By Asther Bascuna Creo
Just recently the world was shocked to learn of the death of two celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. One, an icon in the fashion world whose clothing line has become almost synonymous to the good life in our consumerist society. The other a culinary rock star so well loved by his audience. The manner of their deaths was uncanny, and led many to question: Why?
For me, what was more disturbing was to ask What. Sadness is not a strange phenomenon in our lives. All of us have experienced it in our lifetime. In fact experts point to us that sadness, like anger, is an emotion that we must accept and find constructive ways to express.
But what spurns sadness to turn into something potentially dangerous? In the case of Spade and Bourdain, at which point during their supposed sadness did the switch turn on to become something darker, more sinister?
The stories of Spade and Bourdain are obviously made more complex by factors like fame, wealth, status etc. These are things that can complicate relationships with others and with oneself. But while most of us may lead more ordinary lives, we are not exempt from the by-products of these same complications.
Perhaps it is our quest for perfection that puts us under tremendous pressure. Our desire for perfection amidst our fallibility means that we will never measure up. We are engaged in a never ending battle to reach higher ground, to claim the bigger flag, to be awarded another badge for our lapel. Who we are now is never enough. Always there is something lacking beyond our reach. What is it that we long for, how can we achieve it, and if we can’t, what then is in store for us?
Shame. Shame grips us for not being able to reach the ideal, for not attaining the highest honour, for not being the best and brightest. Shame can trigger the switch to turn on and bring in the dark and sinister cloud.
We have put ourselves in such a bind by expecting so much from ourselves. We find it hard to forgive ourselves for not measuring up, for having an accent, for not looking a certain way, for not having a lighter complexion or a smaller built.
But in our quest for perfectionism, we will always fall short. We will never measure up. We will always find ourselves face to face with shame. Simply because perfectionism is not something that is inherently ours. Only God is perfect. We will never ever be perfect – only God is and will ever be perfect.
The good news is we can walk with God in our weakness and brokenness and feel whole. We can walk with God and know that we are enough.
WATCH: Fans remember Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade