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I’ve come face to face with myself many times this year, realizing my prejudices regarding those things I see in other people.

For example, I value contrasting opinions, and so often spend too much time second-guessing what everyone knows in favor of what one person may feel. Not all agreeable counsel is good, of course. but I now realize that some disagreeable advice is just utter nonsense, or even poisonous. The person themself may be disagreeable, not a useful devil’s advocate.

I also gravitate toward the rebels — those people who challenge the status quo like myself. But amidst this group are also impious trouble-makers I should not emulate or be closely associated with. They pride themselves is being a voice in the wilderness when it is the wisdom of others that places them on the outside.

It’s a sad lesson to learn for me because I see the best in everyone, and then am doubly disappointed when I give them too much credit and discover they aren’t who I thought (or wanted to believe) they were.

But I have a history of making the best out of questionable mentors. My first martial arts teacher was beyond anything I’ve seen anywhere since, even though he was, in fact, a cultic fraud. I can’t trust or have him in my life any more, but am a better person for what I did with that experience.

I guess what I discovered was that I need to discern more who I associate with, ask advice, etc.. Not every contrary opinion is worthy of consideration; not every experienced person with a title has wisdom. Sometimes you have to follow your gut and heed warnings. I just won’t let it supercede my desire to see good in people in my heart, even if cautious in mind.