A little over a decade ago, I made the biggest mistake of my life, and lost almost everything that I cared about. This mistake caused me to experience many hardships, including ultimately a divorce and months of estrangement from everything I knew and loved. While difficult, this forced me to examine myself and my purpose in a way that I don’t think many people take the opportunity to do.
I guess I’m humble enough to worry that the above paragraph sounds vaguely narcissistic, and I’ll probably rewrite it a few times ineffectually attempting to make it sound better. On the other hand, that kinda describes me too: humble in a narcissistic sort of way. To me, it’s very important to remain critical of yourself, and to always (at least attempt to) keep an open mind for new information and new perspectives, while continuing to be wary of our influences.
Natalie Wynn once said, “We have to be able to make room for people to change.” She was talking about keeping the door open for others to evolve their perspectives, but I think this applies to ourselves as well. We all fuck up, and we all will fuck up again – sometimes we’ll fuck up really bad. That is part of being human!
If you’ll indulge me with a second quote, as TNG’s Guinan says, “Sometimes the game is to know when to consider yourself before others. Give yourself permission to be selfish.” One of the best ways forward from our mistakes is to try to learn from them and move on without the baggage of regret. We hold ourselves back as much or more than other people do, and sometimes you have to remember to love and improve yourself too.
Lucenti is about creating a better community for us all, but in order to do that we also need to take care of ourselves – to give ourselves permission to be selfish. Look through those pages of your own history, and don’t be afraid to reread a few of the difficult parts now and then. You might be surprised at the strength those fresh perspectives of the past can help you bring to others in our community here and now.