⚠️ This article has examples from my personal life, if you would rather not know about some things… then it is better not to read.
I turned 30 last June, I reached a major age milestone and have also been battling with some personal struggles — so I hope that things I have had to learn the hard way make life easier for everyone else. So, let’s start (if you have additional advice that you would like to contribute, feel free to write them in the comments).
13. Do Not Fixate on Things Outside of Your Control
For me, this was putting faith in a higher power. Believing that someone selects a path for your benefit can help with reflection, instead of cursing the heavens — you wonder if you, as an individual, could improve. Also, reading the Bible and trusting God helped me feel mercy towards people that have hurt me (example: my biological parents). As a child, parental abuse can seem more harmful because you put your whole life in that person’s hands (they are essentially like a God figure in your development), but finding faith made me realize that there is only one Father, and parents are actually more like siblings than anything! Realizing that gives the situation less gravity and control over your life. It is better to fight for things you have power over, and trust that God and/or like-minded people are striving to improve things; the weight of the world is not on your shoulders alone!
12. Never Forget the People or Things You Love
Even if it is painful, sweeping those kind of feelings under the rug can be harmful to your psyche. From my experience, it is better to confront the lingering emotions or channel them into something creative. Remembering how you felt when you first watched an anime that blew your mind (or a novel that altered your perspective on something that you had never once considered before) is important. There is such a thing as toxic nostalgia, dwelling on the past for too long is never good, but remembering when/why you fell in love with something can be a strong motivator.
11. Judge Based on Actions, Not Words
This one is simple, but if someone acts in a way that is contrary to what they say, run away! Become friends or romantic partners with those that say what they do and do what they say. Likewise, if someone says something hurtful to you, it is still better to judge their actions (unless they make a habit of verbally abusing you). It is also better not to assume someone’s character based on their looks or class, because you are most-likely wrong about the pre-conceived notion you have. If you want an indicator of a friend’s personality, pay attention to body language and if they say subtle put-downs (also, pay attention to how they see your success and worth). It can be hard when someone uses rosy language or flatters you (or the dreaded love-bombing tactic), so it is important to stay alert and mindful.
10. Focus on One Project at a Time
My Grammy (my mother’s mother) is an accomplished concert pianist and painter, so when I was a kid, I asked her about how to be like her and she answered with “focus on one thing at a time, and when you get good at one thing — you can move onto something else.” I was able to write three books in a year, because I made it my sole focus, and that was the primary thing that I was thinking about in 2020. This year, since my laptop is gone for an indefinite period of time, the visual novel is my primary concern. So, everything in my creative-process has to do with getting from Point A to B. Needless to say, it was invaluable advice coming from a woman that came from a time period where art and music weren’t as easy to learn and produce as they are now. Even though I work on the fanfic and book reviews, I constantly remind myself that the project comes first. Though, it can be easy to forget in a world of instant gratification.
9. Do Not Feel Ashamed of the Things You Genuinely Like
There was a friend I once had, we’re not friends anymore, who said to me, “Everyone calls you the anime girl, you don’t want to be known as that for the rest of your life, do you?”
While, yeah, I want to be seen as a more complex human-being (aside from that hobbies that I’m loudly vocal about) — I am actually flattered to be associated with cartoons that people put their hearts, souls, and lives into creating. At the time, it felt shameful when he put it that way, but in retrospect: I own that insult. And now that I have made my own animated shorts, I know how much time and energy goes into it all.
If you have a passion or a thing that you love: own it.
Note: This incident happened six or seven years ago — so anime wasn’t as topical and trendy as it is now. Either you were an awkward weeaboo or a downright degenerate for indulging in the fandom. My brother and I were really big U.C. Gundam fans as teenagers, but my brother hide the fact… because he was a jock and he didn’t want his reputation to be tarnished. That was kind of how the climate was back then — I still remember being bullied for even discussing the newest episode of InuYasha in middle school.
8. Nobody is Special or Entitled to Anything
This is important to say in this day-in-age, but social media does not validate your existence. The amount of followers or likes you get does not make you a more important person. If you are creative, you are not entitled to other people’s time or attention — even if you have talent. Being an anime fan, I have learned that plenty of incredible series go under the radar. Things like race, class, sexuality, or modern society’s ethics do not define your worth. As the late Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Always remember that your character is the most important asset that you can brandish.
7. Realize Your Potential By Pushing Your Limitations
If you have been following me for awhile, you know that I don’t always reach my goals. I try, but I am a human and often have limitations to what I can accomplish; it is best to see yourself that way, instead of giving into feelings of shame. You are not a robot, it is okay to make mistakes or over-shoot with your goals.
6. Do Not Be Ruled By Toxic Pride
Subtitle: Use Ego-Death and Shame As a Resource for Self-Growth
By definition, the distinguishing factors for pride are this: positive pride is taking joy in things you worked hard to accomplish, while toxic pride is self-idolatry, sadistic contempt, vanity or vainglory. It is also referred to as a conflated ego or hubris. Not only does this level of pride make you a nasty person to be around, but it is also the recipe for unhappiness. It is much more fulfilling to uplift the people around you and navigate the world with a sense of humility.
5. Recognize Your Triggers
Subtitle: Surround Yourself with People Who Notice/Care About Your Triggers
With this one, I am more talking about your close friends, family, or a significant other. A positive example of this is when I’m watching TV with my partner, if I panic or dissociate — he’ll gently pat my leg and ask me if I’m okay. This is really helpful, because with dissociation… I, myself, sometimes won’t notice right away if anything is happening, but he’s on the outside, so he’ll say something if I’m being unusually spacey or aloof. And that small, considerate gesture helps me identify what could of made me feel that way, and helps me notice if something specific happened to illicit a certain reaction. If people do not respect your boundaries or diminish the severity of your triggers, they are not worth keeping around.
4. Your Worth Is Not Defined By Social Media Clout or Fame
Honestly, I don’t believe that there should be such a thing as an A-list celebrity… at that level, there is too much an open window for abuse and exploitation. In an ideal world, everybody should be able to earn a cult following and live a normal life. See: Nobody is Special or Entitled to Anything, for more of my input.
3. Faithful Friends Are Not Impossible to Find
As I mentioned earlier, I grew up in an abusive environment — therefore, I always gravitated towards people who I subconsciously knew would use or betray me. When I turned 27 or 28, everything suddenly made sense to me and I felt then that I had reached a higher state of cognizance. I am still unsure exactly why everything dawned on me at that time, but I attribute the heightened awareness to God. Since I was attracted to people that reminded me of the adults in my childhood, I had a jaded view of reality and had the belief that no one is 100% faithful or trustworthy. But I was wrong, even if you want to be cynical and say that 98% is the peak of trustworthiness — it is crucial to know that good, caring people do exist. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is a show that talks about the rectitude of lost people, friendship, and having faith, rather than letting paranoia dictate your life; great show to watch if you’re having issues!
2. Control Does Not Equal Love
I have had many people do something controlling or damaging to me, and claim that it was out of love or concern. As the old adage goes, if you love someone — you know how to let them go. If you’re taking care of a bird with a wounded wing, you let them go when they’re ready to fly, right? Even if you will never see them again, you have to think of what’s best for the other person. And, though —for the most part— everyone sees themselves as a positive influence on others, sometimes people are toxic for each other.
1. Be Your Authentic Self
This kind of coincides with the: Do Not Feel Ashamed of the Things You Genuinely Like segment, but it is best to be your truest self. And if you don’t know who you are, go searching. A good litmus test for this is thinking, would me as a kid like the me now?
I typed up a new schedule earlier this morning, please give it a read if you’re interested – https://eggheadluna.wordpress.com/2021/09/11/goals-for-the-week-september-12-2021