“We are defined by our actions towards others. Not others’ actions towards us.” – Unknown
Like so many of you, I was stunned by the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Two people who seemed to have everything. Two people who have acquired wealth, national fame, notoriety and success. Two people who were manifested examples of what we call, living the American Dream. They were it, living life to its fullest right? “What could have been so bad?”, many will ask.
Yet most will truly never know their story, the shadows and demons they carried around each day, until they no longer could. On one hand, society judges these poor souls for the horrendous act of killing themselves. “How dare they leave their loved ones, especially their innocent and young children?”, they say. And it is so easy to get caught up in this fanfare of blaming and crucifying. It feels kinda right, after all this group is only defending those left behind to salvage what is left.
I suggest we also consider the poor souls that choose death over life. How does one arrive at this place, where it seems better to no longer exist with those we love? I will not be remiss and say I understand it, because I don’t. However, I do carry empathy and compassion for those that find themselves in the darkness of life. A darkness so deep, you become convinced that the world will be better without you. All I can feel is an overwhelming sadness for all involved. This is the epitome of loss, in addition to so many questions that will be left unanswered for those left behind.
What about you? What about those in your family? What about your friends, colleagues and neighbors? We all have something we struggle with and our various coping mechanisms can vary like the wind. But one thing we are good at is disguising the pain. Our smiles are fake and our, “I’m okays” tend to fail the authentic smell test, yet we go on. We live as if everything is good in our souls, when we’re really falling apart inside. That is until the pain is too great to bear.
I don’t claim to have the answer for those in pain. I only know that the pain is real and people need love, compassion and something to believe in. Something that surpasses tangible things like wealth, fame or notoriety. We all need a safe place to connect to and with.
A place where the status of our lives is measured by our capacity to love, give and connect with others in a meaningful way. A way that transcends the normal and mundane anticipations. A way that allows us to be fully human, fully ourselves without the fear of rejection or being judged. A way that allows disagreements, accepts misunderstandings and differences and effectively renders hope when life gets hard.
Let’s be that people. Let’s wake up to our true humanity! Let’s become a safe place for others.