BOOK Only one thing is gonna walk you through this, Mal. Belief. MAL Sermons make me sleepy, Shepherd. I ain't looking for help from on high. That's a long wait for a train don't come. BOOK When I talk about belief, why do you always assume I'm talking about God?
There’s a great scene in the movie Serenity by Joss Whedon, whether Shepherd Book is talking to Mal about belief. Book tries to get Mal to understand that belief in oneself and belief in other human beings is the only way that he will survive the oncoming story (I don’t want to spoil it too much). For a long time in my life I have lacked belief in myself. I’ve always tried to find belief in others, rather than putting that trust in myself. The world will get better, people will be better. My trust has historically been given out to other people, as I always felt I could not have faith in myself, my capacity for change and growth. I’ve always wanted to help people, and believe that they would come through for me. Having this belief in others is not bad. In fact, when you believe in others they tend to reward you for your faith in them. The problem was externalizing my belief as opposed to also internalizing it.
This changed about 2 weeks ago. On New Years I was having a conversation with someone who told me I was attractive. Now that doesn’t sound like some life-changing moment, but it was. It was life changing, because I have never considered myself, good, or attractive. In fact, I had constantly been told the inverse. I was always told I was unnattractive. To think about it, its actually kind of sad how much of my life has been put into self-loathing because I let other people dictate what I thought of myself. This idea of self-denial has been my own creation, my own choice for its continued occupation of my brain. I know it sounds unmodest (and our society seems to hate any form of self-pride) but I am me and that person is great. I realized that I had spent so much of my life beating myself down, that I let myself live vicariously through others.
One small thought can be a paradigm shift, a new way to examine yourself. Ever since that night, I have been sifting through the possibility of recreation, of a person with more self-confidence than before. Belief doesn’t always have to be outside of you. You don’t have to look to some deity for belief. I know its cheesy, but looking inside of yourself, and realizing you’re an awesome person and that’s something to be proud of is part of the existential journey, the beginning of being responsible for yourself, and shaping the world you want to live in. Part of this blog, and it’s creation, will always be a homage to that moment on New Years. The first time I realized I needed to put out, not for someone else but for myself.