I just found out that Robin Williams is dead. At the age of 63. Unconfirmed reports are suicide. Sad. However his life ended, the message that it sends is still the same.
Here was a man who SEEMINGLY had it all: money, fame, family, success, and health, and yet he checked out. Why? We will never really know why and I don’t think that is anyone’s business, but I believe that there are lessons to be learned from all shocking events, and there are 2 big ones here.
We can have all the apparent comforts of life, but if we are not ok with who we are….even a little bit….we will never find peace with ourselves. Mr Williams is not the first to teach us this lesson. Kurt Cobain. Phillip Hoffman. They taught us this, too. Guys who seemed to have it all. But did they? They may have had the material things, but happiness is an inside job. Somebody once equated it to showering with your clothes on; you can keep rocking the soap but you will never get clean; You can keep doing well on the outside, but unless you get some tranquility on the inside, all that stuff is just ‘stuff’.
Lesson #1. True and lasting happiness has to come from within. I know it sounds airy-fairy (and I believe in airy fairy), but you have to be ok with WHO YOU ARE at some level to find true peace in your life. It doesn’t have to be ALL parts of yourself….heck, I go in for a bit of self-loathing about some aspects of myself…but we are not going to find peace in external things. Now, we don’t have to be Mother Theresa, but how about affirming that we are good people, worthy, loveable, deserving, etc… I work on this every day. I don’t know what was going on inside Robin Williams, but clearly his pain came from something going on internally. I suspect that all the money and success couldn’t help him out of what was going on inside.
Lesson #2. The old saying, “don’t judge someone else until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes”. Translation: we have no idea what is going on in the people around us so try not to judge them. Sure, Robin had all the things that we equate with a complete life, but we have no idea what he was struggling with. Ok, I know, the Robin Williams comparison is a bit silly, but there is a lesson here that maybe we can transfer to our own lives. For example. There is a guy that I have to deal with on a regular basis who I can barely be civil to. He is nasty and combative and I want to kick him in the nuggets whenever I see him. But when I step outside my self-absorbed me, I realize that I really have no idea what he’s dealing with on an on-going basis. Maybe he’s got a cruddy home life, a disability, a huge stressful event. So instead of being quick to judge, I am trying to find some love for the person he is, instead of judging the person i see. People are complex little beings. We are not perfect, but we all need a bit of love. Be the person to give them that.
A part of my childhood got rocked today. “Mork and Mindy” was a big part of my growing up. It’s a bummer to see someone who brought me so much joy take himself out of the game of life because he just didn’t want to deal with it anymore. But that is/was his journey. It’s not my place to judge. He was dealing with something bigger than he could handle.
Goodbye, funny man. You were a great gift while you were here. I hope you find peace wherever you are at now.