Adults often reference the awkwardness of growing up, of adolescence.
And sure, that’s a weird time in life because so much is new and we have no choice but to muscle through the weirdness, surrounded by other people who are in a similar position, led often by people who are condescending and dismissive.
We have to take risks and grow because we have no other choice. Those paths don’t all look the same, of course; regardless, we’re all doing it to some extent.
The problem is that once we find relatively stable ground, many of us stay at that point where we don’t have to risk any more—or feel like we don’t have to risk any more—and we stagnate.
There will be awkwardness any time we’re in a state of learning something new. It might be a new athletic endeavor, a new artistic path, a new intellectual project, a new interpersonal risk, a new intrapersonal journey.
They’re all awkward and uncomfortable and we feel kind of lost and suck at them when we start.
Start anyway. (Or start because!)
Be brave enough to suck at something new.
“You choose what you put out into the world.”
I don’t remember where this crossed my path recently, but it was timely.
It ties in to an earlier post about negative people—from a first-person perspective.
My output of complaining goes in cycles. When I notice it’s increasing, I make an effort to cut it back. It makes my life better, and it makes better the impact I have on the people around me.
(There’s a difference between complaining and talking about something negative that’s happening.)
Soon after seeing the sentiment, I was posting on Facebook. I had been driving The Kid to school, followed by getting myself to work, and the way drivers in front of me interacted with traffic lights was not enhancing my morning commute.
I know there are people who would have joined me in my rant about these drivers.
I chose to post a light and lovely story about The Kid instead, which still got interaction—from many of the same people—but of a different variety. And we were all a little smiley-er for a moment.
(Caveat: there’s a lot of bad stuff happening in our world, in our communities, maybe in our families or homes that we need to speak out about. We can’t pretend these things don’t exist. I’m not at all suggesting that we whitewash all that and just share rainbows and unicorns. Again: there’s a difference between complaining and talking about something negative that’s happening. I could argue that staying silent in the face of injustice—whatever the scale—is allowing said injustice to be put into the world.)
If making the world better by contributing to it in a positive way is insufficient motivation for you, there’s some truth to “you get what you give.” Not in a tit-for-tat kind of way, but I can attest that seasons in my life when I have been friendlier, more attentive, less negative, etc. to and around the people in my circle of influence, in general, I have been met in kind. And it has been easier for me to let go of those who did not treat me in kind. (Certainly, exceptions exist. There are people whose insecurities don’t allow them to be kind, regardless how they are treated.) Saying, “I’m going to be nice to people just so that people are nice to me” might leave a smear of “ulterior motive” in your intentions and knock things out of whack.
Or, we could just boil it down to: reputations are hard to change. Build a good one.
You choose what you put out into the world.
I shared with you a snippet from a podcast regarding emotional contagions and the effect of negative people in your orbit.
If you got to thinking and realized that might be you, this clip might help.
Or if you move through the world feeling you’re less than other people, for any of a variety of reasons, this 13 minutes might change your life. (Feeling “less than” manifests as passive, as defensive, as angry, as perfectionist, as many things…)
While you could watch the whole clip if you have 45 minutes, the piece I’m recommending here starts at 2:10 and goes until 15:00. She starts this clip by talking about weight loss, but that’s not what the clip is about—stick with it.
So many people discrediting each other based on their age. “You are [young/old] so you don’t know anything” attitude.
Take age out of it. Is the person informed? Experienced in this? Depending on who/what the conversation is about, are they articulate? Do they look at things from multiple vantage points?
People at any age can have a legitimate point. Life isn’t as simple as the media (or your crotchety neighbor/coworker, or your kid) makes it out to be, and the good ol’ days weren’t necessarily better. (Nor were they necessarily worse—depends on who you are and where you’re from.)
Everyone has experiences we can learn from, and I want to hear your tales and your advice… and maybe some of it will resonate and maybe none of it will and it will have been an interesting conversation and that’s all.
In spite of having aged, you might actually know less than someone younger and you might want to also listen and consider their advice. Age is not greater than knowledge. There are 15-year-olds who know more than I do. And they might know more than you, too, depending on what you’re talking about.
Making this a little bit broader…
In several classes and trainings I’ve been to in the last handful of years, I’ve had to take a questionnaire titled, “Can you survive in a different social class?” Someone put it on Survey Monkey; you can see it here. (I don’t know who gets the answers—I share it just so you can look at the questions.)
Unless your experience has been broader than most, there’s plenty you could learn just about societal basics of classes that aren’t yours. Or you could learn about what it’s like to be the opposite sex. Or a different sexual orientation. Or a different race. Or religion. Or mental health status. This list could go on and on because we have such a wide variety of ways we pigeonhole people.
So. Listen and think. Be thoughtful—don’t take something in or reject it without processing it first. There’s so much to learn.