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“When we interact with others with true sincerity, the other person will more often than not come to respect and value our own character. And this is all the more so when our actions are based on prayer.
Conversely, holding others in contempt only leads to being held in contempt oneself: one whose life is tainted by feelings of hate toward others will come to be reviled by others.
Let us open the path to mutual respect and harmonious coexistence so as to bring an end to this vicious circle that has long been part of human destiny.”
---Daisaku Ikeda, Third President of the Soka Gakkai International
About a couple of months ago, my friend Asan tells me that I tend to hide my strength and personal power from others. Though I have the spirit of a leader, I also have shrink away from such a role and disappear into my own world. This has been true for as long as I can remember: I would take on leadership roles on projects I’ve started or author poetry and other forms of writing—only to deem it unimportant or not good enough. Furthermore, there is still a huge part of me that doesn’t take kindly to judgement.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about what Asan has said and decide to challenge this obstacle. I’ve made a determination to recognize and own my personal strength and to share my life with others as much as I can. I chant day and night about this, looking for some sign of some improvement.
Meanwhile, I volunteer at a local radio station where I’m a co-host of a weekly radio program. Every Wednesday, my co-host and I talk about topics ranging from politics to fan fiction. I even talk about Nichiren Buddhism and my practice on occasion. Though people listen to our radio show, I’ve felt that we could make it better by inviting guests into the studio to discuss their projects. Once I put the word out, friends and local artists respond by sharing their work on the air!
As far as my writing, I’ve begun networking more often—both on the internet and offline. One of the people I’ve reached out to is my friend Dave, a young man I’ve met through a mutual friend. We meet for coffee one day, talking in general about writing and art when he asks me to submit a horror story for a project he’s starting! And he’s not the only one—an editor invites me to write a Three Muskateer-type story after another suggests me as a possible collaborator. I’m very excited about this, considering that I would never think that I would have the courage to even show my writing years ago.
Even my personal relationships with people are starting to change. Today, my friend Sophie and I hang out for the very first time. We have made plans a week or so ago to connect, so I’m very stoked to spend time with her. She picks me up from my house so we could have coffee at Starbucks. We enjoy each other’s company so much that we have what turns into a midday adventure that involves eating grocery-store sushi and sharing personal stories about each other and our individual lives. After telling her about my practice, Sophie now wants to know more about the SGI.
When I return home and reflect on the past week and today, I realize that, my time with Sophie and my other friends show me that I am indeed capable of connecting with others, sharing what I have with them as much as I possibly can. Being around other people also reminds me that I have passions, inner resources, time, and love to give despite my circumstances and limitations. A year ago, I would have concealed myself away in my room and not want to deal with the outside world as much. In reality, I’ve labeled myself unimportant compared to people who are more financially and mentally stable. But now I’m rethinking my false beliefs after a few people have stated that I’m handling my adversity very well.
At this moment, I finally recognize my strength and courage as a human being. I not only share my entire existence with my friends, but I now believe that I can use both writing and radio show to help others express their ideas and share their talents and passions with the Rochester, New York community.