Considering the present turmoil over Robin William’s death, I think it’s time to have a talk I’ve wanted to make for a while.
No, I’m not going to be insensitive to William’s death. I have no reason to be. I didn’t know him and I don’t know what he could have been going through. Sure, I feel an ache in my stomach every time someone commits suicide. But I’ve seen some of my own friends deal with depression so badly that they considered suicide a way out. And at the time, they didn’t really believe there was any other relief. All I could do was show I was there and hope my presence was enough to revive their hope.
But I’m not here to talk about suicide explicitly. Enough of that conversation is splashing my Facebook like a water-gun. I’m pretty sure everyone knows the ups and downs that this topic brings.
No, I’m here to explain the extreme importance of not playing the “I’m okay” game. There’s this strange mentality in our world that we have to play it cool at all times. We can’t go around looking glum because we feel terrible. Instead we have to pretend we don’t feel that and convince everyone that we’ve got our problems under control.
Listen: I have been under this influence for a long time. And only recently have I grasped the truth that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s fine to have a good cry. It’s sensible to let your guard down once in a while. If we don’t express these emotions when they are needed, we’ll be more robotic than we already are.
I was lucky enough one time to have a boss that didn’t mind me losing my composure one time at work. I can’t quite recall what it was I was upset about; but I remember trying hard to not cry when I arrived at the job that morning. I went hastily about my business, playing it cool like everyone in the world said was the logical response. And in some cases, I suppose it is. But my boss could tell I was troubled and instead of scolding me for not being in control of myself, she came up to me and wrapped her arms around me. Her consoling warmth revived my spirit that day, helping me to continue my job without the fear that my real feelings were making me less of a person.
I know we aren’t all fortunate enough to have people like this in our lives 24/7. But I believe we need them now more than ever. We can’t be afraid to weep and we cannot fear the sound of our voices crying out. Stop treating these emotions like they are a sin. And stop thinking you’ve got to be a solid rock through everything. There will be a time for us to stand tall and strong; but sometimes we need to let that burden go and allow someone else to stand tall and strong for us.
We are people who are supposed to love in all circumstances. And not seeking for a hand to hold or a shoulder to lean on (or vice versa, we being the hand-holder, etc.) is a pretty poor example of what love is.