Originally written for 365 Jedi by Opie Macleod.
Everyone is a Critic.
“Don’t lose track of the praise even in a stream of constructive criticism. Or vice versa.” – Luke Skywalker
More so in this day and age. The ease of putting out content and the ease of people being able to directly respond to said content (YouTube for example) has really helped the rise of the critic. Everyone feels their two cents is worth shouting from the rooftops – and it just might be. However the thing to reminder is not to get so caught up in all the critics and naysayers. Do what you do because you enjoy doing it. Know yourself, your goals, and keep to it. Don’t focus in on the negative things other people think or say you are. Take criticism with a grain of salt and use Jedi Self-Reflection practices as a way to stay grounded and focused on your goals.
“One can fail at a task but still learn the lesson.” – Luminara Unduli
You are going to. It is going to happen. No doubt you already have a few on your record. You are still here. Probably wiser for them. You live, you mess up, you learn, you grow. Sometimes we get success first try. That is nice. And refreshing. And it sucks when we try and fail. It doesn’t feel good to work towards something and fall flat. No fun. Especially when we are like – “that was just a boneheaded mistake. I am better than that.” But it does happen. Don’t live in fear of mistakes. You will have areas of weakness. You are not some all-knowing, all-powerful Jedi that is incapable of mistakes. Only I am that awesome as a Jedi ;). You work on areas that need improvement. You keep your strengths sharp. And when you make a mistake you acknowledge it, learn from it, and move forward wiser for it.
You Have Grown.
“Patience. A Jedi you still are, and with you is the strength to overcome.” – Yoda
So if I met my 1999 self – that kid would get a stern lecturing and probably a few marshmallows thrown at his head (not a bad kid, just a bit misguided). My 2006 self? I’d just punch that dude in the mouth (eff that dude). You are not who you were, and in ten years? You are not going to be who you are now. Hopefully these changes and growth are for the better. A place you are good with and happy to continue to move forward from. You are reading Jedi stuff so I figure you are heading in an awesome direction ;). Just keep on. Put in the time and effort. You’ll get to where you want to be. So don’t dwell on who you were. Instead celebrate who you are and who you are becoming.
“Always in motion the future is.” – Yoda
Nothing is set in stone. The end of your story hasn’t been written yet. Your journey is not at its end. You may find the Jedi Path is not for you. Cool. You can go a different direction at any time. You are not pegged in. You have the ability to make changes in your life. Feel free to make use of that ability at any time. Determine the direction you want to go and go boldly. But don’t feel that you aren’t able to alter your course. Course-Correction is a valuable practice. You are on the open seas, not railroad tracks.
Beware the Lies.
“Trust isn’t worth anything when it’s built on lies.” – Seha Dorvald
Self-Honesty is key to the Jedi lifestyle. However some people have been telling themselves lies for a long time. How worthless they are. How nobody will miss them or cares about them. Lies told so often one begins to believe their own non-sense. You are not some perfect immortal butterfly all glorious and ever-lasting. You have weaknesses and flaws – wabi-sabi – that is what makes you beautiful and valuable. So beware the lies and instead be a bit more objective and honest with yourself. It is okay to see value in yourself. And when you see the flaws, the things you don’t like, just remember that you are in the process of growing and changing. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself the time to grow. Acceptance is peace.
Respect Your Feelings.
“Search your feelings, every day. Keep careful watch. The worst monsters are not those from without.” – Ikrit
Your feelings are valuable indicators of the self. Letting you know your preferences and sensibilities. But they are not the entirety of the world. Don’t focus so much on you feelings that you ignore the facts of your situation. Don’t lose sight of your options, opportunities, and advantages by getting lost in over-confidence or defeatism. Your feelings are one of the many tools in your toolbox, not the only one.
Mind Your Company.
“Friendship shows us who we really are.” – A Friend in Need, Clone Wars 4.14
Birds of a feather…. Surround yourself with people that are good for your environmental and overall personal well-being. Find people with similar interests. Join a dance class or a after-school gaming club. Don’t keep yourself tied to toxic people or relationships. Instead fill your world with people who see the best in you and encourage you to see the best in yourself. If we are going to be constantly bombarded with information, we can at least do our best to make that positive and useful information. Giving and spending our time with people who appreciate us (and that gift of time/company) is a wonderful thing to have in life.