The headlines read, “Robin Williams died of suicide, age 63.”
For a man who is remembered for his smile and his abilities to make others smile, I couldn’t help but wonder why. He had, well, everything. He was famous worldwide, had friends anywhere he went, was adored by millions and loved by his family. He had money up to his eyeballs, mansions, cars, the whole nine. Many of us who want what he had can’t help but wonder…what could have been so terrible about that kind of life?
But he’s not alone; there’s Marilyn Monroe who committed suicide at 36 with beauty, brilliance, and stardom; Heath Ledger at 28 at the top of his A-list acting career; Kurt Cobain, the rock-star legend, at 27.
When most people think about what “happiness” looks like, they’d imagine a life much like these people. Fame, beauty, money, access to anyone and anything, a limitless life, endless experiences-of-a-lifetime, major accomplishments, worldwide love. And yet they didn’t experience the happiness we’d imagine.
If we take a moment to reflect on our lives, we can probably relate to what these celebrities went through, even if it’s not on the same scale. Think about it, I mean, most of us have some combination of loving parents, caring friends or family members, a belief in a loving higher power, a community within our music scene that’s wholeheartedly accepting of who we are, adoring romantic partners, mentors who want the best for us, bandmates, classmates, roommates that notice our existence, and access/ability to meet more people who love us online or in person. In arguably every case, whether we choose to believe it or not, someone somewhere loves us. If we’re to be honest, most of us are incredibly blessed. But often times, don’t we feel more alone than comforted? More empty than loved? More sad than happy?
It seems that our happiness, our experience of our quality of life, might have less to do with what we have or what experience and more to do with what we believe about ourselves. Orphans in third world countries can be exuberantly joyful; famous people can be too. Victims of abuse or bullying or tragedy can have spirits that are purpose-filled or spirits that are crushed. People in suburbia can be miserable and dissatisfied, and they can be overflowing with gratitude. Top-tiered athletes can feel worse about themselves than amateurs; beautiful people can feel more hideous than pariahs; well-loved extroverts can feel more alone than reclusive introverts. You can find people with approximately the same circumstances who have entirely difference experiences with their situations. There is no correlation between what you have and how you feel. It’s only how you see what you have that determines how you feel.
Imagine your beliefs are like a lens through which you look at the world. Someone who looks at the world through blue-tinted glasses will have a different experience than someone who has a red tint or someone who has solid black glasses. They’ll interpret colors and sights completely differently. Likewise, our beliefs about ourself are the lens through which we experience our life. Take these three examples for instance:
“I’m not enough” lens
After your performance, you step off stage, and you meet up with your family and friends. They’re all smiling and lining up to congratulate you and dote on you. As you hear them begin to compliment how well you did, you brace yourself. You knew they saw you mess up that one part. You don’t even really hear the good things they’re saying because you’re bracing yourself for the “but…” Perhaps this time doesn’t compare to the praise they gave someone else or the praise you’ve received in the past. You start to feel insecure, and you tell them you’re ready to go. You try to change the subject because you feel ashamed. Meanwhile, your core supporters are beaming and overwhelmed with pride in you and how well you did. But, because you believe you’re not enough, you dismiss everything else, and you see everything that would tell you that you sucked.
“I’m unlovable” lens
You’re walking through a crowd, and you catch eyes with someone as they pass you. They’re glaring at you. You immediately start going through the checklist in your head of why they might have done that: “Is my hair messed up? Am I just that ugly? Did I do something wrong?” Whatever you ask, you conclude that there’s just got to be something wrong with you. You don’t even notice that they were staring straight into the sun, and it made them squint. Everything that happens in your world filters through the lens that you’re unlovable, and so you naturally attach that interpretation to your experiences.
“I’m not worthy” lens
You land the relationship of your dreams. This person is everything you’ve hoped for, and they love you. But you can’t help but have the sinking suspicion that something’s off. Maybe they’re cheating on you; maybe they’re not really who they seem to be. You can’t place your finger on it, but this is just too good to be true. You start to pull back because you’re bracing yourself for the straw house to blow down, and sure enough, it does a few months later. You knew it wouldn’t last. But the truth is, they were just madly in love with you, and you stopped showing them that you loved them back. They tried but couldn’t get you to be yourself again. You sabotaged the relationship because it only makes sense that something so good wouldn’t last to someone who’s so unworthy.
The interesting thing is that in each of these cases, even when we had overwhelming evidence otherwise, we still saw what we believed was true. Seeing criticism in people who are beaming with pride, feeling disgust from someone who’s just squinting at the sun, disbelieving love because you’re not worthy of it—our reality isn’t necessarily what’s objectively true; our reality is just what feels most real to us. And what feels most real to us is what we perceive through the lens of our beliefs about ourselves.
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To find what we most want in life—to be loved, to be enough, to be deserving, to have the quality of life we dream about—we are most tempted to look to our circumstances to prove to us that we are what we hope to be. The ironic part is that our circumstances already give us that evidence, but we just don’t see it. When our lenses change, it will be like a veil lifting from our eyes, and we’ll finally be able to see the love that’s been right in front of us this whole time.
The truth is you are loved, you are enough, you are worthy. You are beautiful, strong, lovely, capable. You are courageous and confident and creative. You’re brilliant; you’re resourceful. And you are wholly and completely adored. These things aren’t something for you to strive to be; it’s who you already are. You won’t have to do anything extra to earn any of that. You already have it. And when you change these core beliefs, you’ll be able to see and experience and feel it all.
You don’t have to be a celebrity to have the life you hope for. In fact, trying to be a celebrity might just be a grandiose distraction from realizing you are everything you hope to be right now. Right now, you are love, and you are loved, and you are worthy of love, and you are enough for love.
Restore is our six-step program that takes you through the process to discover that old core belief and heal from it. It helps you find where it came from, confront it, and finally change it so that you can experience the abundant life you’ve longed for. Bands like We Came as Romans, Memphis May Fire, Miss May I, and more share their stories and serve as your mentors alongside the HeartSupport staff. Create the change in your life you’ve always wanted, and enter your email below to get the program first when it launches on Thursday (and with a 20% discount):