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HOPE Champion

Becoming My Own Friend

Headshot of Kara Durham

by Kara Durham
Salt Lake City, Utah

Over 10 years ago, I was introduced to Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, but because my life was shaken by a health condition, I forgot about Buddhism.

Then, in 2018, I lost four people who were very important to me. The depression that followed felt insurmountable. I started therapy but couldn’t muster the will or desire to see the good around me.

I decided to reconnect with the SGI in March 2020. Together with a wonderful SGI member, I read the first volume of The New Human Revolution, and my life started to change.

Soon after, an internal voice crept in, saying: What’s the point? Nothing really matters. When I heard this voice in the past, I was usually overcome with an unshakable fog of depression and self-loathing and had to pretend that everything was fine. But this time, something was different. Almost immediately, another voice inside me said: I deserve to be happy. I don’t have to accept this anymore.

For the first time, I had the desire to fight back. After chanting every day for a week, the negative voice was gone. The other voice remained, like a hero who had chased off a monster. After a lifetime of self-hatred, at last I had become my own friend.

My vow for 2021 to be a year of victory has already been realized. I have found belief. I am emboldened by Ikeda Sensei’s wisdom. I no longer face my demons alone. Instead, I am filled with the light of hope and strength from my SGI family and, most of all, from my own life.

Hope in Uncertain Circumstances

Joy and Gratitude in My Heart