Sometimes I end up spending a lot of time and energy dealing with questions around my ethics, my values, and my actions. (Yes, like the stuff around Steampunk Universe last week.) Enough that others tell me they would have given up, or not bothered.
My privilege is part of that. As a middle-class straight white cis guy, I’ve got privilege to burn. I’m sure that not having to deal with the microaggressions and just generic crap that women, people of color, and LGBTQ folks have to face every single day means that I’ve got more tolerance for taking on this kind of stuff.
It’s also part of why I take on this kind of stuff. I’ve long noticed – and it’s gotten worse over the last year – that a woman or person of color says exactly the same thing as I do, they’ll get so much more blowback.
The other part – and the part I really wanted to focus on here today – is a mindset thing. (Admittedly, this mindset also comes from my place of privilege, YMMV.)
When someone challenges my actions, my ethics, and my choices, I consider it a gift.
It can be an emotionally trying gift at times. It can be a difficult gift. But it is a gift.
I do my damnedest to be consistent. My choices and actions should reflect my ethics and values. But I’m also aware of how good the human brain is at being able to create post-hoc justifications for actions. There are all sorts of examples, like this one about how religious Trump supporters have suddenly changed their mind.
But as Yeshua said, one should remove the beam from one’s own eye first. He didn’t point out how *hard* that was, but that’s why criticism, challenges, and critique are a gift.
It gives me the opportunity to look at myself, to look at my own actions, and to see if I’m really and truly being the person that I want to be. To see if I’m acting like the person I think I am.
As a final note, though, it is important to remember Ze Frank’s advice when choosing what critiques to listen to:
Let me remember that the impact of criticism is often not the intent of the critic, but when the intent is evil that’s what the block button is for.
If you haven’t yet, please consider chipping towards our Kickstarter for Steampunk Universe, which has done a lot for me and others in exactly the ways I talk about above.