When you open yourself up emotionally to someone, there’s always a chance they’ll take advantage of your vulnerability.
This could happen with a family member, friend, or love interest. Really anyone. We as humans are social beings, wanting to be accepted and loved and wanting to feel like we belong. We need others to help us when we’re down, comfort us in bad times, and encourage us to do our best. We want to know that we’re needed.
Opening yourself up completely to someone else is scary.
It’s letting them see inside of you, into those dark and dusty corners of your heart no one knows about.
It’s telling them things you’ve never told someone else or could never imagine saying out loud.
It’s feeling so comfortable around them that you don’t care if the two of you just sit in silence.
It’s knowing that there is someone in the world that makes you absolutely happy, and it’s weird to believe that a person could be the source of your happiness.
Some people aren’t in touch with their emotions enough to do this, but for those of us who have these deep feelings (a blessing and a curse), it’s like venturing into a new world, knowing in the back of your mind that you could end up getting hurt.
But that’s the chance you take, even if you may not think about at first.
Sometimes you just click with a certain person, and it’s easy to tell them things you normally don’t tell someone you just met. Those people could be the best people you have in your life, and they can also be the ones who hurt you the most.
It all comes down to trust.
By being open with someone else, you’re hoping that they’ll be understanding of everything you say and do. That if they make a promise, they’ll keep it. That they’ll support you in choices you make, whether or not they agree with what you’re doing. That they’ll just be there for you.
Because if you were in their shoes, you know you’d do it for them.
But sometimes life just doesn’t work like that. It may at first, and it’s great knowing you have someone to can tell absolutely anything to, no matter how crazy or insane it sounds. It’s like finding your missing puzzle piece in life.
Then you blink and it’s all gone.
You and the other person just end up going down different paths, something comes between the two of you that creates a breaking point, or words are exchanged that could bruise the relationship.
You’re left blindsided by something you never thought could happen.
You feel betrayed, deceived, cheated.
One thing to remember is that most times, what people do isn’t because of you; it’s because of themselves. Everyone has different moral codes and ideas about how life should be lived. Sometimes we don’t find out these differences until after something happens to sever the connection between you and the other person.
But this is how we see people’s true colors. When people are faced with a crisis or a stressful situation, you’re able to witness what they believe is important in life and what is not. You get to see who they really are, and they may not be the same person you thought they were.
Don’t blame yourself for not seeing the signs earlier. You didn’t know any of this was going to happen.
It’s not healthy to constantly battle yourself about what you did wrong or if you did something different how things would be now. You didn’t know that the other person had a secret agenda. You did everything you could and what you thought was right at the time.
They say time heals everything, and although it really sucks, it’s true. You’re allowed to distance yourself from that person because you’re hurt or frustrated or disappointed. These feelings are valid because they are your feelings and reactions to what happened. Don’t feel stupid for thinking you’re overreacting or that it’s not that big of a deal.
Trust can be broken in an instant, but it takes a long time to be rebuilt. And sometimes that’s just how it is.
You feel like a piece of you is missing, that this person is out free in the world with your secrets and dreams. That’s just one of the horrible consequences of putting your trust in someone else. Telling them what you did isn’t a mistake. You can only learn from this experience in the future.
You also can’t seem to wrap your mind around why the other person did what they did. It just doesn’t make any sense to you, and it’s frustrating. Because you know you wouldn’t do what they did to someone else. But sometimes there are things we will never understand. That’s something we have to accept, as sucky as it is.
In cases like this, you should take care of yourself first. It can feel like one step forward, three steps back, but any progress is progress. Take it one day at a time and try not to think about it.
You may reconnect with the other person after six months, a year, whatever, and things will be okay again. Just keep a few guards up to protect yourself, but don’t completely shut the person out.
Or you may never talk to them again. Your time with them ran its course, and it could be a blessing in disguise.
And if you miss them, it’s okay. They were an important part of your life and meant something to you. It won’t hit you at first, but it will at night when you’re trying to fall asleep or when you hear their favorite song or you think of some inside joke the two of you had.
It’s going to suck, but let your emotions happen and don’t try to stop them. If you try to stop them, then it creates even more of an inner struggle.
It seems like it’s taking forever for you to move on from them because they hurt you, but give it some time and if you look back, you’ll see you’ve come a lot further than you ever thought you could.
There has been quite a lot of buzz on the Internet lately about “Generation Y” and the “Millennials”. You cannot look left or right without finding an article decrying them as lazy, unmotivated, and ungrateful. Some would call into effect a great “Ass-Whooping” by which they shall be indoctrinated into the style of upbringing their own parents faced, because “kids these days are all too soft, too unaware of the harsh reality that awaits them”. Some simply call them out on their apparent disconnect with reality. But what really is this reality that we are looking at? Times have changed since our parents, and our parent’s parents, grew up. The world is a different place and it requires a different approach. Here are three reasons why I believe that my generation will make great parents.
1. Millenials Have A Fresh Perspective
If you ask nearly any parents with children out of the house, they will tell you that they raised their kids how they were raised. They turned out all right, so why change anything? The problem is, everything about how children grow up now is different than it was 30 years ago. We have instant access to vast amounts of information, and because of greater technology, the capability to maintain a much greater level of global awareness and concern. We are not resistant to new ideas, new doctrines, the way that our parents are. Civil rights movements have the ability to become viral and gain support from a massive audience that could never have been reached even 10 years ago. I maintain the belief that a parent’s viewpoint will largely influence a child’s development, and because of Generation Y’s great exposure to worldwide concerns and movements, our children will be open and tolerant to greatly varying ways of life. They will not look upon the world through the jaded glasses that generations before them have.
2. Millenials Have A Thirst For Experience
The great battle cry of so many of our generation is the need to travel, to experience, to leave the places we know and find something new. We are no longer content to settle, to live life by the standards that have been set. I went to college very close to where I grew up, and although I don’t regret that decision at all, I have never been happier since I picked up and moved somewhere new with nothing holding me back. I needed the change of pace, and I needed something new. So many others like me feel the same need to leave the familiar and face the unknown. As I stated earlier, I believe that a parent’s perspective has a large influence on a child’s development. Our children will be imbued with a desire to gain a greater understanding of other cultures, a desire to gather and cherish new experiences, not as something alienating, but as an educational and inspirational quest on the path to find themselves.
3. Millenials Have A Desire To Share
Pinterest, Etsy, and many other similar websites thrive because of their ability to bring together communities based on common interest. Entire websites and blogs are devoted to lifestyles, and their authors want others to read and learn from them. In today’s world of technology and instant information access, everybody has a voice and an outlet through which to express it. If somebody creates something that they like, they want to share it with others. It is so easy to do this that it has practically become an occupation. People spend hours compiling a list of pins that they like because it makes it easier for other users to find something cool. Bloggers write post after post because they want to entertain their readers. We, as a generation, look at this influx of information very differently than generations before us would. We do not disregard an author because his post was made on a blog rather than in a textbook. We value everybody’s opinion because we have seen so many opinions that we have no choice but to come to the conclusion that no one voice is better than the others. This is another value that I believe will be passed on to our children.
I know that our generation’s children will grow up with parents who are compassionate and understanding, who share a great global concern, and who are more connected to each other than ever before. The kids will be all right.
I used to work for a very small auto insurance company. Specifically, I worked on the underwriting software the company used to rate its customers. The rating each customer gets then determines the premiums they paid for insurance. And there were plenty of things that affected each customer’s rating. The big ones were age, gender, marital status, driving history, and the zip code of the customer’s primary residence.
After each customer gets rated, the highest “rated” (read: highest liability) driver gets assigned to the most expensive car available on the policy. So that means if there’s a BMW 5 series and a Honda Civic on the policy and there’s a 16 year old male (statistically the most risky) and a 44 year old female (the least risky), the teenager gets assigned to the Bimmer while his mom gets the Civic, regardless of who drives what in real life. Or if you have two vehicles but just one driver on the policy, that driver gets assigned to the more expensive one as if he only drove that vehicle.
The reason has to do with minimizing liability. It would take a lot more time and effort to verify that each driver on the policy is driving the car they say they would drive. And that would cost the insurance company more money. So instead of that, they just assume the worst case scenario and then charge accordingly. All of this happens with the explicit approval of each state’s insurance commissioner, who reviews and signs off on the underwriting methods for each company, as well as any changes in base premiums.
This is also an inadvertent explanation for how racism works. Because insurance rating, like racism, is simply a calculation on how to treat different people according to a set of traits shared among groups of people. Racism deals with treating people differently on the basis of their skin color. Car insurance underwriting considers more traits than racism, but it’s still a form of discrimination by proxy.
If you think that it makes sense to group drivers into cohorts based on age, gender, marital status, zip code, driving history, etc, you’re using the same principle that racists use. Because you’re judging an individual driver based on shared characteristics of a “similar” cohort rather than the individual himself. It gives a slightly more negative connotation to the saw “birds of a feather flock together”, doesn’t it?
We’ve all heard the stereotypes. Asians are good at math and bad at social interaction. Blacks are athletic and loud. Hispanics are ignorant and hardworking. Whites are entitled and naive. And nobody reading this would say we deserve to discriminate people based on their skin color. Imagine the public furor if FICO boosted the credit scores of white people and penalized black people. But we tacitly accept that it is proper to discriminate based on age, gender, and other observable characteristics.
There are plenty of male teenagers who are very responsible drivers. Unfortunately they comprise a very small minority of male teenagers at large. The insurance company has no way of knowing whether one male teenager is more responsible than his peers at large unless it spent a large amount of time and money doing so. The end result is that the responsible male teenager gets lumped in with the others and therefore pays much higher insurance premiums than he deserves in an ideal insurance rating system.
Ideals are hard to implement in reality, though. Reality is sloppy, lazy, arrogant, and extremely judgmental because it’s created by people who are mostly sloppy, lazy, arrogant, and extremely judgmental. The fact of the matter is that everybody has mental shortcuts and uses them on a daily basis. When it comes to mundane things like calculating car insurance premiums, nobody has a problem with it.
But when it comes to highly charged topics like racism, those mental shortcuts have to be hidden considering that the penalty for honest thoughts on racial prejudice is pretty stiff. And that’s a shame because sunlight really is the best disinfectant. If you’re not allowed to talk about racial prejudice (except in the most politically correct of ways, which is inherently intellectually dishonest), then it gets harder to bridge reality to the ideal.
I’ll end this with two thoughts:
1. The insurance company has an excuse for being prejudicial. It would be expensive and illegal for the insurance company to hire people to check on its customers’ lives to calculate the ideal insurance premium (the true expected value of the insurance policy plus operation costs plus a 3-5% profit).
2. People and institutions (which is really just another word for people) will continue to use discriminatory shortcuts/heuristics so long as they work, and well past the point where they don’t. Changing their attitude requires constantly proving them wrong. Unfair, but life’s unfair.
My parents called me the other day to “have a talk about my future.” They were a little concerned about my newfound “bohemian” lifestyle, which they still didn’t understand was nothing like the musical Rent.
“What is your back up plan?” they asked. “What do you want to do?” I explained to them that I have a job, and that I am doing something. “A job isn’t a career,” they said. “Do careers exist anymore?” I replied.
I’m sure they rolled their eyes at this, but I was serious, “Do they?”
Since that conversation, I’ve been thinking a lot about that particular question. Are traditional career paths less relevant now than they used to be? Does the 21’st century world of rapid technological change mean that our professional lives will be less defined and more fluid than before?
Previous generations mostly followed specific professional paths, either going into law, medicine, accounting, manufacturing, or public service. They joined a company, climbed the corporate ladder, got married, had kids, bought a house, and planned for the earliest possible retirement.
Today, the career landscape is different then it was thirty years ago. Technology and the Internet have opened up the possibility for young people fresh out of college to have immediate and lucrative success. You don’t have to go to graduate school, work your way up through the ranks of a company and become a partner to invent Snap Chat, become a YouTube celebrity, start a viral blog, or write an E-book. Moreover our culture rewards and praises people who invent things and we place a very high social value on individuals who achieve success at early ages. Forbes “30 under 30”, The New Yorker’s “20 under 40”, Fortune’s “40 under 40”, and many other lists like it all tout the successes of young entrepreneurs such as Mark Zuckerburg the inventor of Facebook, David Systrom who created Instagram, Jack Dorsey who started Twitter, and many others.
As writer Aaron Sorkin explains in his movie The Social Network, today, young, driven college graduates don’t ‘find jobs’ they ‘invent them’.
Clearly some part of the shift from ‘finding a job’ to ‘inventing a job’ is due to the fact that technology has changed the job market. Large companies like Kodak, which once employed over 100,000 workers, have been replaced by smaller ones like Snap Chat, which barely employs 30.
For many millennials, fluid, rapid, and constant technological change, has made the concept of “career”, defined by Merriam-Webster as “a profession someone does for a long time,” more and more irrelevant. In fact, unless you are pursuing work in law, medicine, or academia, there are very few modern professions you can hold for “a long time”. And while we will continue working for large companies, many of our professional successes won’t come from finding a job, but from creating one, which has made the lives of many young people more fluid than ever before.
Unfortunately, this uncertainty has created angst amongst many millennials. We think if we don’t achieve success early, we won’t achieve it at all. In reality, Americans are living longer and working longer than ever. And because our working paths aren’t as straightforward as they used to be, we should relish in the fact that we have more time to figure them out, not compulse over the fact that we can’t see the finish line. Remember, our professional lives will be different than our parents. The sooner we can embrace that uncertainty, the better off we’ll be.
And if there is any comfort in history just remember that Nelson Mandela didn’t become President of South Africa until he was 76, Julia Child didn’t go to cooking school until she was 40, Ray Kroc didn’t start working for McDonald’s until he was 52, and after countless rejections author J.K Rowling was 32 when she published the first Harry Potter book.
Okay, so I finished the phone conversation with my parents by telling them that since 40 is the new 20, at 23 I’m basically just being born.
Yeah, I’m going with that.