Saturday, September 24, 2011

Seeing isn't always believing...

As of this morning, I realize that while I may come off as cynical, I'm actually a die-hard optimist. People are inherently good and have good intentions, with the exception being socio- or psychopaths and that being a completely different topic altogether.

When people are not good and they don't have good intentions (it happens quite a bit these days), the majority are either hurting from an internal pain for unknown reasons or their very survival feels threatened. Many smart, happy people do horrible, cruel things out of fear or pain. When they're terrible drivers and rude customers, it's because they haven't figured their feelings out. When they lie, steal and cheat, it's a survival instinct; those are responses to a presumed threat. When individuals constantly yell at their children or stop connecting with their partners, it's because they're experiencing periods devoid of love, appreciation and pride or they're remorseful, regretful and angry. Deep down, most humans want to love and be loved. Humans value themselves and we want to be appreciated; we know our true potential if only given the chance. This I firmly believe.

I'm a hopeful person. I hope that people around me are exceptional. I hope that whatever their intentions, they are generally honorable. I hope that people defy history and cast off negative labels. I hope that my own dishonest history isn't typified as 'thief' or 'liar' or 'problem child' or 'black sheep'. Instead, I hope it's understood for what it was: a response to a perceived threat. I hope that my current and future conduct proves such theory. I hope that what others see as my 'reckless' or 'dangerous' behavior is somehow understood as a desperate need to simply... live. A need to embrace life and feel. From my first steps to my wild adrenaline-rush missions to the relationship minefields, LIVING is the purpose and adventure is the goal. It's all a race to experience. It's a push to feel.

Physical scars are an outward manifestation of an inner search for reality. I want new experiences and feelings and opportunities, even if some of them seem negative or bad at the time -- that's how we learn! I want to meet new people, try new things and see new places, even if those people are scary, the things are dangerous and the places aren't as great as I imagined... Because most of the living will be incredible. And isn't that the point of being alive?

I overextend myself often in my quest to live. I try to do everything at once and please every person in my life. Fortunately, age and experience have both taught me that you can't do everything or please everyone; perspective is both slow-coming and invaluable. But I also know that I want my loved ones to be happy and the things I'm doing to be great -- which means slowing down and investing time. Anything worth doing is worth doing right the first time.

I invest time in experiences because they make me a better person and lead to both job security and success further down the road. I invest time in job security and success because it allows me to help friends and family and experience more. I invest time in helping others because it helps motivate them to live fuller lives and make themselves happy instead of depending on someone else. I invest time in helping others because I had very little advice, caring, support or confidence shown in me.

While that may not have been the best way to grow into a successful adult, it was certainly an effective teaching tool... But only because I decided to use it as a tool instead of a handicap. It created a strong, independent, self-sufficient woman who wants to help others, even if I get taken advantage of on occasion. My growing process produced a savvy, resourceful instinct and desire to learn that invariably led to positive things. It wasn't easy. It wasn't always fun. I wouldn't wish some of my experiences on anyone else and usually go out of my way to ensure my brothers and sisters, friends, family and even strangers don't have to live through that... Because I believe in people.

I believe that, again, people are inherently good. I believe that some people just need to be believed in. A proper measuring of others is in order; blind naivete will only lead to problems. BUT. I believe in the human capacity for extraordinary. I believe in appreciating differences. I believe in making mistakes and learning from them. I believe in encouraging and supporting each other for support's sake despite opinion, religion, race, creed, sex or background. I believe that one person can change the world. I believe that that same person can start a movement of motivation. I believe in transformation.

I believe in all of this because I believe in myself.