choices. The decisions I make and the actions I choose are mine alone, and are not the fault of some higher power controlling me. It is all me, and I can either choose to sit back and do nothing, or get up and clip the weed at the root.
    This I believe.

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  83. Self reliance and all of that stuff plays an important part in my life because I’ve always believed that a person is relatively inadequate as a functioning member of society if they need constant assistance from those around them. I have always found that while an employer, teacher, friend, or family member might let me down, if I handle all of my own problems with an attitude that I can get through it, then I can always succeed. A lot of kids at the high school where I went to liked to blame their teacher if they got a bad grade, or would exclaim with frustration when their parent didn’t pay their cell phone bill on time, instead of just owning their own problems and handling stuff themselves. I also witnessed a lot of people be frustrated at themselves for things they couldn’t control though, like their appearance or how bad they did at school. Seeing other people struggle with self acceptance made me accept who I was even more I guess. Like so what if I’m not the fastest kid on the soccer field or can’t do calculus well, as long as I can take care of myself in life, I’m doing good I figure. So yeah I have no idea how long this thing is supposed to be because I skipped the speech about it at orientation but whoever saw this thanks for reading I guess.

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  84. What makes something mysterious is the fact that little is known about it. For me, stars are this way. Us as humans have general knowledge about not only stars but also other humans with very few of them being experts on the subject. Different types of stars shine in different ways and colors and also for different amounts of time. Unlike stars people can choose when they shine and for how long, but nothing is able to shine forever. You have to choose wisely when doing so. Some people prefer to be exceptional at school, others at sports and others; have yet to find out what they shine at. It’s important for those people especially to try new things without being judged and harassed. Fear is a natural emotion that everyone gets and often times it is paired with jealousy. Some might try and stop these people from finding out what they shine at out of fear or may become jealous if they are better than them. Stars don’t compete with each other in the way humans do because they aren’t living. Imagine if we could do what stars do. Shine without anyone telling us not to. To be confident in ourselves is most important in this world. We should not worry so much about what other people think and just be ourselves. Everyone shining, together, peacefully. You may not know what talents could be hiding inside of you or someone else unless we let them try. You can’t do this however if you don’t dare to shine.

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  85. Self confidence is a common topic in this day and age. Everyone is perfect. Everyone should love themselves. Everyone maybe different, but hey if we were all the same life would be pretty bland wouldn’t it? Different makes the world turn what’s wrong with that? If for some reason you don’t love yourself, well there are a few words that I live by that could help. I personally lack in the self confidence department, but it doesn’t stop me from enjoying my day. The key to my happiness and confidence rests in the hands of my loving friends and family. Each and every one of them knows how I feel about myself and do their best to make me love myself. What I am trying to say is that you need to surround yourself with people who care about you. The people who really care about you will stop at nothing to keep you smiling. Which leads me to my next word of advise. I try my hardest to smile through any situation. It’s not just for my sake, but for others as well. Smiling gives people a sense of comfort. When you see someone smile it usually makes you feel at ease knowing that someone else is happy. I smile to help the self esteem and self confidence of others as well as my own. If I can smile and make someone else smile then i feel like I’ve done a good thing. In conclusion, I believe everyone is different and perfect and that we should all be loved. I believe we should all keep smiling.

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    • Cameron, I relate to this entirely. The beginning of high school was not easy for me, but having friends by my side really helped me improve in all aspects of life, not just my lack in self-esteem but in the quality of my life.

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  86. Self Reliance and
    Rose
    08/14/18

    All I’ve ever allowed myself to count on is self Reliance;growing up I was very mature and just wanted to be strong all the time,It was hard at times to be a kid ,be vulnerable,and let my parents take charge. I believed that being independent and having self reliance meant that I had to reject help; I never realized how much pressure I was putting on myself to act as if I’m always strong and alright in front of everyone. I would neglect asking for help and just wanted to count on myself and only myself to handle things that were just out of my reach. Since turning eighteen I know that relying on,myself is important but it’s okay to take off the load when there’s someone willing to help you carry it, whether it be friends or family. I know it can be hard to fully trust others when you truly believe that you got everything under control but recently I’ve been slowly learning that life does not always go according to plan.”Trust thyself:every heart vibrates to that iron string’’ (Emerson),I believe that learning to trust oneself is really important because at times you need to have your own best interest at heart and able to be independent. We all need to let go and rely on someone else for a change,it doesn’t mean we’re any less independent or any less capable,it means we’re letting the people that care about us the most step in and be there to help.

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  87. We’re all transitioning to a new school this year, but way back in 2nd grade, I switched from a k-12 private school in Boston to a public school in the town I live in. This may seem minor, but it definitely changed me. I was extremely vocal and felt comfortable in the private school. This was also the group I’ve known since pre-k. So once I learned that I would transfer to a completely new school, I became nervous and shy which caused me to not talk much unless spoken to. I coped by picking up what I do now, drawing. Eventually I made a few friends through art. However, I was still reserved, the opposite of what I had been.
    As time went on, I went through middle and high school in the same town, but I was still very much introverted and known as the nice quiet kid. Sophomore year was when I decided to be more open and change my ways and joined many clubs along with track. By the end of that year, I became the VP of my class and a leader in clubs as well as becoming an adviser that introduced and aided the freshman with their first year of high school. From then on, I was more extroverted while maintaining the calmness that I gained from my earlier years. Moreover, I’m more excited than anything to start another chapter. I’m so happy that I pushed myself and I believe self-confidence only helps oneself.

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  88. I’ve never been a good writer or the best at getting the words from my head down onto a piece of paper. So, when I’m asked what is it that I believe in, so many things come to mind. I believe in the moon landing and I believe in ghosts, but most importantly I believe in myself. A few years ago I don’t think I would be able say that I believe in myself. Throughout my life I’ve always been known as the quiet and shy girl and I became really good at playing that role and with that role came a huge lack of self confidence. Not until I began to find my voice to speak up about things that I thought would benefit those in need or until I found things that interested me and that I was proud to speak about I was able to find some of that confidence that I had been lacking. I believe that having the ability to believe in yourself is an integral part of being able to grow as a person. Once you’re able to believe in yourself to do what it is that you want to do and achieve I think that it’s so much easier to do those things. I know that believing in myself definitely hasn’t solved all of my self confidence issues, but I think that it’s a great place to start and the more that I believe in myself, the easier it is to do things that I enjoy.

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  89. Within the last few years of my life, I have noticed a hefty personality change regarding myself. Over the short four year period of high school, I realized that working on myself and my passions were especially important. I was able to better myself though an active lifestyle and express myself through art. I believe many people overlook art as merely a product to look at. To me, art is the easiest way to express your ideas, personality, beliefs, and other passions. During senior year of high school, I had a numerous amount of obstacles to face at home and in school. However, I was elected President of my school’s chapter of the National Art Honor Society which gave me a beam of hope and motivation. This goes to prove that hard work, self-expression, and individuality is recognized.I have no doubt that self-expression takes on various forms in relation to a diverse society, but it is always found. Whether it is art, sports, music, or exercise, people require an outlet to be able to indicate their personality and voice. Everyone must find their outlet and use it as a way to grow, cope, be inspired, and to inspire others. I was inspired by my art teachers, who educated me in various forms of art, to use art as my outlet, plus I hope to inspire others with my artwork. Without outlets of expression, people may build up physical or mental barriers which could lead to consequences. Society should be more accepting of others and their outlets of expression. If individuals did not have their own form of expression, would they really be considered “individuals”?

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  90. I have always had an interest in science from a young age. Science has always been something I’ve been good at and done well in. I always look up to my science teachers and admired them. Throughout middle school, I lost myself a little bit. I thought I was supposed to act a certain way because that’s how the other girls acted and it only got worse as I moved on to high school. Everyone has trouble in high school no one thinks its fun or amazing and I think I was tricked into thinking it was supposed to be. I thought I was supposed to go to parties and have lots of friends which I didn’t and I drifted apart from the ones I did have because I went to a different school. I had a really difficult thing happen to me and it took my confidence. I was really disgusted with myself and thought it was my fault. I didn’t see myself as pretty anymore but I felt worthless. I felt alone and I hid it from everyone, I wore a fake smile because I didn’t want anyone to see the pain underneath. It wasn’t until recently I started to find my way, I remembered who I was. The girl my mother raised me to be. I started to get to know myself and who I am and l slowly started to gain my confidence back. The part of me who loves science and was passionate started to come through all by itself. I realize what I want to do is help people who are like the way I used to be. Maybe they just need a little push to remember who they used to be.

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  91. When I attempt to try and think about something that I really believed in, the very first thing that comes to my mind is myself. Why do I choose to believe in myself? Well, after already just 18 years of being alive in this very exciting world, I have been shown countless times and come to the conclusion that the only way that you are able to be completely content with the way that you and your life are, is to be completely true to yourself and what you believe in. For so many long years I listened only to what my family said was right or wrong to do, and what was right to believe but living like that I wasn’t actually truly happy just going through my life with no purposes, none of my own thoughts and opinions, and that is really no way to live without some type of issues coming from it. Once I decided that I had enough of everyone else’s opinions I was able to begin to create and come up with my own thoughts. Since then I have been able to be genuinely happy, proud with my true self. I am so pleased that I was able to remove myself and learn to to listen and try to understand other people when they tell me an opinion that might be different then my own. Which can be difficult at times when you get in to tough conversation but as long as you stay true to yourself and you are respectful of other people’s ideas everything in the end will be alright.

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  92. There are a lot of thing that create success and I’m strongly believe that self-confidence is a big part of any successful people. Moving to a different country two years ago was very difficult for me. I have to learn a new language, culture, go to school get good grade,… Everything was tough in my first year because I didn’t have enough self-confidence to practice my speaking at first with anyone that speaking english around me. That prevented me to attend to school activities, making new friends, giving my best in studying. I didn’t really have anyone to help me to improve my situation by myself. Seeing that my parent had sacrificed everything for me to have a better future, opportunity I realized no one can help me but myself. I started talking to other people in school turn out they are nice people, they don’t judge or make fun of me for my different accent, my bad english. Thanks for believing in myself I’m still improving my new life. I joined the soccer team this year, made more friends, I got a job and now I got accepted to a college. My new life in this new country is getting better and better and there are a lot of parts going in to creating success but first you have to believe in yourself. I believe in self-confidence.

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  93. The only experiences that come to mind when asked what has shaped me all come from the theater department in my high school. Now, I don’t want to come off as just a ‘theater kid’ because I don’t think that a title such as that can be used to describe a whole person and everything they’ve lived through. Having said that, the theater department is where I flourished. When I started my first year of high school, I had to adapt to many different things. I was transitioning from a private school, having only twenty five kids in my class to a public high school with almost four hundred kids in my class. The night right before my freshman year was full of excitement but the night right after my first day was full of despair. Needless to say, my freshman year was not so great. So, as sophomore year approached, I was found, again, in my room crying and not wanting to go to school. Of course, I couldn’t just not go so I had to yank myself out of bed and put on a fake smile as I walked into my airport of a school. I honestly just wanted to go home and never return. BUT THEN everything changed when I auditioned for the fall play of Picnic. This was my first time going out to auditions. Everything goes pretty well, I get a callback and I stay at the school for another four hours. Then I wait. When the cast list was posted, I find my name right next to the role of Flo Owens. I was in awe. There were only twelve roles and almost fifty people auditioned. Now the reason I talk about this is because that was when my whole life was kickstarted. After I got that role and got more comfortable with being on the huge stage, I started to participate more in the improv club I had joined freshman year. I continued to participate in the fall play and spring musical every year. I also became the secretary of the improv club my junior and senior year. All these things just boosted my confidence and connected me with so many amazing people. When I walked down the hall, people would shout my name and say hi to me. I was more comfortable talking with strangers in my classes. Everyday after school, I would almost always look forward to a rehearsal or improv meeting.Having experienced so much love and acceptance from all these amazing people at my highschool, all I want to do is do for others what they did for me. I want to make someone feel accepted and loved and supported. As I leave my high school and go to college, I hope to share so many new experiences with a whole new group of people.

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  94. My whole entire life I’ve struggled with my self confidence and self esteem. I feel like being such a shy and introverted little girl back then set me back from where I’m at now. Back in middle school, I used to only stick to the 2-3 friends that I had. The days they didn’t show up to school, I would be nervous to branch off and engage with other people. I didn’t want people to judge me off of the little interaction that I had gave them. I didn’t want people to not like me, so I just stuck to the people that did. This has a huge effect on me now because I’m lowkey still the same way. The only thing that’s different is that I’m not necessarily scared to engage with other people, I just choose not to. Only because I know I’m good on my own. With having this type of mindset, I never really got a chance to cross my comfort zone until I reached high school. I had changed schools which meant I wasn’t going to be around the friends that I made in middle school. So I was forced to kind of break from the antisocial shell and meet other students. I didn’t like it but I knew I had to do it. Talking to people more made me a lot more confident to the point where I made a lot of friends, I was open enough to express my feelings and opinions towards certain people. I still feel to this day that I need some more work on my confidence but I can say that I’vemade a a huge improvement.

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  95. Throughout most of my life I was too afraid to allow myself to be who I really am. I would constantly surround myself with people who never truly accepted me for who I was. All throughout high school I would always try so hard to fit in with everyone else, instead of being who I really was. Even when I would hang out with a group of friends, most of the time I would still feel as if i was alone. As time went on the people who I thought were my friends started to drift apart from me. When I walked across the stage on the day of my graduation I felt as if I was surrounded people who I didn’t even know. Shortly after, I slowly began to realize that I was uncomfortable with the way I was living my life. I decided that it was time for me not be afraid to let people know who I really was. Shortly after I graduated from high school I began to associate with a group of people who accepted me, and appreciated me for the person that I am. As I began to surround myself with these people, I noticed that I had a much more positive outlook on my life. Through my associations with these people, I had come to the realization that there is no time in the short journey of life to allow yourself to be anything other than the greatest version of yourself that there is.

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  96. I believe in not letting the past tell your story,
    I believe that everyone in the world goes through things. Whether it happened at a young age, once you got into the teens, or even as an adult, everyone goes through things that might have a huge impact on their life. Have your parents split up? Do you struggle with yourself at hard times because you think no one else has your back? Does one of your parents struggle with substance abuse? All these things can change the life someone once lived, it can be good or bad and that is where you come in to prove my belief. It wasn’t until I was older that I started to realize why it felt like I was raising myself but once I hit my preteens I realized that the feeling was real. My mother was more worried about her next drink instead of the next meal that came into the house. When you witness things like that you can’t help but make a choice to give up and be the same or better yourself and make sure you never become that person. I chose the better path and because of that I am the first child out of my 5 other siblings to graduate from high school and get accepted into college . I believe in making a story for yourself and not letting the past define you. Believe in yourself to conquer any obstacles.

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  97. Ever since I could remember I was always good with electronics, honestly I couldn’t tell you why. Maybe it was because my foreign parents only gave us a half function computer that collected dust in the basement. One rule was to never mention watching television it was an immediate lecture on the spot and eventually led to go read a damn book, which meant our only option was to use the computer. Eventually, I became more interested in computers. Building them, Coding, and then Hacking. One specific day at school led to a turn of events when a teacher told us we would be too stupid to figure out the how to change our grades. Day by day we gathered information until junior year, we cracked the admin login/ password and gotten access to the entire school system to change our grades and manage all accounts. We had access to everything including financial information, medical records but it didn’t interest us. Just helping out kids failing and proving our point to the teacher that told us we were too stupid to accomplish such a small feat, which eventually led to my 4-day off book suspension. I learned it doesn’t matter what anyone says, whether you can or can’t do something all that matters is that you know you can and that you can apply it in a manner that doesn’t negatively affect anyone. This experience led me to realize that I can do so much more with my knowledge and that why I’ve enrolled myself into Umass Dartmouth for Software Engineering.

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  98. I grew up thinking silence was a necessity. Maybe I thought this way because in the eye of every storm is silence, or because at the end of the hardest day I could always count on silence to soothe any physical or mental wounds. Maybe it was because I knew my silence was the voice of my fear crying out for help. I was silent because no matter how right I was it was much easier to keep my own hands over my mouth than fear someone else’s coming to steal what little voice I had. As I grew I found a voice, not my own voice however, but a voice that said the exact things I knew everyone wanted to hear and the words that would keep me safe. A voice that despite not being in the mouth of its rightful owner has been a loyal protector to me throughout my life. A voice that I trust to keep me safe, because I believe our voice is our most powerful weapon.

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  99. Too much self-confidence or self esteem? Does that even exist? If so how would you define it? Many would define over confidence as “having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities”. However, they fail to realize that they are only defining arrogance. I believe that between the personality traits, confidence and arrogance lies a fine line. To me a person can never have too much self-confidence. In fact, confidence is essential to one’s happiness. Take me for example, many would classify me as a young female who’s funny, brave, outspoken and happy. But that was all a mask to cover up reality. To be completely honest I’ve always struggled with fitting in with my peers. As a child I was always chunky, by junior year I was 5’1 weighing 168 pounds basically obese as told by my physician. Each look at my tummy in the mirror was extremely devastating for me. My dreadful oily acne prone skin only made matters worse. I would spend my entire biweekly Chipotle checks on weight loss assistance and facial products that failed me each and every time. There was nothing I wanted more than to look like those famous Instagram models. When I was alone I would secretly cry, never letting anyone see me at my weakest. Confidence in myself seemed non-existent. Now as a 5’ 1” high school graduate weighing 130 pounds however still with craters and pimples layered on my cheeks, I’ve accepted all the flaws that make me Lovety Greene. I reached the realization that I would never be perfect but that’s not stopping me from believing that I’m a close second. At times you might hear me refer to myself as a queen. Reason? Well it’s because a queen understands her role as a leader, she loves herself , she “practices self-control, self-awareness, and self-worth despite her circumstances or environment” making her fearless and unstoppable. The reason I’m telling you this is because everyone should look within themselves and develop their own form of self confidence it will make a huge difference in your life. Raise your chins up and adjust your crown because I believe that with self-confidence we are all kings and queens.

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  100. I believe in the power of optimism. Not the kind that says that the wine glass is half full, on a decoration sold at TJ Maxx, but the kind where you have to tell yourself that everything will be okay, until it actually is. Throughout my junior year of highschool, my mom underwent four brain surgeries as a last attempt to control her epilepsy. Along with other personal troubles, junior year, to say the least, was rough. My grades fell far below what I was capable of, and were mistaken by teachers for a lack of care. My guidance counselor recommended community college, but my dad said that he wasn’t going to waste his money on college for me, and would save the tuition for my younger brother, who had better grades. Since nobody else believed in me, I had to believe in myself. Over the summer, I learned a lot about making the best of the situations life gives you. Happiness comes down to the effort you put into it; the effort of being your best self, the effort of putting your life into perspective to appreciate what’s taken for granted, and most importantly, the effort of picking yourself back up, because no one else can do it for you. I finished the first quarter of senior year with high honors, and a list of colleges to apply to. We all have countless hardships in our lives, but I believe that optimism is what helps us come out stronger.

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  101. When my younger brother was 15 years old he was diagnosed with mild autism. My entire life I was constantly worrying about him; what is he doing and what’s his next move. I never could understand what exactly was going on inside his head. My mom, who divorced my dad when I was 7, struggles on how to deal with my brothers disability alone, while also raising two other kids. Being the oldest sibling is weird due to the fact that you are held at a higher standard, since you have an influence on your younger siblings. At the same time, you are also just trying to grow up and figure things out.
    I had a hard time during middle school and high school because it seemed as though my brothers disability, even before it was diagnosed, took up most of my mother’s attention. I didn’t know when or how to talk to her because she always seemed so stressed out, but I still had to try and set a good example. It bothered me seeing how much my friends loved talking to their parents, but half way through senior year I started to realize that, even though I still felt like a kid, I really wasn’t. I was raised as a leader and to be self reliant. So I worked hard to find my own happiness from within, instead of hoping for my mom to do something about it. I worked after school and on weekends, so I didn’t have to ask her for money. It felt good to be own your own, but also not on your own at the same time. I think the most important thing in life is to never wait for things to change if you can’t change them yourself. If you can’t change it yourself, accept it and move on to something that you can, because that’s where real happiness is.

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    • This particular comment resonates with me so well due to the fact that I can relate to the same feelings that you experienced. My brother was diagnosed with mild Autism at the age of 4 years, and ever since then I have attempted with all of my being to be the best role model for him as he grows up. My parents work long shifts at work, so I am often the person to pick him up from school and care for him. I experienced similar stresses growing up; constantly worrying about the well-being and actions of my brother is the most prevalent stress for me and always has been. I’ve never really been a person who feels comfortable talking about my family life, so I thank you for expressing yours.

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    • Wow, your story is honestly amazing. I can completely relate to being the oldest and setting a certain standard for your younger siblings. Still it’s really amazing to see how you’ve worked hard for yourself.

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    • My mother is actually a teacher for children with autism and various types of special needs. Growing up, I would be allowed to assist in her classroom. I understand the perspective of a family who is new to the disability, and I have witnessed it most of my life. Instead of dwelling on the realities of the situation, you took matters into your own hands and became a role model for your younger siblings. Congrats on all you’ve over come and I wish the best for you and your family!

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    • I’ve realized in life nothing comes in life unless you’re confident in what you’re doing and comfortable in your own skin. Some people naturally were born with a lot of confidence that they are not afraid to engage in anything. some people were did not come up the same way, and are scared of being judged or by others. Self-confidence cannot be taught, but is can be fixed by slowly going through the process of believing yourself. In order to gain self-confidence, you need to see how others do it. its never easy but you have to learn how to accept yourself for the person you are, you’re not the only person going through the same struggle. you have to realize that everyone in the world goes through their own problems, you just have to find a solution to deal with yours. One of the major ways to obtain confidence is acting like you’re confident, even when not. you can’t show that you’re uncomfortable with yourself to others because that is when people see you as weak. Acting will start to turn into truly being self-confident and having high self-esteem.
      in conclusion, confidence is a characteristic that everyone struggles with at one point, but can be achieved by trusting your own abilities and speaking with others that are supportive. Mark Twain once said, “The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.” Being comfortable in your own skin is the key to achievement and enjoyment in life, so start with some confidence.

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    • When I was growing up, my grandfather was my rock. He was my absolute idol. To me, he could do absolutely nothing wrong. He was strong, independent, and fought tooth and nail just to get what he wanted in life. He always told me that the only way you achieve anything is if you stand out, or if you have something to prove. These things seemed to resonate within me everyday, and then my freshman year he passed away. It left me feeling empty, afraid, and unsure of my future, but most importantly, it left me reflecting on past experiences with the man who I thought of as my hero, the man who practically raised me. He urged me in every sense to take charge, to be independent. He wanted me to fight for what I believed I deserved. He never let me off easy, he never gave me handouts , and he never tried to cheat the system for me no matter how much I begged and pleaded. He wanted me to be a black sheep in the crowd, someone who could stand out and excel, and so I did. I fought every turn, every chance I could, to achieve my goals, and everyday I thank my grandfather for instilling that resilliance within me. For never giving me handouts even when I begged and pleaded, even when I cried to him in the middle of the night about how stressful everything was becoming. He helped me achieve my goals. I am the black sheep in a crowd and I’m proud of it because of him.

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    • Callie, I have struggled through a similar experience with my younger brother. Your emotions and experiences struck a chord with me. I am also the older sibling of a young autistic brother, it has been a hard journey, but in the end, its the journey to our self reliance and independence that matters.
      Courtney Simpson

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  102. I saw Taylor Swift over the summer and it’s going to make a lot of people roll their eyes, but something she said really resonated with me.
    Of course, her most recent album centers on reputations, and she mentioned that we don’t mind people talking about us as long as it is in line with the way we see ourselves. When people start saying things about you that are so far beyond the way you perceive yourself, it can cause a disconnect.
    Last year, I had a falling out with a close friend, and we both said awful things to each other, and none of it probably said anything true about what kind of people we really are. Seeing Taylor Swift up there dancing with her snakes made me realize why I had still carried this bitterness with me: it’s because I hadn’t learned to reclaim what she said to me and let it go. I was still questioning moves I shouldn’t have and new friendships I made, all in the fear that I would slip up and it would all blow up in my face like she said it would.
    I believe in letting those words go. Your self-perception is your own, and it shouldn’t be tainted by someone else. It’s important to hear people out because no one is beyond criticism, but there comes a point when you have to stop listening to them. In most cases, you are not the person someone else says you are.

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  103. I believe in that in our society we have grown a dependence on others and their support. One of the best lessons I have ever learned is that with belief in yourself and confidence you can achieve great things. I learned this lesson my junior year of high school in football. Pre-season practice was coming to a close and I had not yet secured my goal of securing the starting spot for my position. My coach approached me and told me something I will never forget, “You are playing great and there is nothing else we could ask of you, but there are just some people you are never going to beat out.” At this point I knew that I was the only one that was pulling for myself. I knew what he didn’t. I had the skill. I had the knowledge. I had the capability. I couldn’t rely on anyone else to change his opinion. I had to show him that I was able to consistently outperform the athlete he believed to be superior to me. In those final days of preseason practice, I did everything I could to show him that I was the athlete he could rely on. The very next week I ended up winning the starting role and ended up maintaining it throughout the entire year and the next year as well. By maintaining my work ethic and my belief in myself, I ended up Captain and MVP my senior year.

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    • Hey Jacob, I found your story to be very inspiring. Some people would have just given up after hearing what your coach said to you and just accepted it as fact. You however, were strong enough to use that as motivation to prove your coach wrong, to prove that your confidence in yourself was well placed. Having support from the people around you is a great thing, but without you believing in yourself it won’t amount to anything. The first step to achieving greatness is realizing that you can reach your goals and then working hard to attain them.

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  104. I never had much self-confidence growing up, and I grew up fast. I had to be mature so my autistic brother wouldn’t try to do what I did. Because of that, and many other things, I felt like a wallflower among wallflowers. Beginning in freshman year of high school I was diagnosed with anorexia for the next 3 years. With any mental illness you have to reshape your whole life. After you’ve spent so much time recovering you don’t know who you were without the illness, but at the same time you don’t want to be who you were before. So who am I? I figured it out with time.
    Nevertheless, I wouldn’t try to change my past. This isn’t me saying that I’m happy I went through it all to become who I am today. I wish I could have found a better way to become who I am. However, through it all I became so much more aware of others and their struggles, it shapes who I became, and honestly I may have become a different person if I hadn’t gone through it all.
    The struggle pushed me to learn how to love myself. How to be more confident. Those are the things I needed and I don’t know if I would have gotten without my illness. Being a nurse is my way to provide kids with the resources they need like I did. I can advocate for illnesses that, now I see, don’t get enough support or acknowledgment.

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    • Katie, this is an incredibly brave post to share. It shows how through tribulations, life makes a full circle. The inclination to help others through your own experiences is extremely liber tarting on your end; lots of patients in the future will appreciate this aspect of your life, I know it.

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    • Katie, I can most definitely relate to your experiences and beliefs. I too, had to grow up faster than most kids do. At a young age my father passed away and I developed body image issues as well. I completely agree with your mentality. Sometimes in life, we go through very tough situations but it is the lessons that we take away from them that really define who we are and help us through life. I admire your strength for sharing your experiences!

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  105. I grew up learning that love was meant to be a certain way. That men were dominant and got to choose what their wife’s life looked like. All my life I saw my mother throw away her dreams so that my dad could do what he wanted and so that he was satisfied. When my parents got married, my mom gave up her studies towards her PhD so that my dad could move to America and follow his own dreams. I guess someone had to give up something, but why was it always my mom? When I looked at my future, I didn’t want to give up anything for a man. I didn’t want to live my life according to someone else’s rules, and I certainly did not want to become submissive like my mother either. Don’t get me wrong, I looked up to my mom. She was a strong woman and even though she did make choices that weren’t her own, she always told me to never make the same mistakes she did. “No matter what you do, don’t ever let a man take over your life and tell you what to do. Be an independent woman, make your own decisions, and create your own life.” This was the best advice I had ever received in my life. My mom knew that she hadn’t set a great example for how she wanted her daughter to grow up and get married, but she made every effort to remind me that I could be anything I wanted and anyone I wanted, without the influence of a man. The funniest part of the whole thing is that I’m gay.

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    • Ruchira, my mother also has taught me my whole life to be an independent woman and to not let anyone, including men, to determine my future for me. I believe that this is a very important subject and all girls should be taught from a young age about women empowerment.

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    • Ruchira, thank you for sharing this! It is very sad how strong women often find themselves cut down mid-bloom due to the way they were raised to see family and gender roles- my own mother never finished her degree because she got pregnant, and quit completely for almost thirty years to raise a family instead of asking my father to pause his schooling to help her achieve her dreams. It can be frustrating to think about sometimes, but it’s good to learn from the mistakes of those that came before us!
      aaaaa that last line- same. Good luck with your first year, I hope it’s everything you dreamed and more!

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    • This is very inspiring because I know young women who are very willing to give up everything they’ve worked hard for, for a man. The advice your mother gave you should be instilled in every woman, in my opinion. Also, I love that you added your sexuality in the end, it made me laugh!

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  106. During this past year of high school I was given the opportunity to train and run a marathon. Although I was skeptical and had no idea how it could be done some of my friends had been apart of our school’s marathon training club in the past and had convinced me to join. As the weeks of training went on running had taken a physical toll on my body. I was always sore and running five miles after school followed by club meetings and dances classes had left me squeezing in homework and studying between everything that I could. Saturdays were no longer days that I could sleep in and spend time with friends, they were spent waking up at 6:30 a.m. running as much as 20 miles, and then going home and spending the rest of the day miserable in bed. I was always exhausted.
    Nothing about training for a 26.2 mile race was easy, and the mental challenge was more intense then the physical one. I quickly had to learn that although I had a lot of support from my fellow runners and community, the mindset that I kept was going to be the only thing that would get me through the training. Running a marathon became more about finding it within myself to keep going when everything got tough. At any moment I had the opportunity to tap out and say that the pain wasn’t worth it, but I knew that being able to persevere through everything would be the greatest reward at the end of that journey. Most of all training for a marathon had distilled in me that I am the only person responsible for achieving my own goals in life.

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    • This is what I realized when I started running cross country in my high school! It’s insane how powerful the mind is and how if you convince yourself you can, then you can.

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  107. At the age of fifteen, my uncle told me something that always stuck to me, “I am proud of the person you turned out to be.” I was listening when he said it, but I never understood what it meant until now.
    My parents were together for about seven years before they separated. Their separation caused my brothers and I to go from living in one happy home to two completely different homes. I went from seeing my mother everyday to sometimes and my father was always working.
    I was born and mostly raised in the small city of Lawrence, Massachusetts with my dad and brothers. For those of you who don’t know much about Lawrence, it is said to be “one of the most dangerous cities to live in.” Growing up in a city where crimes lurk the streets daily, people automatically assume you won’t make it out. Even some of my own family members thought that my brothers and I were going to turn out to be delinquents and we were able to prove them wrong.
    I was finally able to understand what my uncle meant and I was able to see what he always saw in me. He saw a young girl with ambition and purpose. My uncle was well aware of my struggle of not growing up with much guidance and on top of that, living in an area that seemed hopeless to outsiders. He knew that I could have turned out way worse than I did. Due to the circumstances of my life at home, I was forced to grow up and that gave me the advantage to figure out the world on my own. It made me strengthen all of my weaknesses. It made me the person I am today.

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  108. Katherine Smith
    15 August, 2018

    THIS IS WE BELIEVE

    When people ask me how I overcome trials and tribulations, especially over the previous year, I tell them it is my mindset. I am strong in my beliefs that your mindset can completely affect your success and overall outcome. Whether it’s for the better or worse your perception of things can change your whole entire life, such as the familiar term optimism and pessimism.
    Going into something new, such as being an incoming freshmen at UMD, can create a lot of overwhelming and anxious feelings. Similar to starting a new school year, if you tell yourself you are going to have a bad day, bad week, or even bad year sets you up for failure by default.
    Focusing on things such as the stress of work or finals or even the “freshman fifteen” can show a translation in your lack of effort and performance. While others see a new school year as new opportunities, especially a new school. Opportunities to try groups/organizations you did not in high school or were not available to you yet, making new friends, and learning useful things you will need in the adult world. College sets you up to be successful for the real world, and just like the real world you get what you give.
    In my eighteen years I have never heard of someone sucuessful not believing in themselves, even when money was on the line or loved ones did not have the same faith as they did. People with these mindsets have been known to defeat the odds and come out in triumph. Many of the media figures that influence me have struggles, whether it be family, mental illness such as anxiety, or financial. A large majority of the people get stuck in that cycle of life because they feel hopeless. Those who believe they can break that cycle, often times come out on the outside better than ever.

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    • I completely agree with what you are saying. Sadly, I know many individuals who have not succeeded because they simply feel hopeless through every challenge they encounter.

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  109. I believe that working hard is far easier than being lazy. If you’re going to do something, don’t do it halfway and call it a day. Go all out, and do the best you can. I learned this when I got my first job. When I first started, I was very lazy, and within a month I had been warned by my boss that if I kept it up, I would soon be fired. It was then that I decided to pick up the pace, and began to work a lot harder. I was able to do what was expected of me and more, proving that I could be a worthwhile employee. Once I was able to show my value to my manager’s, my weekly hours more than doubled, and all the managers began like and appreciate me more. And more importantly, I realized that just doing my job was easier than trying to find something else to do to pass the time. I also realized that the feeling of being able to make my own money to spend and save was far more rewarding than relying on my parents to pay for anything I wanted. I liked the feeling of freedom that came from spending my own money on whatever I wanted. These realizations helped me recognize that working hard can be easier than being lazy, as long as the rewards are worthwhile. I strive to bring this belief into everything I do in life, from work to school to video games, and everything in between.

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    • I really enjoyed reading your post. I agree with your statement that working hard is easier than being lazy. At first glance that might not seem like it makes any sense but it does because with hard work comes great rewards and with being lazy comes nothing good.

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    • I gotta agree with you. Getting in the habit of giving it 100% can greatly improve your life and the world begins to give back. Hard work is repaid nearly always and it can come from anybody.

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  110. I believe in creativity.
    It makes sense that an art education major has the core believe of creativity engrained within themselves but when I try and look back on the origin of my palpable attraction to creativity it tends to be a very unpleasant experience.
    Throughout my childhood, I was emotionally, physically and sexually abused by members of my own family. I felt as though there was no hope for a happy life because of what I was going through. The only escapes I had were products of creativity, either someone else’s or my own. Unsurprisingly, my childhood experiences resulted in a few mental illnesses, anxiety and depression. With the help of medication an amazing therapist and my creative outlets, I have begun to learn how to cope. Art was something that was heavily recommended by my doctors as a way to express everything that I had pent up inside myself for years. Creating gave me a purpose and creativity made it unique. As I learned how to better function properly in everyday life I began to open up to people and do new things. I started to have hope that one day I could truly have a happy life.
    After all that channeling my creativity has done for me, I have decided on dedicating my life to showing children how it can help them and how the things that they make may even help others. I hope that as an art teacher I can show them just how beneficial letting yourself be creative and producing things from that creativity can really be. I wish to someday help my students discover ways that they can use their own creativity to cope with any problem that they may be facing throughout their life.

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    • Wow! I totally agree with you. Art and other creative outlets do have a way with helping people get through hard times. Im happy it has helped you overcome your past, and now you will try to teach others the value of creativity.

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  111. I believe self-confidence is the key to success and happiness in anyone’s life and I truly believe this with 100 percent of my heart. Having confidence in yourself allows you to do whatever you want to do in your life. Growing up in a harsh and poor environment I came to realize that in order to have the things I want I must do the things others won’t. One of the first obstacle I had to overcome was not being intimidated by fear and instead having a positive outlook on myself and on life. I learned that once you conquer your inner conscious you can accomplish any goal or dream you put your mind to. Growing up in a environment where it’s almost okay to be average subconsciously you learn how to live with fear and be okay with it. I had to look within myself and ask myself am I okay with being average? Be different. Be you.

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  112. Growing up I would always wonder with great anticipation as a new school year approached to see which students had moved to different towns or states, and there was the excitement of the potential new kid that I was going to become friends with. And every year there would always be new kids and kids that were gone, however never in my childhood did it ever occur to me what it would be like to be one of those kids. Right around the time that I turned 14 I found out that my family was moving from the northwest suburbs of Chicago where I had lived my whole life to Rhode Island. For me this was devastating as I didn’t know what I was going to do with myself, everyone and everything I had ever known was all there in Illinois. However this move was taking a toll emotionally on my family so I put on a tough face and tried to be as positive about the situation as I could be. Time went by and going to a school where I knew nobody at the time seemed terrifying however I faced it head on with eager eyes. I was quickly able to come out of my shell and make some good friends rather quickly and after not long at all it was almost like I never moved. Now years later looking back on the whole experience it makes me laugh to think about how scared I was when little did I know that that move was going to mold me into the person I am today. It turned me into someone who is extremely confident in themselves and I have matured and become so much more outgoing than I ever imagined I could be. Even though I sometimes think how different my life could be if I never moved today I am still thankful for how the experience changed myself. I think something like that has given me social tools that I will be able to use throughout the rest of my life.

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  113. Have you ever felt like you were a juggler in the circus, trying desperately not to let everything go and embarrass yourself in front of the whole crowd? That if others saw you fail, you would forever live in that failure? A lot of people feel that way about there life, including me. Trying to be a good student, daughter, friend, and human is a lot for people to handle. That is why balance is a fundamental part of what I believe in. If your life is like a scale, you simply can not live a happy life if you don’t balance work and pleasure, ambition and contentment, giving your all and self preservation. In our society, we often put too much emphasis on one side of the scale, whether that scale is making money or moving up the ladder. We often don’t take time to realize that we are blessed in this wealthy country, that we are lucky to have a job to support ourselves and our family. Without the peace that comes from looking at both sides of the scale, we are off balance in our lives. This is why many people are anxiety filled and unhappy with their lives. Noticing this in others, I need to be better at balancing my life, especially going into this busy time at college. I can not focus solely on my school work, I need to also maintain a good relationship with my friends and family, and focus on my mental health. It is easy to see who is unbalanced. You can see the worry on peoples face, see it in their eyes. I don’t want to be one of those people. This is what I believe in, balance

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    • I can agree that this is one of my biggest problems going from high school to college and an adult life. Last year was one of the busiest of my life, having to juggle high school work, dual enrollment courses, college applications, and an internship. My senior year was so busy that I opted out learning to drive and getting my first job until after high school. In retrospect, now having no employment credentials and no driving license until at least October, focusing solely on schoolwork was definitely more detrimental than I would have thought. Going into college, the largest challenge will be finding the medium between schoolwork, my social life, and my professional life as I try to work jobs.

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    • I completely agree with you, balance is the key to EVERYTHING in life. Whether it be balancing your schedule or your diet, it is in all of life, all the time. Well said.

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  114. “I believe”, when I think about this statement many things come to mind, having something that I can hold as being dear to me. The reason I believe that having more self confidence is an absolutely necessary virtue is due to the fact that in life if you are holding yourself back because you don’t believe in yourself then essentially you are setting yourself up for failure. Self-confidence is as important of a virtue as perseverance and even courage, due to the fact that they all branch off from being confident in your own abilities.
    Having confidence is an essential ability to have in class setting were being confident in answers and in your work gives you the willingness to present those answer. By being confident in your answers it also allows you to grow in areas that you may have made mistakes. Also being confident can also help outside of the classroom this is because it will give you the little push to try something that may be outside of your comfort zone. Being willing to go outside my comfort zone is important for my future especially since I will be starting college next fall and will be living on campus. College is a different atmosphere compared to high school. Unlike high school where you may be more comfortable with talking to a teacher with things that you may struggle with and they may be willing to go out their way to help you out on their own time, while in college it is truly up to you to ask for help.

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  115. Growing up with vitiligo wasn’t always easy . Mostly because I didn’t fully understand what it was. In kindergarden , people usually asked what it was and I would brag it off by saying that I got a tattoo that will never come off . My mother tells me that it is definitely from my grandfather and that he had small little specks on his body but not large like the ones on my arm . one day In fourth grade a girl accidentally touched me and frantically ran to the bathroom as if she had just touched something disgusting. after recovering from whatever she had going on , she then asked me if “ whatever that was on my arm contagious “. my heart dropped , it made me ask myself is that what people thought of me as ? contagious ? and at this moment I wanted to know why my arm was like this so My mother took me to my doctor and she confirmed that I had vitiligo . Knowing I had this made me want to wear more long sleeve shirts to hide it and I did a pretty good job at it until I transferred schools in 7th grade. When I went to my school people would often ask me why I would wear sweaters when it’s only august or why I only wore long sleeve shirts in school and never any of the short sleeves or why I would always incorporate a cardigan in every outfit I wore for dress for success or dress down days. And I would simply tell them that “I was just cold. “ Then one day in class we had a science lab and for safety precautions we would have to roll up our sleeves . Now when it comes to having vitiligo many people have symptoms such as bumps or intense itching around their vitiligo but with me I never experienced any of those symptoms which often makes me even forget that my arm is even affected in anyway . so without hesitation I rolled up my sleeves leaving my arm exposed . people began to notice but they didn’t say anything about it until one of my close friends approaches me and says “ ohhh my gosh what is that … it’s beautiful “ and I responded it’s my birthmark . because I didn’t want people to think something was wrong with me . I was filled with anxiety at this point yet but with this anxiety I felt relieved that I didn’t get any harsh comments or remarks . due to the support and motivation and kind words of people around me i am finally able to wear short sleeve shirts and not feel uncomfortable in anyway. I often get compliments and encouraging words that boost my confidence and although i still may unknowingly wear long sleeve shirts and incorporate cardigans here and there , my vitiligo represents a large part of me and my family tree and i wouldn’t give it up for anything.

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  116. I believe in self love. The way you view yourself is a crucial part of adolescence and can impact you for the rest of your life. If you do not believe in yourself and your abilities you can only go so far. I learned this my senior year of high school, but I have struggled with it since I can remember. Body shamed by my family, I thought if my own flesh and blood couldn’t love me in all my entirety, why would anyone else? why should I? This singular thought sent me in a downwards spiral of self hate and self deprecation. I remember being 115 pounds in 7th grade and bawling my eyes out in frustration because I hated the way I looked, I felt so uncomfortable in my own skin that I would have done anything to get rid of those feelings. I was young and didn’t know how to lose weight so I tried starving myself. I was miserable. Fast forward 4 years later, I started going to the gym, being more cautious of my diet, and more importantly trying to love who I was. I started to believe in myself and learned to love my flaws instead of trying to change them. I lost 20 pounds at first and thought that that would give me what I needed, the confidence I lacked for so long, but it didn’t. My confidence and happiness came when I let go of the thought of being perfect and embraced myself, even if others didn’t. Be secure in yourself and others will follow. I believe that confidence inspires others and self love is the first step in being able to love others fully.

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    • I absolutely agree with your comment! I believe self love is something everyone must have in order to be happy. For a while, I struggled to learn how to love myself, but once I did it was amazing. Once you let that hate go, your confidence and happiness most definitely increases. I agree that you must know your worth and love yourself before you can love somebody else.

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    • This Is a belief so important, but also often overlooked by growing adults. I agree, that send confidence reflects how a person dresses situations in life. The more confidence we have, the more we can embrace life and ourselves for who we are. Teenagers and young adults are in a vulnerable stage in terms of self acceptance in today’s society, so it is so important that we remember to stay true to ourselves.

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  117. I believe in self-confidence, I’ve always had for long time. As a child, being the black girl made me feel like an outcast or made me uncomfortable in my own skin. I would try hard to be like the white girls at my school so the boys would like me or I would complain to my mom that I wanted to be her skin color because she had lighter skin. In high school people would call me “charcoal” or “blacky” and it brought my self esteem down a lot.

    As I got older, I started not to care what people thought about my skin color with the help of my family and social media. I seen a lot of black girls like myself embracing their skin tone and being confident in their own skin. On a daily basis, I woke up every morning telling myself, “I am beautiful in my skin.” I’ve had others tell me they love my skin color and I’ve had people that loved me dearly fall in love with my melanin and that made me even more confident in myself. Mentally it took a lot for me to finally love the shin that I’m in and it was worth it. I believe that your skin color shouldn’t define your worth in this world. We should all be treated equally no matter what we look like and shouldn’t be judged based on our skin. If I could go back in time and tell myself one thing, I would say, “Be who you wanna be. Not anybody else.”

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    • I completely agree that self-confidence is very important. People need incredibly thick skin to not be phased by all the cruelty that is thrown around on a regular basis. In general, I believe people must be more confident with their own skin to not let the words affect them. Although that is a really difficult task, since even the bullies would be struggling with self-confidence issues. Thank you for the message and for telling your inspiring story.

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  118. I believe in the importance of history. History is the most interesting subject I know. History has shaped the world into what it is today. It is the only true constant; even before written history, there has always been something before. People have been fascinated by history and how it affects the present since man first drew on cave walls, and I share that same fascination.
    For as long as I can remember, history has enchanted me. The fact that it can be so set in stone (literally), so real, comforts me. But at the same time,our interpretation, and knowledge of history is constantly evolving, there are always new things to learn, new information to absorb. I can peg my interest back to third grade. My teacher had those Scholastic paperback history books on all sorts of subjects, and I came across one about Titanic. The grandness of the ship and the pictures of the beautiful rooms drew me in, and the tragedy made me cry. I wanted, needed, to know more. Why did it sink? Was there anything the captain could have done? That flimsy, little book opened the floodgates to a whole new side of me. When I finished reading all the Titanic books in my teacher’s collection, I moved onto other books, other historical wonders. Imagine how I felt when I learned about documentaries!
    In middle school we read a book called Night by Elie Wiesel. It is an account about Wiesel’s time in a Jewish concentration camp. Before this point, I had never really had much interest in the Holocaust, I knew about it, I had heard some things about it, but it was more like a horror story your older siblings told you to scare you into staying out of their room.
    Learning about the horrible things that humans did to other humans gave me a new perspective on history. It is not just something that you learn because you enjoy it; you have to know it. You have to know what people are capable of, about the signs that something is seriously wrong. When you put your hand on a hot pan, you remember, “That is bad, I will not do that again.” It is important to know our history so we do not keep burning ourselves with humanity’s past mistakes. I learned that history was horrible – Pompeii and Titanic taught me that – but I did not realize that people were horrible too. I wanted to go back to the pictures of Titanic; it was beautiful and it was a disaster not directly caused by people.
    Eventually, learning about the Holocaust became inevitable so I turned to books and the History Channel and Netflix to get all the information I could about it, because if I had to learn it, I was going to learn everything so when my generation is in charge, we can be better. One of the main points of history is to remind people of humanity’s past mistakes, so they are not repeated, so ships do not sink, so people have warning when their volcanoes will explode, so millions will not die. That is why I get lost in history; there is always more to learn, more warnings to heed. Everyday the information we receive from the news is challenged so it is important to look at history for any clues about what may be true. Just like a child learns from their mistakes, it is important for humanity to look at its mistakes, its history. so those mistakes are not repeated. I believe learning and knowing humanity’s history can be the thing that saves us from self destruction.

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    • I really like this! I agree that history is so important to us and that we need to learn from out past mistakes and you used such a good comparison with touching your hand to a hot pan, by learning that you know not to do it again.

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    • I relate to this so much! History has always been my favorite subject. Not only is it incredibly interesting, but its full of valuable lessons and stories that we can use as a foundation for our lives today.

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  119. The harshest of all reality can often be your own greatest motivator. One concept I’ve strongly come to stand by yet most of us try to avoid, is that the greatest things in life are not handed to us for free. It’s almost impossible to look around the fact that everything we have ever earned came at some monetary, physical, mental, or emotional cost. It only sounds pessimistic because it actually is. We can choose to let such pessimism overtake our thoughts and emotion, or we could simply twist the words of this phrase and use it to our advantage. The greatest things in life, from the materials we purchase to any emotion we receive from others, exist because of our own hard work and ingenuity. The computer used to type this essay came at the expense of working during school for years and saving up paychecks, and every close connection I’ve made so far came at the cost of breaking out of an inner shell of social anxiety. I refuse to believe that everything special I hold today was given simply out of pity, or because I’m disadvantaged in some way, or any excuse that disregards any amount of my own individual effort or talent. Every reward we could ever receive would just look so much better and hold much more value if we all simply looked into how far our own creativity and hard work can take us.

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    • Your post put my similar thoughts into tangible words. I too believe that all we have has come out of our own hands and the hard work we did with them. Everything in our possession can hold a huge value within them if you just consider the efforts put forth to achieve that goal.

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  120. Self expression and being unique is very important to me. I have always tried to be unique and express myself in different ways so I do not feel similar or feel like I’m a “follower”. I think self confidence is needed to express yourself, and the confidence comes from self-esteem.
    When I was in elementary school, I had really low self esteem about how I dressed. I was afraid people would say something bad about my clothes. People only started commenting during the spring when I wore sandals. I was born with crooked toes, so both of my big toes curl inward towards my other toes. They don’t cause me pain and I had no problem with them until kids started making fun of them, so I would avoid wearing sandals to school. Then in middle school I gained some confidence and started to wear sandals and not care what people had to say. Now I just embrace it, I don’t care if you think my toes are ugly or cool.
    One thing that I love to express myself with is scootering, I started scootering when I was in 7th grade, and I have been riding consistently for 2 years. Expression in scootering comes from your style of riding, your tricks and the parts you ride. I love riding my scooter, I am not the best at it, but everybody progresses differently and at different times. That’s when self esteem and confidence is involved with the sport. I can’t be down on myself if I see a nine year old at the skatepark that is better than me, and I need to stay confident with my style and learning new tricks. Scootering also makes me unique because it’s not as popular as other action sports like skateboarding. The scooter community actually gets the most hate from the skateboarders and the skating community. I have even experienced the hate, I can’t count how many times I have been called gay for riding my scooter. One time I was riding home and someone drove by and threw a cup of soda at me. I don’t let the hate get to me, and it hasn’t because I love the sport so much. I am happy with what I do and who I am.

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  121. 01788829
    Raquel Murray
    8/1/18

    This We Believe

    Growing up as a young intelligent black female I believe that we always created equal regardless of our skin color or how we dressed we were still created as one. Until I got to middle school I realize I was treated differently how other people was. I was treated as if I was an outsider trying to look in, going to school where majority of the teachers and the students were Caucasian and Latino was very hard I felt I didn’t belong there I felt I was just some stranger. As soon as walking into school my first thought was I couldn’t wait to leave here I just felt like I didn’t belong somewhere. At this time I was very shy and I was ashamed that I was an African-American young girl. People look at me different I kept my mouth close for so long because my parents thought the school was a very good school to Receive an education from. My eighth grade year I realize that it was time for me to speak up I realize that I’m moving on from middle school to high school and that this is a big challenge for me. Myself as a student I really didn’t care what your nationality was all I care is that we was equal. For high school asked my mother if I can choose it I want to attend a school that had multiple nationalities and was very diverse.
    Society played a huge role in Making a certain race feel as though they didn’t belong there or they wasn’t too good enough. From police brutality to the politics and Republicans it’s felt as if we was in war with each other, I just wanted to feel normal.

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  122. I believe in the independence of thought. There is no denying that human beings are naturally social animals. Social behavior and expectations are deeply intertwined with human psychology and the neurological mechanisms that determine how we act. Peer pressure, gossip and societal expectations are all consequences of this. These things often are unhelpful or even harmful in today’s society, but they are only a surface level consequence of our desire to fit in. Wanting to fit in often can cause us to suppress our own ideas or desires in order to feel more integrated into some group. This can help establish relationships, but sometimes those ideas and desires that we sacrifice in order to socialize could’ve been revolutionary for humanity. Wanting to fit in can cause creative, ingenious, and revolutionary ideas to be discarded. Sometimes we fear ridicule for our opinions or ideas. Sometimes we lack the confidence and self esteem to think our ideas have merit or worth. Sometimes we just assume that since nobody else has discussed our idea prior, its not even worth mentioning. Our brains often favor conformity over innovation and it can make it really hard to express original ideas.
    I like to look at the history of science to grasp how important being an independent thinker is. Every single scientific revolution in human history has been caused by us rejecting or questioning what we thought we knew and by implementing new ideas, ideas that aren’t the status quo. Galileo, Kepler, and Copernicus revolutionized astronomy by positing the heliocentric model despite the established idea being geocentrism. Newton rejected traditional ideas about motion and gravity and helped develop much of classical mechanics and calculus as a result. Einstein, Bohr, Dirac, and Feynman rejected even the most basic of human assumptions about how things move through space and what things are fundamentally made of, and as a result, they developed two of the most accurate models of how our universe works. All of these scientists revolutionized scientific understanding, and they were able to by challenging norms. Never have we made major scientific advancements by trying to fit in with conventional wisdom and the ideas of our peers. By giving those rare “crazy” ideas a chance, we as a species have built the world we live in today. It isn’t limited to just science either, it is literally any aspect of our lives that has significantly advanced in human history. Technology, medicine, economics, education, language, entertainment, and many artistic fields are where they are today because of people who refused to let their ideas be forgotten in order to fit in. Political revolutions don’t happen if people just accept things as they are. Social revolutions don’t happen in we accept that the way we are treating people is “normal” and doesn’t need to change. Artists would’ve never evolved to today’s post-modernist works if they stuck with cave paintings because “that’s how we’ve always painted.” Our world is where it is today because of the individuals who don’t let conformity drown out their originality.

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  123. My family follows the path of Christianity with steadfast feet in their extreme beliefs. Being brought up in this religion, I have developed a strong moral compass. Questions of whether things being right or wrong were nothing I had to give much thought on, but I still had questions of my own that were never answered. I still had things I wanted to experience that this religion won’t allow. Lately, my tolerance for the demands of Christianity is draining. My questions started to circle around self identity and what I wanted for myself. My curiosity did not come from non-belief in the supernatural because living at home and hearing the testimonies of my dad and mom, I can not fully deny the existence of a single all powerful, omnipresent God. At the same time, I struggled to accept it. Despite this, if you ask me what I am, I will tell you always “Christian.” Simply because religion has been a big part of my identity for so long that I have grown custom to responding this way. Although, I refuse to accept that is all I am. In complete honesty, I have grown tired of spending Wednesdays’ and Fridays’ nights in church services, and yet I feel incomplete without making an appearance Sundays’ mornings. My position on the topic of religion still remains unclear and that is the scary part because I wonder how these thought will negatively affect my father, who is the pastor of the church. The truth is that I am still searching for the answer to the question of who I am beyond just being a Christian.

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    • Joseph, I completely understand where you are coming from. I was raised in a church setting as well and my whole family is very religious. My grandmother always has her rosary beads out and there is always some type of church music playing at 10am. However, I recently became more distant from the practice simply because I did not get the same feelings as I used to. Going to church used to be very exciting to me, but I’ve just lost the joy in it. I do not want to be identified by my religion either; I want to be who I am and not the girl who prays. I do still go to church though, just not as frequently. I hope that you find your way through journey that you have ahead of you…good luck.

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  124. I have always struggled to find out who I am. Even right now, I couldn’t tell you who I define myself, This feeling of uncertainty made it difficult for me to be who I am. This led me to be a follower, and do what others wanted me to do. I knew I couldn’t do that. It destroyed me inside to not be myself, and like other things that most people find different and weird. I lost that self confidence as I followed others. I was told I was a follower while other people were leaders. That others were already better when I was just already less.
    It took me a while to realize that I wasn’t less, and it was a difficult process. As I started doing more of what I wanted to do. Like, getting myself in to therapy for my anxiety. It caused backlash from some people who I thought would be proud of me. I understood that no matter what, I had to keep pushing because that is what I do. I push forward, I improve, and I adapt. I had to work with myself and sometimes against others to be the true me. I realized, I lead in my own way, I may not be barking orders but, I lead by example. I do the right thing, i work hard, and I try. Which to me, is the important things a person could do.
    I’ve been called “the black sheep” and “the odd one out” but I took it as a good thing. If I was different to them, that’s okay. I was proud of myself, I worked and fought for the place where I am at now, and if I had the choice to change things… I wouldn’t.

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  125. I can feel the thumping, my heart getting ready to jump out of my chest. Hard wood chips below are being tossed up with every step obstructing my vision. I run to the iron forretress of the playground just in front of me. As I turn my head, I see colorful amorphous blurs surrounding me. Crunch. Crunch. I hear behind me. Running up to the steps of the playground, the steps that would decide my life or death, I soon find out I am too late. A ginormous shadow looms over me. When I attempt to break into a sprint, I feel something choking me. Patrick grabs my grey jacket by my hood and slams me into the ground with it. My eyes open and the world is tilted sideways, my decapitated hood a distance in front of me. Patrick lumbers away leaving me on the ground.
    As I roll over onto my back I am greeted to a blue sky with white fluffy clouds. Once again the feelings of despair and powerlessness emerge to the surface. Unlike all the superheroes I had adored for all my childhood I was not strong, I was not brave, and I did not have the courage to stand up against my enemies. But now, maybe it was about time for me to change my outlook on life. As I start to rise from the mulch, like a phoenix emerging from its ashes, a hero was now reborn in place of a whimpering and scared child. I walked a couple feet away to where my hood to my jacket had been ripped off and grabbed it. I was no longer going to wait for a hero to come and save me, I was going to be my own hero. I approached Patrick standing near the slides and put the hood near his face so he could see what he had done to my favorite jacket. I don’t exactly remember what I had told him but after that incident I was never bothered by him again.
    I believe that anybody can be a hero. Early in my life, I had been pushed around and bullied by other people. At the time, I never really understood why. I was the type of kid who wanted to befriend everybody. Because of this, in an effort to make friends and being the innocent child that I was I would always be the one to take one for the team when I was in a group.
    Although I had it rough with other kids when I was younger, I feel as though it helped mold me into the person I am today and I am happy for it. If it was wasn’t for some of the torment other kids gave me when I was younger, I don’t think I would be as empathetic as I am today. These experiences during my childhood helped me realise that it doesn’t take a major fight or a life saving stunt to save somebody. All it can take is a simple smile to let them know that somebody cares. Through the many conflicts we encounter during our lifetime, getting through them is what makes us stronger.

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  126. There’s nothing stronger in life than believing in yourself, knowing you don’t need to depend on other’s moral support to move forward in life. I come from a Hispanic family of six, I have four siblings including me makes us five. I have an older sister who graduated from UMD two years ago, I also have three younger siblings. A lot of kids for a single mother to keep up with. I grew up being to myself, solving my own problems and facing them on my own. I remember when my mom was pregnant with her fifth child, I found myself angry and confused. In that time my family lived in a 2-bed room apartment, where we didn’t have space to do much. I was angry at my mother for bringing in another life knowing we didn’t have space and knowing she wasn’t as focused as she should’ve been. Even though I love my little brother, he is a blessing, but having a mother who is never there for you is what makes it hard. It’s hard feeling alone and becoming independent at an early age. Growing up to only depending on yourself and self-motivation to be where you are today. I am thankful for my triumph and my challenges. I have to remind myself every day I have to do this for me. This isn’t about anybody but me. I only live for me, honor myself for my achievements and honor my goals. If I didn’t think that way, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I thank my family for not making everything easy for me. I faced the world by myself. I learned to pick myself up from my down falls and keep pushing 10 times harder. In life nothing is handed to you. I thank my mom for being the strong woman she is, I thank her for raising me the way she did because of her I am where I am today as strong individual. With the mindset focused to achieve my goals and to be genuinely, intensely, consistently happy, regardless of what that looks like to others. Due to certain decisions that my family has made, has built me into the person I am today. There will be consequences to any decision a person make’s and those consequences are the one that mold you into being who you are.

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    • Great statement! By reading this I realized how it is important to do things on your own and not needing to depend on people because maybe if you had everything handed to you you wouldn’t be where you are today.
      Thank you.

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  127. “Manners Maketh Man”- from the movie, Kingsman: The Secret Service
    What do you see when you think about a gentleman? You see someone that has manners, right? Which means you can’t be a kind and gentle person without manners. Manners are the basis of any personal or business relationship.
    At a job interview, inappropriate manners will make you appear unlikable to the interviewer. Rather, walk in with a smile, a good firm handshake and positive manners- giving you a much better start to the interview.
    Simply treating people with the dignity they deserve will grant you the respect that you deserve. If you were the interviewing manager, you would expect good manners and the beginning of a strong relationship. A “please” and “thank you” with respect will get you a lot further in this world.
    Showing people the respect that they deserve will show respect to you and others in life. In the work place, if everyone is courteous and respectful of each other, then everyone can do their best work.
    Many personal and business relationships have been built on respect. Those relationships without respect are short-lived and destined for failure. In life, we only have so many opportunities to build on success. Simply using manners in your everyday life, is more likely for people to enjoy being around you. If you want to be a gentleman- remember the first step in a relationship is to use your manners, even if it is just by saying “please” and “thank you”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great post Ryan! I completely agree, and would add that good manners can also help a person fit in and be more charismatic. They are what help build respect among ourselves, and therefore allow people to work together more efficiently for a common good, since everyone respects one another. Other students have stressed on this blog the importance of individualism, and the fact that our advances as a society come from those who dare to think differently. However, I would argue that manners are the foundation of that advancement, as without presenting one’s new, nonconforming ideas in a respectful way, they would not gain traction and we would not be able to work together to implement them for the benefit of humanity.

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  128. I believe that self-confidence if very important and can change a person’s life. When I was in first grade, I was diagnosed with dyslexia. School was very challenging for me and I had a low self-esteem because of my learning differences. At the time, I felt like one of the most stupid kids in class. My parents were determined to get me the help that I needed and were strong advocates for me. They learned about the Carroll School, a private school for children with language based learning difficulties, which I attended from third grade through eighth grade. The Carroll School, along with the love and support of my parents, helped me to gain confidence and to believe in myself. I was taught that learning differently is completely normal and I no longer felt like the “stupid kid” in class. I also learned that processing information differently contributed to my strengths, such as my creative problem solving ability. Having dyslexia made me a hard worker, which is actually a good quality to have. I am not ashamed of having dyslexia, I actually feel lucky because I had the opportunity to receive a great education in an environment that taught me the tools necessary to be successful. I feel that my challenges made me a stronger person and I feel empowered to take risks which will hopefully, help me encounter more opportunities in life. I know that I still need to work extra hard to do well in school, but I am confident that I can do it.

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  129. I believe in humanity. I believe most people have potential that they have yet to fill. Striving for the wrong goals like popularity and image, we often lose focus of what is truly important to us. Advertising and media have polluted our culture into wanting to obtain unreachable, unrealistic goal of “perfection” There is no one definition of perfection. Each person should define it in their own way, set their own goals of what matters to them. People become so obsessed with what they look like or achieving a certain standard that they put it before their well being. Society has shaped us to please and impress others before we take care of ourselves. We need to start living our lives on purpose, with purpose. Each decision a person makes slowly reveals their identity and who they are as a person. I believe that everyone deserves happiness and if we change our mindsets and pay close attention to what’s important to us, we hold the key to our own success it is only a matter of us putting it to use.

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  130. One of the values I live by is the saying “know yourself know your worth”. It has recently become something that I use in my life because I used to struggle with self-worth throughout middle school and high school. The reasons I struggled with self-worth was because I was and still am shy. I cared too much about what people thought of me. I didn’t want to be the different one because to me it was weird. My height (short stature) definitely made me self-conscious and having a name that no one else had added to me being shy. I was afraid I’d be judged without someone getting to know me.

    Throughout middle school I struggled to fit in because the majority of my school’s population was Hispanic and I wasn’t Hispanic. I also struggled in middle school because it seemed that everyone there was very “clicky”. I struggled to find the right group and one good friend that would be long term. Most my friendships in middle school were basically just acquaintances which I didn’t like because I was looking for friendships. Middle school made me feel self-conscious about the person I was.

    In High school, I became a part of a really cool group of friends (a “click” I guess :-)) with one of the girls particularly (that I actually met in middle school) becoming my best friend. My Junior/ Senior year I realized how important it was to start putting myself first and to always remind myself to know myself and to know my worth along with my height and name because that’s what makes me “me”.

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  131. I believe in failure. No, not the cheap kind of failure in movies or in proverbs where you can “get back in the saddle” and try again, I mean real failure. The kind of failure that kicks you down to the ground and keeps you there. The kind where you can’t just get back up and try again. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, you’ll know it. For me, that moment in my life was eighth grade. At that time in my life, I was a quiet guy, and generally I avoided confrontation. Towards the end of eighth grade, Luke, a bully, told me to move out of my seat and sit away from him. The seat was assigned, so I didn’t. He then got up and slapped me, sending my glasses flying across the room. At that moment, I snapped, and hit him as hard as I could. The fight that followed lasted a few minutes, and in the end, I lost. I got removed from class for the day, though I wasn’t officially suspended, and I left with a broken nose. My parents were mad, my grades slipped and I was miserable. However, I learned a few key things that day, and have kept them with me since. Firstly, I learned that I would rather lose a hundred more fights then take another day of ridicule. Secondly, I learned that some of the best friends you can make are the ones you punch in the nose.

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  132. My heart yearned to see my mother again. In fact, the two years I spent without her, I came to terms with myself thinking I would never see her again. Even the smallest glimmer of hope that kept me up at night replaying all of our happy memories disappeared. In 2010, I had to leave Africa and everything dear to me: the people, my relatives, friends, my home, and even my dad. All that lingers in my mind are the memories of a place I once lived – Uganda. At ten years old, with my two older sisters and brother, I sat on an airplane for the first time, not quite able to comprehend what was happening. I would have to start all over again and call a new place my home, but that did not seem to matter. Once we arrived in America, I would be united with my mom, and that is all I really cared about.As I hugged my mom for the first time in what felt like an eternity, everything seemed to fall into place and I felt unspeakable joy. When I first saw her, she said: “Welcome to the land of all opportunities.” This phrase has remained with me every time I experience something difficult, so I motivate myself to work harder and stay determined. However, adjusting to a new culture and keeping my identity was not easy. I felt as if I had to unlearn the person I once knew. My family and I now live in Reading, a predominately white suburban town, and there are times when I have felt very different, especially since I stand out as one of the few students of color at my school. I am too foreign for here, too foreign for there – never enough of both. I often find myself at a crossroads as a product of two cultures. Each of these cultures extends in different directions and I am at the center of this junction. Deep down, I know who I am and I embrace my uniqueness. I am from a rural place, a fertile land that continues to prosper with crops encompassing miles of coffee, beans, potatoes, and mango trees. I am formed from a foundation of proud people with a rich culture of vibrant customs and traditions, and I have learned to appreciate where I was born because it reflects the person I am today. When I moved from Africa, I carried my special identity, culture, and celebrations with me, all of which still remind me of my distant home.After six years, I had the opportunity to travel home, and yet again I found myself too foreign for a place I once called home. However, Uganda opened my eyes to the reality that without my mom’s hard work, we would not have been able to escape. When I lived in Africa, witnessing horrible situations was normal for me. If a family lacked money, young children had to drop out of school. Many men took advantage of young girls forcing them into marriages, denying them better opportunities. After my cousin earned a teaching degree, she could not find a position due to corruption. Returning to Massachusetts, I feel so fortunate knowing that all children have the opportunity to achieve their goals and the American dream. Because I experienced life from different perspectives, I also have refined my identity and established goals that drive my passion to help others. Many people in third world countries lack the opportunity to discover their true value and potential. From my humble beginnings, I believe I have the vision, the real world experience, the understanding, and the desire to make a positive difference in the lives of those less fortunate. I will forever remember where I come from, which always helps me stay on the right path to where I am going in the future.

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  133. When I was younger I was always praised for being the quiet and docile child. I took pride the fact that adults often commended me for my “good behavior”. This constant reassurance I received from these adults enforced the idea in me that if i just kept quiet and did what I was told that that everything would be okay. When I started middle school I encountered my first bullies, a handful of kids that thought it would be funny to pick on me everyday. I dealt with it the best way I thought I could, I kept quiet. I was convinced that if I didn’t speak up sooner or later they would just leave me alone. They never did, and the bullying continued into highschool. Very often I would stay up and ask myself “what am i doing wrong?”; then it hit me, nothing. I did nothing wrong, and I shouldn’t have be trying to quiet myself to please them, like I once did for the adults in my life. That character trait that was once praised was now the reason why my bullies could continued to hurt me. In that moment things changed, I changed. I no longer sat compliant as my bullies taunted me, I spoke up against them and told a trusted faculty member. I freed myself from not only my bullies, but the prison that was submission. I was no longer that quiet child that seeked validation for good behavior, I spoke up. I believe in the power of letting your voice be heard, because speaking up creates change awareness.

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  134. Vincent Nguyen
    This We Believe 2018
    September 2, 2018
    Self Confidence

    During my senior year I went to study abroad in Germany, and was challenged by many different aspects, including but not limited to culture and language barrier. I had no German background and it didn’t help that most of my classmates were too shy to speak English with me. Every attempt at socializing, initially I thought was useless. The room became a prison. Tick-Tock. Why am I like this? Tick-Tock. How do I even approach? Tick-Tock. I hate myself. Tick-Tock. I don’t want to be here. TICK-TOCK. These were the thoughts running through my mind during class. The constant state of inadequacy only grew and grew as time when on. It felt that I was burning with self-loathing and drowning with depression. My mind gave into these those and resulted in the feeling of being alienated. Just as I thought I was engulfed by darkness, I received a message by a classmate stating “Du bist kein Auslander. Du bist ein Teil unserer Klasse. Wir lieben dich.” which translates to You are not a foreigner. You are part of our class. We love you! Hope kindled within me as these words soaked in. From then on, my exchange year only got better. I made so many friends and my German improved tenfold. That being said I believe that the best way to build self-esteem and to gain self-confidence is to find that one source of strength whether it’s an individual or an object.

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    • I give you many props for going to another country and taking classes out there this literally shows how strong and brave of a person you are. It is so relatable when you’re so scared to interact for fear that you may be rejected but I have come to learn that sometimes you need to dive head first because no one else will.

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  135. Jeaniece Tavares
    This We Believe 2018
    September 2018
    Self-Confidence, Self-Reliance, Self-Esteem, Self Expression
    Elementary school, middle school, high school was a mixture of awc classes, honors classes and AP classes that I was placed into; some were by choice and others were not. Everyday I sat in classes surrounded by students who excelled academically and of course I did not, not even close. I was respectful, and attentive but I was not always prepared, for example, I treated homework as if it was a choice and not a duty. Now you may think I was just lazy but that wasn’t it. I have always struggled with my confidence when it comes to my intelligence. Yes, I was in these classes but I could never understand material as quickly as the others who sat in these seats in these same classes. Then I said to myself one day “clearly I have the ability so what is it that is missing?’; I figured it out. I needed to believe in me and ask for help instead of expecting others to help me without asking. I am intelligent and who I am is beautiful; I am not saying this in a superficial sense but more in a wholesome way. This new mindset of mine was gold, it was the answer to everything and I excelled, I excelled like I’ve never done before. I was proud of me, something I could not say before. Then I lost it, that self-confidence, that self-reliance, that self-esteem, and that self expression. I pretend I have all these qualities but it almost feels like a bootleg version. I haven’t gotten this feeling back since. That is hard for me to admit to myself especially when I am about to start college but writing this piece is doing something to me by putting reality right in front of me. I will excell, I have to figure out how though because that, that is what I’m confused about. But I believe by rebuilding self-confidence, self-reliance , self -esteem, and self-expression within myself I will.

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  136. Diego Moreno
    This We Believe 2018
    September 4, 2018
    Self-Confidence

    I have always believed in self confidence, a key to success, and to a much better future. Acquiring the confidence is believed to be the best tool to have with at all times, allowing you to take risks, achieving your goals, and to be happy of who you are. I didn’t have any self confidence when I was just a kid, I grew up in a place that made feel farouche and anxious, all because of one individual in the family that drove me to fear many things in life. Over the years I did nothing to make myself any better, but instead it grew worse, I starting a bad habit of a pessimistic self talk, as well as having difficulty talking to other people, I’ve built a wall around myself because I was very embarrassed to tell anyone what was going on in home, just kept it all to myself. I knew I had to overcome these bad habit of mines, by the time I got to high school, I decided to make a drastic improvement to myself. I replaced my pessimistic talk with positive self talk, made awesome friends, tried to be more open towards people with positivity. By the end of senior year in high school I have realized that I drastically improved many things, I grew to be self confident, every fear or worries has been eliminated from my life. I was able to make myself become a much better person, I learned that fears be vanquished by fighting it off. I’ll be sure to remain positive and keep going despite any struggles that I will go up against. Keep on fighting, don’t give up. Self confidence is a strong tool it can help you and others as well, be happy about yourself,it doesn’t matter what other people thinks about you, just be you, loving yourself can be the first thing you can start with!

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  137. I believe that every person should love themselves unconditionally. Unfortunately this is often a difficult or seemingly impossible task. Having self love is a huge fight against the social pressures trying to tell you that you aren’t good enough, or that your body, identity, or expression does not fit into society’s idea of what is good, or what is beautiful. I have tried to put this belief into practice for the past five years and learn how to love myself. It began with an appreciation of other people’s looks and turned into a quest to find something I liked about myself. I started small by giving myself complements and trying to be positive about my body and my personality. I knew that it would take a lot of work and I was fully prepared for that. I did not expect how difficult it would be to work through some issues and just how difficult it would be to tell myself I am a good person and look good on bad days. It has been hard to deal with anxiety on top of that and trying to convince myself that other people do not have the same negative thoughts about me that I do. Even though it’s been difficult, I am still working on finding things about me to love, and I am still trying to accept the things about myself that I am not so fond of. But I believe that it’s been worth it, and I believe that eventually I will reach a point where self love comes naturally to me.

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  138. Throughout my short life I have questioned the ideas of many different religions and the existence of a higher power. As a child I was never forced to follow a specific religion or set of beliefs, instead I was exposed to an extensive list of religions and beliefs. My parents gave me the chance to choose my own following and have my own ideas. I never questioned having a choice to be my own person and have my own beliefs in the sense of religion. As I have grown older I have had many discussions about religion and beliefs with many of my friends, and my parents. These discussions have given me a broad view of other people’s ideas and have helped to create my own beliefs. In religion I have discovered that I do not believe in a god or higher power that created the earth and the human race. I have questioned the ideas of creation and I personally follow the ideas of darwinism in the sense that the human race was created through the evolution of primates. Although I do not believe in a higher power of creation, in the sense of creating the human race or the planet earth. I do believe in a form of higher power that helps to oversee each person’s life in some way. Many events in a human life can and do happen by chance; however, there are some events that happen for a reason in one way or another.

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  139. Confidence isn’t innate to all. Meeting new people and forcing oneself into new experiences and situations doesn’t come as naturally to some as it does to others. I, unfortunately, had trouble with confidence not so long ago. Moving to a new town that was the polar opposite to my old home was a struggle. I quickly realised that I was heavily reliant on my old friends and fed off their confidence, completely oblivious to the fact that it wasn’t my own. Moving made me feel alone in the world, especially in a town where no one looks like you, acts like you, or understands your struggle. Every day, I could feel the stares of people beading down on me, stemming from that self-consciousness that arose from my fear of this new environment. It took time (almost a year) before I finally gained back some of my lost confidence. I made new friends and was exposed to ideas and beliefs that differed from the ones I had always known. Becoming comfortable in my own skin was a major stepping stone towards becoming a man. No longer caring what people thought of me finally allowed me to enjoy life without this constant overhanging sense of anxiety that stifled my growth. This self confidence that has replaced my anxiety has lifted a heavy burden off my shoulders that has been present most of my life, allowing me to take on new obstacles and challenges with each coming day.

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  140. Honesty is the best policy. It is a very large component in being a good person. With honesty comes respect. The more someone is honest and chooses to tell the truth rather than a lie, the more respect they are likely to gain. Of course, with honesty comes the occasional consequence, but owning up and telling the truth shows braveness and acceptance in a person. Being honest produces friendships, trust, less stress, confidence and many more redeeming qualities. Not only is honesty being true to others, but it’s about being true to yourself. Its all about having integrity, meaning the quality of being honest, doing the right thing, and having strong moral values. Honesty is something that can work in your favor when it comes to doing the right thing. If you want to be trusted, you need to be honest. Lying always ends up coming with a price, so why not save the stress and just be honest? Start with keeping promises and commitments, surrounding yourself with good people, taking responsibility for your actions, and staying focused on what really matters in life. Having good morals and a good outlook on life will assist the trait of honesty as well. Always being honest helps people live a better, stress-free life. Not having to keep up with lies and not feeling guilty is a fantastic thing after all. Believing in yourself and your ability to do good things in this world is highly important to living a happy, confident, honest life.

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  141. I Believe in Self-Confidence, Self-Reliance, Self-Esteem, and Self-Expression greatly. All of these things shape who you are and what you will become. As I major in business it plays a huge role in my life. I will need all of these things in the future when i pan on starting my own business. When I was younger I was always ridiculed for the way i looked or dressed and for some that can be scarring but i gained self confidence over years of growth. It is never about what you look like, it’s about what you can do for yourself and others. I never like to rely on others as for growing up i did not enjoy large groups of friends i was very selective due to trust issues. For many ways of protecting myself it had all came from what was bad but turned into good. I may have not had the best childhood but it still made me who i am today and i wouldn’t change it for the world. Depression played role in my life and it still triggers here and there but this is when you have to build self-esteem. Your mind may go on for hours thinking negatively and anything can happen with a harsh mindset and thats life. Even as strong and high i put myself up today i still had my nights of true agony. You have to build strength in yourself to remember there is always a tomorrow. Never hold yourself back to what others hold you to. Never forget your self worth, any and everything is possible if you believe in yourself and keep pushing for a better tomorrow.

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  142. Growing up my father would always tell me, “there’s always a solution to a problem”, whenever I would doubt myself about a certain situation, or think that I wouldn’t be able to finish or find something . I didn’t really think that I would apply this to my older self. But today as I think about that phrase more, I begin to realize that it will stick with me as I grow up, and it will help me with my day to day challenges in life. Such as now, like starting college. I was very nervous to start this chapter in my life. I would begin to start doubting myself thinking college would be to hard for me, or what if I don’t get anywhere because I am too shy. Maybe even begin to think, what if I wasn’t on time for certain things. I would begin to make up scenarios of all these things that could’ve happened.
    But then I began to say to myself that “there’s always a solution to a problem”, no matter how hard the situation may seem just keep going, and soon enough you will begin to see yourself grow and do better. I also realized that doubting yourself will not help resolve much in life. If you begin to doubt yourself then you will begin to paint a bad image of yourself. I believe that having faith and believing that there’s always a solution to your problem will help you face you daily challenges and fears.

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  143. “ No one can make you fell inferior without your consent.” This quote by Eleanor Roosevelt means a lot to me due to experiences that I have encountered throughout my life. In middle school everything came to easy to me, the school work was not hard, I did was good at sports, the majority of the students at the school were African American, making friends was not a problem for me, and never felt like I did not belong there. After successfully completing my middle school career and graduating with honors my family, peers, and teachers inspired me to apply to Boston College High School, one of the most prestigious high schools in Massachusetts. So on the first day of high school I showed up full of hope and ready to begin a new chapter in my life. However during the course of my first week there I came to the harsh realization that things were really different. I went from being in the racial majority to attending a school that was over ninety percent white, I went from being one of tallest kids at my school to being one of the shortest, and I went from being one of the smartest ones to one that needed to tutoring to help pass my classes. I remember telling my mom that I did not want to be there and that I wanted to go and attend the local public school that all my friends were at. Then she told me that that the only person who can stop my from succeeding is me, and that I had to see more in myself that what others did. So I did, I started to finally take control of my life and begin to put faith in myself. I was eventually able to make my high school track and field team, I finished the year with a high GPA and I am now able to attend a prestigious university were I will graduate with a degree and be able to become a member of the workforce. All because I was finally able to see the value go myself.

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  144. Being that we live in a misogynistic society in which beauty standards are set by men and as a young girl we are groomed to fit into these standards. For a while and even still now I struggle with self love and appreciating my body for what it is. For years I would hide behind my clothing making sure I hide myself because I wasn’t what everyone else wanted me to be. Aside from body positivity being Latina I have curly hair and the beauty of straight kept hair was always a goal but I myself fell in the trap of believing my curly hair should be straight and ended up damaging it. I now take extreme care of my hair and make sure I never straighten to the point of damaging it. Throughout these years of discovering who I was as a person I have come to realize the only opinion that matters about yourself image is your own. We were not built to please the people I am now embracing my body my hair and I am trying to maintain healthy lifestyle. I no longer care what others opinions are of me those that choose to be negative very bitter and have nothing better to do but judge others. I believe that once everyone is confident with themselves we can move past differences and grow as a society. Women are becoming leaders in this world breaking barriers and growing the diversity of the work force and will no longer succumb to the word of any man.

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  145. During my four years at the Rising Tide Charter Public high school, we as students were expected to do a lot of self reflection of our work, behavior, and impact on our community. We were endowed with a strong sense of integrity, courage, leadership, pioneering, and helping out our community. We had questions that would guide us through the years; “What does it mean to be courageous?”, “What is integrity?”, “what is my place in the community?”, and “What is my place in the world?” Slowly, as we built our understanding of who we were, gathered our acts of courage and integrity to be reflected upon, and digested the positions we held in both our communities and our lives as wholes, we all learned a valuable tool that helped us along the way: Self Reflection.

    Having the ability to look back on what I have done and analyze what I could have done better has set me up for success on multiple occasions. Whether it is taking an alternate route to preparation for a project or rewriting my resume to represent my self more effectively, I believe that self reflection as a skill paves the road to improvement. It has been a big part of my self improvement because when you take a moment to reflect on yourself and your actions, you can learn new ways to success. Failure is improvement and self reflection is the tool that can convert it into such.

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  146. Belief in Oneself
    To believe in yourself is harder than one may think, due to the fact that we are caught up in the situation of comparing oneself to another or trying to live up to the expectations of everyone else. This in turn can make it very hard for a person to stay content with who they are.
    I am a person who is very observational and I always noticed through high school that people would pretend to be someone they weren’t because they were afraid to show their true selves. But what I come to realize is that you will never be happy or have true relationships with people if you don’t trust your own instincts and do what you believe in. You should never define yourself off of other people’s opinions and/or sacrifice things you like because of a boyfriend, girlfriend or best friend. Never try to live up to somebody else’s expectations, set your own goal and live your own life.
    I started to think this way through high school due to the fact that I had noticed that I was consumed with the opinions of how others viewed me and how many “likes” I received, as if that defined my true character. I had always cared about impressing those who were around me until one day I realized that the only opinion that should matter to me is my own. I believe that we develop our own destiny and that we must be true believers in ourselves to be truly happy with ourselves. Everyone has different traits and different histories but that is what drives people to discover new things. Think about it like this, if the only chip created was a “plain potato chip” and no one ever tried to change it or add something to the bland taste you would eventually get sick of it, well that’s the way we should view society. We aren’t just a bag of plain lays potato chips, we all have different opinions, views and traits and I think that we should embrace who we are and the way we think. We as people shouldn’t care about the judgement of another person, especially if that means sacrificing our own happiness because of it.

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  147. Nothing in life is will ever be more empowering than self confidence and having the confidence to express your true self with others and click with them. In the beginning of high school I always thought of myself as an outcast and never thought of the idea that there would be a friend group that fits with me. Actually I didn’t even think much about being able to click with anyone so I always faked being someone else. Faking my personality had a great short term effect which helped me find others that aren’t like the real me and I was able to befriend them, but it always felt wrong not acting like myself, So in the later years that feeling was ongoing and felt as if it would never stop. Due to the stress and emotional pain it was causing me I had started to slowly change back to my true self. At first it felt weird not faking myself as much but I just had confidence that if I kept acting like myself that I would have a big load off my back and life would just turn out for the better. As it turns out the true me wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought, I was always just missing my Self-Confidence, Self-Reliance, Self-Esteem, and Self-Expression. Once I had gained the confidence to be me, and the self-esteem to act like myself in public all the stress was relieved and I feel even more outgoing than what I was before.

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  148. I believe fully in self-improvement. Being the absolute best you can be at any given point. Making the best decisions at allt the right times and learning from your mistakes. I, like many others, fail constantly at a good amount of things on a given day and for the most part, I just give up and move on. More recently, however, I have decided to start believing in myself more and giving things second chances. When an opportunity arises in which I am able to hit the reset button and try again I do. I do this until I have gotten to the point in which improvement does not seem possible. I did not realize the importance of self-improvement until last year when I had heard someone say something along the lines of “If you never try your hardest and be the best person you can be then how will you ever know how great you could have been.” This really resonated with me at the time mostly because of how I just went about life without a care in the world. I was a minimalist and would do just enough to scrape by. This was with my out of school life and especially with my in school life. Extra credit was not ever something that popped into my head. Even if I was struggling in a class why would I go and get help in the class when I had a passing grade often lingered in my foolish mind.

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