Wednesday Pep Talk

Dear Self,

The world is full of stupid, mean people. Often they don’t know how stupid they are. Perhaps they have hope–something may enlighten them over time–or they will die stupid. You can try your best to spread education, but in the end the only person you can really control is yourself. Of course these people do not know the state of their stupidity and comically think they are in fact intellectually superior to others. When you encounter somebody of the likes of this, always remember the golden rule: you can only control yourself.

People are mean, and this is usually directly correlated to their stupidity. Something inside of them gets off on being snarky, especially on the Internet if they are too ball-less to do it in person.

Self, you will run into a lot of these snarky people. It will hurt your feelings. It will have you wondering what you said or did that was so wrong and you’ll go to sleep at night with an unsettling feeling right in the pit of your stomach. You’ll feel the sting

The truth is, Self, is that everything stands up to criticism. Everything. Picasso had critics. There are people who hate Shakespeare and Hemingway and Stephen King. There are people who think Spielberg sucks and geez, MLK Jr and Kennedy and Lincoln were actually assassinated by men who didn’t like them. It doesn’t freaking matter who you are or how talented you are or how much you suck. Everybody, everything, can be criticized.

So stop taking it personally. There will be people who hate your politics. There will be people who think your writing is a snore-fest (hopefully not too many!). They are entitled to their opinion. But you have to understand that it is literally impossible to find consensus when it comes to taste. I like black, you like blue. I want to eat Italian, you like Mexican. I think political science is the most fascinating subject, and you like math. We have different tastes in music, books, and films. We are each unique. We don’t have to like the same things. Our preferences are part of what makes us individuals.

Having thick skin doesn’t necessarily mean being less sensitive to criticism. It hurts. Over time and with experience, it hurts less, but it hurts. Having thick skin is about understanding your differences with others, and agreeing to disagree without it undermining your confidence in who you are.

Think about that, Self.

Signed,

Your Observing Ego

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