It’s with a heavy heart that I write this blog after the suicide of Robin Williams. He was loved for playing many characters, and those who knew or saw him thought he was incredibly kind, generous and gentle. But we didn’t know him. And perhaps, at some level, he didn’t know himself.
I won’t get into the nuances of depression, I’m not a doctor, but I do know that when I was an actor on the exotic dance stage I was seeking other’s approval. Unfortunately, no matter how much applause or attention I got, it didn’t feed the hole in my heart and soul. I distanced myself from others because I was hiding parts of myself that I didn’t think were acceptable. Some of these parts were even hidden from me.
In the company of others within select groups and environments such as—work, social, church—we’re all actors. It’s great to put your best foot forward but there needs to be a balance between those that see you from the outside, and those that really know you from the inside. There needs to be those in our lives who we don’t have to act with and with whom we can find a trusting relaxed place.
The first step to having a friend who knows you from the inside, the first step to being okay with others in your life and their inside humanness, is to meet them. The first step to someone meeting and being okay with you as a flawed human is having them meet your insides, those parts of yourself that are often hidden. The first step to having them meet this inside you, is for you to have met and hung out with these parts of yourself first. You don’t have to be completely okay with your shortcomings or defects, but you have to at least be able to hang out with them in order to move beyond any shame, guilt or self-judgment and know that you're acceptable to be hung out with. This will happen more easily if you meet yourself where you are, encounter yourself, your body thoughts, exactly where you are at every moment.
Robin Williams was a public figure we all knew and admired. He was a great actor, we can all agree on that, but acting for most of us isn’t a profession. And acting, on a daily basis, is bad for your relationships. To meet others in your life authentically with heart, it has to start from your inside and it has to start with you.