Today, as per usual, I awoke and did one of my routine breakfast streams at a local diner. As I sat there and ate my eggs and drank my coffee, I engaged with chat. But then a chatter came in who had been in the stream before but I had forgotten. The name was Magyarguy, which is translated “Hungarian Guy.”
The two of us got to chatting and we discussed things about foreign affairs and other political events & relevant topics. As I was musing my thoughts on things I turned to the subject of something that is very important to me: mistakes. I have made mistakes, I will make mistakes, and let it be clear: these were mistakes.
I think too often people act as if their mistakes are not so bad, and just say everyone makes them, but I want to stress that they are truly mistakes. And many of them no one will ever know about because it happened in passing between me and a random person, or a friend, or at an event, or etc. But mistakes are crucial to growing up and working towards what is right. We live through our experience, as Aristotle says, and mistakes are thus part of that. It’s just how living in an imperfect world goes.
I’m not excusing mistakes but I am just saying that this is a fact of how humans learn and how things occur in the world that we live in.
As I discussed the topic Magyarguy said something that struck me. He said something akin to
“It seems to me that you are struggling with something.”
I thought about it in the moment and all day since I did the stream. Yes, he was correct. I am struggling with something. Namely, what will happen when I am more famous and people are critical of everything I say and do. And further, what will people say if they find out about things that I said and did in the past? And further, what if some of those things weren’t even a big deal? Or what if they never even happened at all?
These are all the things that in our day and age plague our modern generation. The internet has proven a place where things of the past cannot just die. People too often did something dumb in the past, said something offensive, bullied someone, stole something, etc. and then years later after they have grown up and are nothing like then they find themselves on the end of the gun that is social media.
And then they get shot.
Some people never recover their reputation. And what more do you have in our modern age? Our reputation is everything and today it seems that everyone knows this, and that is why people so actively look to destroy others. And it saddens me. That passage of Jesus regarding the woman that the men were going to stone has really been resonating with me.
In it he calls out the hypocrites and dares them to cast the first stone.
Today everyone is casting stones. All the time. Every time we send an angry tweet at someone because they did something there is our modern stone. No one is physically being killed, but their reputation, which may in fact be their livelihood sure is. And that’s not right.
Now, I know that some people out there are bad, and that some mistakes are so grave people should not necessarily be able to run away from them, but many many mistakes are not really that important, and honestly most are the type that you don’t ask forgiveness from, but rather you just go about your daily life and resolve to not doing it again.
Take for example the other day when I shared an embarrassing video of a friend. I found out that it upset her and rightly so, I shouldn’t have done that. I talked to her and apologized but I could tell that she really wasn’t exactly looking for an apology. She knew that I made a mistake, but that it wasn’t truly indicative of my character. She just replied with something akin to that she hoped I would learn and move on. She said
Don’t beat yourself up too much.
I agreed with her completely, and I think her advice was very wise. And that is something that I need to work on. I beat myself up way too much. I try so hard to be a good person and in the moments where I fail I really beat myself up. It’s just how my character is. And honestly, I need to work on this. Because as nice as I will be, I will have moments where I will be a jackass or do something wrong, and I need to realize that I cannot be perfect and that when I fail I need to just get it together and move past it.
Looking backwards forever prevents you from ever moving forward.
And further, I need to really check my problem of wanting everyone to like me. This is a classic entertainer problem, and I would be lying to you if I said that I wasn’t falling into this way of thinking. Not everyone will like me, and surely people will hate me, and even more surely people will be be patiently awaiting me to make a mistake so they can pounce on me and drag my name through the mud.
I need to be stronger in this regard and be prepared to deal with the downside of fame. I can’t have everyone like me. That just isn’t how the world works. But I will say that I will do my part to give everyone else a chance when they slip up, or when something comes up from their past that they aren’t proud of, because I have been there too, and it would be wrong of me to not give them the chance to move on and grow.
And thus, these are the musings that have been going through my head since Magyarguy wrote to me. I thank him. It made me realize that I am too afraid of dealing with hate. I need to just be prepared. Living takes courage and that means weathering through the storm, sometimes the ones that you might have created in the past, and through the ones that you create in the future.
Sure, I could just quit now and never have to worry about anything by not being a public personality, but then that would shameful too: to just give up.
So I will press on, continue doing my stream, and be more courageous. And further, I respect so many of those other public people out there that weather the storm of the hatred that is so commonly being thrown their way in this current age. That certainly is not easy. It would be much easier to just retreat into a hole and never come out, but they choose to fight.
That’s noble. I aspire to be like that.