I usually wrap up the arbitrary time interval of the Gregorian calendar with some “Things I Learned post(s) (like this, this, this, or this). This is the second chunk of Things from this year (catch up on Part 1).
We all have thoughts in our head that we didn’t put there ourselves. But it’s our responsibility to decide which of those guide our actions.
Empty mandates to “love yourself” are pretty useless, especially when they don’t address the real world environments and systems that contribute to self-hate. You don’t need need to meta-berate yourself for having insecurities. While you’re working through them, you can have a healthy, functional (if not quite loving) working relationship with yourself that allows you to live and love your life.
Don’t assume you don’t have something to teach someone with more status than you. Don’t assume you don’t have something to learn from someone with less status than you.
I don’t need a clearly articulated “good reason” for leaving a situation I don’t feel good about (personally or professionally). The good reasons become clear with a little distance.
Originality isn’t everything. Some of the most potent ideas are the ones that lots of people are thinking and not enough people are saying out loud.
Don’t underestimate how far you can get by reaching out to people with genuine excitement.
The work-in-progress version of myself can be worth sharing. I can be performing professionally and also beginning new phases of training. I can write about topics as I continue to learn about them. I can offer help with personal problems I’m also still working through. You don’t have to stay silent until you’re “finished” growing, or become stagnant once you’ve started speaking.
When you start getting real, some people will get closer, and others will back away. I’ve been lucky this year to have some wonderful humans in the former category, whose presence more than outweighs any superficial relationships I’ve lost.
The competition of who has the most correct/radical sociopolitical opinions can be a trap. Being critical is important, but I’m more interested in supporting and joining people putting something positive (and inevitably imperfect) into practice.
Being late to the (metaphorical) party isn’t a reason not to show up. Chances are once you’re there, you’ll realize lots of people are still arriving.
Don’t put people on pedestals.
People who are experts in one area might be terribly ignorant in another. Artists who have made brilliant work can also make crap. People who have done important social justice work can also be assholes or abusers.
It’s not fair to demand infallibility from people we respect, or to dispose of them as soon as they slip up. It’s dangerous to unconditionally accept ideas coming from people we respect. And it’s ironically dehumanizing to see people we respect as superheroes, overlooking the possibility that they struggle or need support themselves.