I have really fucked something up in the last week and it has affected me emotionally more than I could have ever known. I'm not going to go into the details. This story is not what I'm here to talk about.
What I'm here to talk about, is that Robin Williams committed suicide in August 2014.
The aftermath revealed a tortured soul of a man fighting divorce rape, taking bad movie roles just to make alimony. I'll always remember watching Aladdin as a boy, and to see him reduced to that level by entitled exes causes an indescribable anger in many of us who grew up watching his characters.
Do not treat marriage lightly, because it can destroy your life depending on your jurisdiction. I want to get married one day, primarily to start a family. I believe a loving marriage is the foundation of a family. You can disagree, but that's something that feels right in my gut. I will be a strong and loving captain to my hypothetical wife, and a wise master to my hypothetical children.
Do not treat mental health lightly either.
Robin Williams's mental health suffered from his failed marriages, the alimony slavery he had been forced into, and fear over his dementia diagnosis. Though his friends have since come forward to claim that his dementia was the prime contributor.
Somewhere in your life, you have failed. You failed at something that was important to you, and it hurt you.
As men, we know that there was something we could have done to prevent each failure. We know if we had just done that something, we wouldn't have failed at that thing. This makes us feel guilty. We hang onto that guilt for the rest of our lives.
Guilt is a male emotion that is a direct result of our instinct to take responsibility for our failures. We blame ourselves. We tell ourselves that it's our fault. We blame ourselves for things that aren't our fault.
Men develop guilt complexes and become different people because of it. We sharpen our edges. We carry pain and guilt along with us every day.
It contributes directly to the male suicide crisis. Soldiers kill themselves out of guilt. Shame and guilt make civilians kill themselves too. We, and society as a whole, need fewer men killing themselves.
Robin Williams starred in a movie called Good Will Hunting, and there's a scene in Good Will Hunting where he continuously says to Matt Damon over and over again, "It's not your fault."
"It's not your fault."
"It's not your fault."
"It's not your fault."
"No, I don't think you understand, it really isn't your fault."
because Matt Damon's character blamed himself for so many different problems that he was dealing with, and that other people were dealing with, and he shouldn't blame himself, for things that are outside of his control.
Williams embodied that character, as a person going through a lot of similar issues in his life. Reading it here in this post isn't enough, you have to watch the scene to feel the impact of it from his performance.
We need to accept what we can control, and what we can't. We need to move forward in our lives and let go of certain things that we blame ourselves for, that we had no control over.
Move forward in your life from things that are weighing you down. Don't blame yourself for things that are outside of your control. Embrace things that you can control about yourself. Number one, your mental health.
You can't control how other people act. You can't control what other people do to you. You can't change the past. Things that have happened, have happened.
Meditate on this to become a happier man. Don't interpret Stoicism as stuffing down your emotions. Your mind is your everyday life, you need to look after it just the same as you look after your muscles.
Be a mentor to younger men who are acting out of guilt and depression. Talk to your buddies when they're feeling rough, get a beer with them. It's free therapy and works wonders on most men.
The added benefit is that unloading burdens from your conscience will greatly improve your performance in everyday life. I can't explain the feeling of relief to you here, you have to go through this yourself.
Don't take your mental health for granted. While you're out there being awesome and kicking the shit out of life, take stock of your emotional state, because it's a different type of strength that we don't talk about enough.
TL;DR: There are things you can control, and things you can't. Forgive yourself for your past failures. Move forward in your life and help others going through guilt.