Well, I suppose this could be considered my first venting post (without a list!). I've been thinking so much today about the influence we each have on each other, no matter how ignorant we are of that. So many people claim that they "don't care what others think about them". It doesn't take much logic to realize that is quite impossible. Though it may not be first and foremost in our minds, there is no doubt that the opinions of others rule our lives. I, too, have always thought of myself as one of those people that does things because I want to. I've been very wrong.
My first example: When I was in 6th grade, we were forced to have planners where we wrote down our daily activities as well as short and long-term goals. This was when I decided I was going to attend BYU. Since I was twelve years old, there has been nothing I've wanted more than to go to BYU, and I have worked diligently since then to achieve that goal. After many sleepless nights of self-doubt and confusion, I was accepted to BYU-Provo!!! From the moment I read my acceptance letter, everything felt perfect-just as I had always dreamed. So many people have been so encouraging and congratulating, for whom I am incredibly grateful! Others, however, have been less than accepting. In fact, some of my closest friends expressed outright disappointment, disgust, and even anger towards my decision in attending BYU. As I listened about the stereotypes they had and the demeaning predictions of my future, I quickly questioned whether this was the decision I truly wanted to make. Despite my years of preparation and spiritual confirmation, I doubted myself and my choices. All because a few people had other goals for their lives, and apparently mine as well.
Example number two: Today as I looked for a missionary letter in my never-ending box of notes, I completely distracted myself with pictures and letters from many years past. There is not doubt that high school wasn't the most ideal experience. Each person represented a part of my life I couldn't live without-a support system that has shaped who I am today. Each note and picture brought back the reassurance that there are people around the world who love me and truly desire for my success and happiness. I picked up a note from my dearest Portia Suzanne. Each line was filled was such light and optimism, reassurance and support. Letter after letter, I felt more strength and power to face reality. She is, no doubt, a prime example how one person can change your life. She very well knew of my imperfections and shortcomings, yet she chose to focus on the positive. Most importantly, she expressed those feelings of love and concern.
As I've prepared myself to work at Oakcrest Girl's Camp this summer, I've reflected on the feelings I had as a 12 year old girl, so lost and unsure about life. The more I think about the trials of young women in this day and age, my heart breaks to think of the pressures of the world that are so heavily pressed upon them. I've recently been on a women's empowerment spree, I guess you could say. Each day passes with the realization of how little the world commends women for their magnificent service and character. More than anything I'm saddened to see all the girl's out there whose potential is inhibited by lack of understanding about their divine potential and beauty. My mind is stuck on thoughts of girls who throw themselves at guys, simply because society tells them that's how they should act. Even the simplest amount of self-confidence and outside reassurance would allow them to demand the respect they deserve.
Over the past month, I've been questioning whether or not I've had the influence on others that I've always dreamed of having. Every human is so packed full of potential that only God can understand its capability. As I listened to General Conference, I couldn't help but realize how little I've helped others in comparison to the ability I have to help them. Oh, how rarely we act upon those small feelings we have to lift up another! I suppose my purpose in writing this post is to provoke thoughts in all of you that I've had myself. Furthermore, I encourage everyone to more thoroughly analyse the impact of the words they say, both good and bad. Every vocalization influences someone in some way or another. Are we bringing about the change in others that we really want to see, or are we carried away with careless words that we don't think about?
We each have the ability to literally change lives. Are we fully taking advantage of that capability? Are we telling others those little thoughts we have about them-of their influence on us and example to us? I guess you can consider this a call for all of you to join me in vocalizing our love and appreciation for all those in our lives who have influenced us and continue to help us as we face our daily challenges. Such simple reassurance can pick someone up and help them see their capability to make a difference in everyday lives.
To my family: You have been the greatest source of light in my life. There is absolutely no doubt that I am the person I am today because of you. You have loved me regardless of my mistakes and have encouraged me to do what I love and to be myself. Thank you for your forgiveness, acceptance, and patience with me every day of my life.
To my roommates (including last year): Never before have I felt so comfortable being myself. You have encouraged me to try my hardest and loved me, even when I've fallen short. I appreciate the great examples you are to me. I couldn't have been placed with more uplifting girls! Thank you for your support in all I do. I doesn't go unnoticed.
To the boys downstairs: You have taught me more about myself than I think I ever wanted to know. More than anything, you have shown me the power that comes from friendship. I never thought I could love a group of people so much! You have taught me a lot of humility and understanding of how other's think. You help me realize the areas I need to work on and what I can do to be a better person. Thank you for all the fun times and crazy adventures.
To all my friends from high school: You have directly shaped my life in every way possible. I can't even comprehend how blessed I have been to have such wonderful people in my life. I will never forget how much each of you have impacted me and the person I am. I am so grateful that I was able to grow up in an area with people who have the same values and priorities as I do. You have helped me learn what truly matters in life and how I can achieve that. Thank you for your never-ending love and continual concern for my well-being.
I know this was super long but I just couldn't keep it in anymore! As always, thanks for reading :) Comments are always welcome