We woke up this morning to the tragic news that world-renowned chef, author, and TV host, Anthony Bourdain, had taken his own life.
This was the second celebrity suicide in the span of a week (at least, that I’m aware of).
Although I wasn’t a huge fan of Bourdain’s shows, I really admired his work.
From an outsider’s perspective, he was living the dream: traveling the world, eating in world-famous restaurants, and experiencing a variety of culture from the places he visited.
He got paid to do this.
I can only imagine how many people are using this tragedy as a means to judge the man for how he died.
I can hear them now…
“If I had a life like his, I would never choose to end it”
But the truth is that few people really know what Bourdain was going through. And who the hell are we to judge this as anything more than what it is?
A total tragedy.
It’s hard to take any silver lining from somebody’s death, but I feel that Bourdain would have probably wanted this for the people who loved him, so here’s my crack at it…
Everybody is fighting their own inner battles, regardless of how perfect their lives may seem.
Forgetting this is a form of judgment, and frankly, a dangerous one.
Recognize that there are people in your life who are generally positive, negative, or neutral, but they each have their own internal struggles.
In fact, I would argue that the positive people are the ones we need to be especially careful to not neglect.
Don’t assume that a positive person is OK and always able to take care of herself. Treat her with the same love and attention that you would give to your most depressed friend or family member.
Anybody can have mental health issues, just as anybody can have general health issues.
The brain is an organ, arguably the most important organ, yet many of us still treat it as an afterthought…perhaps because it’s hard to see its issues on a surface level.
So my advice to you (and myself) is to remember to check-in with all of the important people in your life on a regular basis.
You don’t have to pretend you’re a therapist, nor do you have to ask deep-diving or intrusive questions.
Don’t neglect the acquaintances and strangers either.
If you walk past somebody on your way to work, try a smile instead of a stoneface.
Pay the bridge toll for the car behind you.
Send a text to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while.
Just do something for somebody else, without expecting anything in return.
It doesn’t matter if it’s someone you know, if they’re rich or poor, or seemingly happy or sad.
We all need love and acknowledgment.
Many thanks to Anthony Bourdain for his inspiring life’s work, as well as the reminder that everybody deserves to be loved and listened to, regardless of how they may seem at the surface level.