Bourdain was a celebrity chef, a TV host, traveler and adventurer. By all outside appearances (which are USUALLY much different than inside realities), he had a great life.
Yet, he was found dead yesterday after hanging himself with the belt of his bathroom robe.
This is tragic, but there are lessons to ponder with this. If we can learn from it, then we can change our own behavior — and maybe be a blessing to someone else who may be feeling lost, abandoned, and alone.
Life Lessons to Be Learned.
The first lesson to consider: Compassion, not judgement.
Treat this act and him with compassion rather than anger and bewilderment. Get out of harsh judgment, and step into curiosity.
To me, ALL LIFE IS PRECIOUS. All of it. I hurt for those lost to this darkness. I hate the loss of light and human potential.
I understand it.
Deep, dark depression happens. Life can knock you to your knees. It’s not always the fault of the sufferer.
There is a stigma behind mental illness. Society often considers people that go through depression and thoughts of suicide as weak…
And I wonder sometimes if that actually keeps people who need to reach out from actually doing it.
To reach out, to show that vulnerability takes an enormous amount of courage — and while in that dark place, courage doesn’t come easily.
We need to make it as easy as possible for people to quietly put up their hands to admit that they’re struggling.
Consider this, and maybe change the way you think of depression and its dark brother suicide. If each of us softens our own outlook on this, maybe it will be just a little easier for someone to get help and talk about these feelings of darkness when they need to do so.
Life lesson two to reflect on: We are ALL fighting a hard battle.
EVERYONE — no matter who it is, or how things look on the outside — is fighting a hard battle we know nothing about.
I know this from personal experience, and from being able to talk frankly to many of my friends who have all of the trappings of success, but have confided to me that their minds have gone to that very dark and lonely place of taking their own life.
Freaking Facebook and the damn shiny, happy selfies. Compare and despair. Smiling on the outside while dying on the inside. Being well connected, with no true connection.
The fact that we’re blessed with so much makes it even harder sometimes that we feel so bad when we “should” feel so good. That guilt is a burden, too.
Life. Is. Often. Hard.
It would do us ALL good to remember that each and every person you see has problems. They have issues. They are feeling every hard, exquisite, jagged edge of this human experience.
Awareness of this awesome and terrible fact would do us all good.
In our everyday interactions, we need to lead with compassion and kindness. Do whatever you can to continually remind yourself of this. It sounds corny, but I keep a penny in my shoe and it’s a trigger for me to keep this in mind.
The third lesson to consider: Be a Hero.
Do YOUR part.
We couldn’t do anything about Anthony Bourdain. But we CAN act every single day to be a light in this world.
If we have a friend or loved one — or even come across a stranger who is struggling,
It is our DUTY, as fellow members of the human race, to reach out and help.
It can be as simple as saying something encouraging. It can be asking them some questions about their life and REALLY LISTENING while we put the dang glowing screen aside to truly connect. It can even be praying for someone or holding space for them (although I find it best if that’s coupled with a little action, even if it’s just telling them you’re thinking of them).
I think we all need to keep our antennae up and ready. You’re not always called to save the whole world…but I believe that each of us is tasked to save our little corner of it.
It’s an honor and privilege to serve others in this way, and the very highest form of human contribution.
So, be on the lookout. Lend a hand. Try to do an A-OK (Act of Kindness) every single day. That little gesture or word from you to another human being could have ripples of effect for them and others.
Lastly, and I know that this is a hard ask:
If YOU are struggling, and feel yourself being taken by that darkness, reach out to a friend. You probably know the one you can do that with; someone who will hold your hurt in confidence and can lend an ear to you.
You’re giving them the opportunity to help serve. You’re giving them an honor by recognizing that light in them.
And remember that with your pain, you’re getting a chance to learn and experience things that will allow you to help others in the future, too.
My friend and mentor said, “Our gift is right next to our wound.”
Please know and understand:
There is a reason in everything, even in suffering, and
This too shall pass.
If you’re my friend, please know that I’m here for you, too. I’ve been there and understand.
Thank you for reading this.
Please know that you’re worthy and loved.
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