A young boy sits on the curbside of a filthy street, a run-down home belonging to a single mother in the background. A girl is working her third straight shift, trying to make ends meet. She is too poor to move away but yet can’t make enough money to stay. A man walks the streets. Down on his luck, he wonders when something will break his way. A woman looks at a photo of her two kids that she never sees. She works all day – all night. She hopes one day that they will understand why. In another day, another place, nothing would be out of the ordinary about these people – all good people. However, due to circumstance or just seemingly having life pass them by, they are down on their luck and they question their hope for the future.
All of these stories are fiction yet fact. They do not allude to one singular event, but rather the collective events that happen in the corners that we don’t see or do not look to find every day. What gets missed is the fundamental idea that each person has value to them. Each person is someone. They only have to believe it. By having more individuals who believe in themselves, we can perhaps better our world – even if only by a small amount. This is done through empowering people to believe in themselves and allowing our humanity to be a guiding force in larger decisions, such as policies aimed at preventing instances of inequality and unequal opportunity.
The power of self-belief and knowing that those around you care about you and see the worth in you is a powerful tonic to the human condition. While there are lost souls in this world and not all people have goodness in their hearts, there are many who do. Yet they live in a world that was depicted above. Many have become lost souls who have had their potential imprisoned under the guard of lost hope. Maybe that hope, that potential only needs to be unlocked. Maybe that person only needs an opportunity where they can see the light and look yonder to the edge of the horizon. Maybe once they see that horizon and what lies beyond it, they will see their worth and spread their wings and fly.
The person who believes in themselves and uses the power that they find within themselves is a strong person. There is a line from a movie I once saw that I feel sums this up, where one character realizes that he and those around him are stronger than they appear. In fact, he realizes that by believing in themselves, those who are oppressing them know that they are powerful as well.
The lesson to be learned here is that when others give us the opportunity to grow and we discover how to believe in ourselves, we are stronger than the force that seemingly keeps us locked within its walls. We are strong enough to break those chains and spread our wings and fly. Hopefully the course that we fly is one that leads to the world being a better place and not one of darkness, where a race – the human race – finds itself ceasing to exist, brought to its knees by the evil force of hatred.
How do we help empower people and unlock their potential? Ladies and gentlemen, we are the answer. We, by our actions that we take towards one another, dictate the course of our society – both in our personal interactions and the policies that we influence. We help empower people until they soar like the eagle or tear them down until they are reduced to the powerless dust on the sidewalk through our actions. If we want to change the picture painted in the first paragraph, we must look at ourselves in the mirror. If you want to empower people and allow them to grow and see the worth in themselves, you must believe in them. Perhaps, if we take those small steps, more people will believe in themselves and allow themselves to grow. Perhaps, if we look as to how to help the cause of all people, our policies will be more fair and impartial in regards to opportunity.
So, let us believe in one another. Let us be the shining ray of hope and be a lighthouse to those drifting in the rough sea, searching for shore. Ultimately, we are one race and the future of our society depends on us building each other up, not tearing each other down. Let us hold a hand out for our fellow man and help every man and woman reach their full potential. That is how we build a society that begins to free itself from the chains of inequality. That is how we build a better tomorrow for all.
“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
~ Robert F. Kennedy