Day 15 (21) 1/15 '21
It feels like most of the people I work with are 15-20 years younger than I am. You know the term "digital native" to describe people who grew up with ubiquitous personal computer technology? I think of a a lot of these folks as "emotional intelligence natives"--although maybe they're more like the Gen X pre-digital native who were already adolescents with the culture tipped to the point where digital nativity became possible.
A lot of the language they use and habits they adopt can feel sort of woo and squishy. Starting meetings with pronouns and a check-in queation is still a bit unnatural to me (and in the hands of some people, invasion or eye-rolly!). But there's something about the "duh! obvious!" reaction they have to memes like "if you hate everyone, you're hungry. eat something. if everyone hates you, you're exhausted. rest" and vigorous nods to the truisms of "hurt people hurt people" and "put on your own oxygen mask before helping others" that just feels like a more critical mass of people internalizing the emotional health component to a functioning society than people my own age or older have done.
I'll contrast the "put on your own oxygen mask before helping others" of the slightly younger folks with the "you are not required to set yourself on fire to keep others warm" of my contemporaries. Both recognize the necessity of self-care. But the former contextualizes it in the context of a collective action: help yourself so you are capable of and competent to help others. And the latter stops at reminding you that it's okay to have a duty of self-care. The latter leads to the former as a founding principle.
I was thinking about it the other day in the context of what a lovely world it will be when the majority of people approach life, work, problem-solving, system-designing, other humans from this understanding of emotional-well being as just another aspect of life. But I did not get far into articulating the concept of a native in this mind set. I'm not one, but I know many people who seem to be.
I hope that means little boys grow up giving each other non-ironic hugs.
It's a thing I'd like to talk about with some of my smart friends.