Tag Archives: self-worth

Why Robin Williams’ Passing is a Lesson for us all

As a new blogger, one of my biggest hurdles to face is my own personal demons as I write each post. I get to touch upon some aspect of what makes me happy, sad, angry, bitter, content, excited, and all sorts of other human emotions. It is an emotional outlet for me.

Some people turn to family, friends, sports… whatever makes them at ease. Sometimes, these vices are overtly self-destructive and hazardous; drug and alcohol abuse is an overt expression of unhealthy ways to deal with emotion. But, strangely enough, these vices are likely less destructive than what, according to a recent Cracked.com article states is behind the death of Robin Williams, and so many others who seem happy-go-lucky: being funny.

It seems really counter-intuitive. Happy, humorous, socially adept people have for time immemorial, suffered from strong, devastating bouts of depression. 

On the surface, we can understand the irony of the situation, and perhaps even be initially confused by the seemingly contradictory emotions being present in one and the same person. After all, if you spent much of your childhood in the late 80s and early 90s, like myself, you can recall movies like Mrs Doubtfire, Hook, and Dead Poets Society, where Robin Williams plays a relatively chipper character. 

His Inside the Actors Studio interview was simultaneously the most entertaining and the most frustrating one I have ever watched. One anticipates James Lipton just about to burst saying “Damn it, man! Why must you torture me thus!” 

And yet, considering what has transpired, it isn’t surprising to see that even on a television show where actors are required to bare themselves he was still “on”.

And this brings us to the issue at hand, which is such a convincing case brought to us by Cracked.com: he used humor, or legalized insanity, as Williams put it, to deflect personal issues from being raised. Comics, alongside many people who have been praised for their strong artistic or academic skills, have used their gift–in this case, humor–to push people away. 

The scariest thing about this article, and what raises alarm bells, is that many of the funniest people in our own lives, past or present, are using these very same techniques to keep us at bay. We may think that some have their life figured out when in fact they are just at the brink of their own breaking point. They hide it because they are afraid of others’ reactions to their condition.

However, if you are one of those people who using humor to deflect, please talk to someone. Do not shrug it off or laugh it off. You, just like any other human being on this crazy planet, are not alone in your anguish; many times we feel like the victims, or make ourselves the martyrs for a greater cause (in Williams’ case, his depression stemming from perhaps the Parkinson’s that was debilitating him… or some other deep-seeded reason). 

Williams was a beloved actor, writer and comedian; but he was human. He was prone to the same shortcomings that we all are. Let’s remember to good he did, but not forget why he passed away, nor lose sight of the lesson his passing can impart on us. 

I am not someone who believe that everything happens for a greater good; but I do feel that we can make good out of a poor situation depending on the narrative we tell ourselves. Make it a point to reach out and talk to someone who keeps themselves guarded: and damn well be prepared for them when they open themselves up! 

When asked about death

7. Waves of Hubris vs. Loving Yourself (Slightly different from my usual posts)

Sometimes it feels like life is at a quiet, sedentary lull. You go about your daily routine, day by day, week by week, accepting that this is your current lot.

This was certainly me for the past 3 months. I have been keeping a relatively stable and a somewhat quiet existence. But beneath the doldrums there has been plenty of tectonic activity in my mind. Some of the activity has been my practice of what has been dubbed Rejection Therapy, whereby you seek out new experiences, failure be damned. But alongside those experiences is also my attempt at actively improving my circumstances (such as my creative venture back into writing).

My doldrums have recently ended. I am working at a job right now whose contract is set to expire by the end of this month; I am not looking forward to leaving as it has been a great gig. Even more frustrating are the interviews for new jobs and the rejections therein. I would like to think that the experiences I have gained up to date set me apart from most other candidates, but maybe that is my own hubris. I have had two job interviews and have been usurped by a better candidate for the role each time. I now have a couple of choices in front of me:

Give in to sadness and cry woe is me?

Or, keep fighting the good fight until a chance to show my quality is given to me.

I choose the latter, not because the former is pathetic, but because I love myself too much to have any other choice. If there is one thing that has kept me motivated to keep writing these blogs, keeping on working out, and keeping on keepin’ on with Rejection Therapy it’s that I am the only one who can truly look after myself. Read that sentence again. If that doesn’t spray cold water into our self-obsessed Pity Parties then nothing will! At the end of the day, we need to take care of Number 1; this isn’t to say that we have to be selfish. That is entirely distorting the message. What I mean is we are truly the masters of our own happiness; we need to treat ourselves right, and we need to ensure that we are taken care of before we can help the world or take care of others. Many of us fall into patterns of bad relationships, addictions, and other negative conducts. These are all, at the root of it, symptoms of our own lack of love for ourselves, a highlighting of the fact that we feel we are worthless unless approved by others. But if we resolve to take a stand and say “Before I help so and so with such and such, I need to do this for me” then you are on the right track for personal growth.

I had someone very special and dear to me contact me recently. She expressed this very need to better herself… to love herself before she could love others. She inspired me to write this today. So this is my early article for this week, dedicated to my friend. I want to let her know that I get where she is coming from because I am on that same journey myself. So here’s to her… and to my plethora of job interviews.