Thought Catalog

A Pep Talk For When You’re Afraid You’ve Succumbed To A Life Of Mediocrity

Posted: 15 Jan 2016 07:00 PM PST


Mediocrity is sneaky. We’re all convinced we can catch it before it unpacks and settles itself comfortably in the center of our life, but there’s almost never a warning. On the contrary, it’s a slow, subtle, quiet takeover. It’s one tiny little change after another, until enough time passes and we wake up one morning having no idea how we got to the place where we’re standing. And the scariest part is that once it establishes itself, mediocrity almost never leaves. Because we don’t force it to. Because in a sick way, mediocrity can be a lot more comfortable and appealing to us than success.


Because success comes from vulnerability, rejection, discomfort, and a hell of a lot of effort – with no guarantee of a payoff.

J.K. Rowling was rejected twelve times before Harry Potter was eventually published; she was told “not to quit her day job.” Before becoming the star of Scandal, Kerry Washington did two other pilots – both of which were picked up, but with her being replaced in each one by other actresses. Steve Jobs was fired from his own damn company. Albert Einstein didn’t learn how to read until he was seven. Steven Spielberg was rejected from USC’s film school three times. Marilyn Monroe was told that being a secretary might be a better fit for her career path than acting or modeling. Walt Disney was fired from a local newspaper because he “lacked imagination.”

These people faced embarrassment, humiliation, rejection, condescension, criticism, and the constant suggestion, spoken or implied, that they were not good enough. But they powered on. Because they refused to settle for mediocrity. They refused to be told what they could or could not do. They didn’t avoid failure and fear – they just learned how to function in spite of it.

So does putting yourself out there and refusing mediocrity in your life automatically mean you’re going to become a billionaire author, an Oscar-winning filmmaker, or the father of the next iPhone? No, it does not. But the opposite of mediocrity isn’t fame, power, or mass wealth. The opposite of mediocrity is excellence, and excellence in life is going to mean something different to every person on this earth.

Maybe creativity is not a passion of yours. But somewhere not too far away from you, there is a person staring at their computer at their dead-end job, wishing that they were making a living as an architect, or a graphic designer, or a wedding planner, or a tv writer. But instead, they’re working at an office job that is completely meaningless to them. Because they ignored all of the applications that their friends sent their way over the years for jobs that they might have been happier with. Because their situation was comfortable. It was paying the bills. And their dreams were impractical, anyway.

And somewhere else not too far away from you, someone is out to dinner with the significant other they should have broken up with four years ago. Maybe they’re married now. Maybe they’re engaged. Maybe they’re just living together. But whatever the technical status of their relationship is, it doesn’t matter. Because the only status that matters is that they are with the wrong person. They’re treated poorly, or they’re unsupported in their career, or they’re with a perfectly decent person who treats them well but whom they are not in love with. But they will stay where they are, probably forever. Because being alone is so much scarier, and there’s no guarantee that they will find someone better. And who cares if their love isn’t ‘excellent,’ as long as they have a warm body next to them at night?

Regardless of what mediocrity means to you, the common denominator is about being comfortable. Too comfortable to try, too comfortable to take a risk, too comfortable to disrupt what you’ve convinced yourself is ‘a good thing.’

But if J.K. Rowling felt it was easier to just stop submitting manuscripts, the world would never have met Harry Potter. And if Walt Disney agreed that he had no imagination, Mickey Mouse would have never been born. Your excellence is in there somewhere too. Maybe it’s not a discovery that will change modern science forever, or the starring role in the best drama on tv (bless, Scandal). But refusing mediocrity does not mean you must attain mass wealth or power. It just means that you will settle for nothing less than a life of excellence, and you will fight through rejection and insecurity and uncertainty to get there.

On my graduation day from college, right before I left my favorite place in the world to start a job for which I felt completely unqualified, my grandfather looked me in the eye and said, “It’s okay to have butterflies. You just have to train them how to fly in formation.” That’s the difference between mediocrity and excellence. You can have as many damn butterflies as you want. Just as long as they know that this is your house, not theirs. TC mark

17 Heart-Punching Quotes That Will Make You Fall In Love With Poetry (Part Two)

Posted: 15 Jan 2016 06:00 PM PST

Franca Gimenez
Franca Gimenez

A little under a year ago, I put together a list containing quotes from some of my favorite poets, and decided it was about time for round two. If you’re looking for some creative inspiration, a dose of feelings, or just love poetry, you’ve come to the right place. Come, sit, stay a while. Cry if you’d like. All is welcome here.


“Come with all your shame, come with your swollen heart, I've never seen anything more beautiful than you.”

— Warsan Shire


“Ask me about the summer
I fell in love with someone
more blackberry bramble than girl.
Aching to be touched
but never talking about the thorns.
And me, all heavy handed
and too proud to acknowledge
the things I'd cut myself on.
I dreamt about juice
running down my chin
for months.”

Trista Mateer


“you might not have been my first love
but you were the love that made
all other loves seem

Rupi Kaur


“They say our bodies regenerate completely
After seven long years,
That all our skin cells
Are shed and replaced
And I hope that isn't true because if so
Then I have six years more to go
Before I finally have a body
That no longer thinks of yours as home.”

Heidi Priebe


“What I love most about rain
in California is that she never
has to apologize for her downpour.”

Aman Batra


“if i keep writing poems about you
and no one ever knows that you read them,
are they still self-indulgent?
i mean, a tree falling in a forest, right?
how do i tell the nonbelievers that love
only ever made sense in poetry, or
that our unraveling was one
of the most romantic things
that's ever happened to me?
when am i supposed to stop talking about it?
how many ripples in the lake do i create
if i skip stone after stone after stone
and all of them sound like your name?”

Ashe Vernon


“a child learns to walk for the first time
and stumbles stumbles falls.
we have something in common here
but she has an excuse for it.
I try to remember when to water the plants
and if it's time again to wash the sheets.
people have stopped asking questions.
people have started turning their eyes.
it's too obvious, this hurt, it's too grand
and violent and no one has their sunglasses.
my god, we loved each other, didn't we?
my god, we made a mess of it.
I can see it even now
in the pile of dishes in the sink.”

Fortesa Latifi


“I was taught that a woman’s vagina is just an underground railroad to masculinity. That real men have tunnel vision and treat girls like subway cars. Like nothing more than a space to parallel park our genitals. A hole to bury seeds and leave orchids in our rear view mirrors.

They say you gotta peel a woman like a tangerine. And your job as a man is to chameleon your self into her trees. Bite a piece of her fruit and leave the rest hanging crooked and confused.

This is an apology to every woman I changed colors just to get inside of.”

Rudy Francisco


“Lover, I smashed my glass slipper to build a stained glass window for every wall inside my chest
Now my heart is a pressed flower and a tattered Bible
It is the one verse you can trust

So I'm putting all of my words in your collection plate
I am setting the table with bread and grace
My knees are bent
like the corner of a page
I am saving your place.”

Andrea Gibson


“Ruin your clothes, she will.
Get you home way after hours.
Drive her '59 seventy-five on 35
like there is no tomorrow.
Woman zydeco-ing into her own decade.
Thirty years pleated behind her like
the wail of a San Antonio accordion.
And now the good times are coming. Girl,
I tell you, the good times are here.”

Sandra Cisneros


“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.”

Maya Angelou


“sometimes getting out of bed feels more like a climbing
and some mornings waking up can be a triathlon of effort
I have completed many

sometimes I am all muscle
sometimes I am all skin
sometimes I am the long lost cousin of regret
sometimes I am the farthest thing from human”

Danielle Shorr


“You came over in the late afternoon and did things like
pull my body into yours
by using your teeth as a lasso around my lower lip.

By night my pillows still smelled like you. How did you make soap smell so good?

All night I was rolling over and smelling you.
All night I was rolling over and thinking about how you make me forget
which way all my limbs are supposed to go.

You send me a picture on Snapchat when you can't sleep
and I think I am supposed to think something about the way you look
but all I can see is that mouth.

And all I can think is how
I want to bury my face in the painful velcro of your neck
and rub myself raw.”

Chrissy Stockton


“fill him. fill him with beans, kernels, seeds: something
organic, something hard, like he was. stitch him tight up
the back. let your fingertip worry the seam like you used
to stroke his spine.

i wouldn't suggest kissing him–he's cool to the touch, all
lumps and cotton when your lips only remember silk–
but there's no harm in it. not anymore.”

Jones Howell


“How reckless, the way that I love
like the first chapter of a ghost story.
Like the gentlest hand
reaching out of a grave.”

Brenna Twohy


“The way you slam your body into mine reminds me I'm alive, but monsters are always hungry, darling.”

Richard Siken


“In the old neighborhood, each funeral parlor
is more elaborate than the last.
The alleys smell of cops, pistols bumping their thighs,
each chamber steeled with a slim blue bullet.

Low-rent balconies stacked to the sky.
A boy plays tic-tac-toe on a moon
crossed by TV antennae, dreams

he has swallowed a blue bean.
It takes root in his gut, sprouts
and twines upward, the vines curling
around the sockets and locking them shut.”

Rita Dove TC mark

The Difference Between Dating A Boy And Dating A Man

Posted: 15 Jan 2016 05:00 PM PST


A boy tells you he loves you. A man tells you he loves you and backs it up with his actions.

A boy makes you feel like you’re not good enough. A man makes you want to be a better person because you have so much genuine respect for him.

A boy is possessive. A man is protective.

A boy makes you feel like you need to downplay your accomplishments so as not to embarrass him. A man is not threatened by your success, but proud of it, and inspired by it.

A boy is concerned with his own pleasure. A man cannot enjoy himself unless he knows you are too.

A boy underestimates you. A man is not afraid to challenge you, because he knows what you’re capable of.

A boy will be interested in your life for as long as he can get something out of it. A man will be interested in your life because he cares about you and wants to understand you more deeply as a person.

A boy is threatened by the idea of feminism, convinced that being feminist classifies you as angry, aggressive, and man-hating. A man understands that feminism is simply the belief that men and women are equal.

A boy thinks he must provide for you. A man knows that a relationship means the two of you are providing equally for each other.

A boy bottles everything up, and lashes out because of anger or other pent-up emotions. A man admits when he needs you and when he needs to talk, even if it makes him uncomfortable.

A boy is always thinking of whether or not he could do better. A man knows when he has something good right in front of him and never takes it for granted.

A boy makes excuses. A man admits when he’s screwed up, and always does everything he can to fix it.

A boy is either needy or impossible to get hold of. A man always makes time for you, while also making sure he has a life outside your relationship.

A boy is only interested in beauty. A man appreciates your physical beauty, but is most attracted to your personality.

A boy thinks he already knows everything. A man walks around with the mindset that there is always something new to learn from everyone he encounters.

A boy focuses on what he wants now, now, now. A man lives in the now but is always planning for the future.

A boy will spend time with the friends of yours – if he likes them. A man will spend time with your friends regardless of his feelings towards them, because if they’re important to you, they’re important to him.

A boy makes rash decisions based on his immediate desires. A man understands the concept of being rational and having priorities.

A boy needs you because of his fragile self-esteem. A man needs you because he believes his life is better with you in it.

A boy is concerned with how you look to his friends. A man does not care about what other people think, as long as you’re happy together.

A boy is ready to do anything to get want he wants. A man is ready to love without hesitation. TC mark

They Are Never Worth The Chase

Posted: 15 Jan 2016 04:00 PM PST

Flickr / Jörg Schubert
Flickr / Jörg Schubert

During my freshman year of high school, I developed my first real crush.

I remember constantly trying to wear the things I thought he would like. I remember only talking to him about things that interested him. I fretted over lunch time, anxiously wondering when he would sit next to me. I spent nights at home asking my friends if they thought he liked me and only feeling better for a second when they said "probably". Turns out, he never liked me in the first place and chose a friend over me. After that, I remember crying during Thanksgiving break and moping around my house.

I remember thinking it was my fault he didn't like me and that I wasn't "pretty" enough or "good" enough for him.

Flash forward and I was still doing the same thing in college: wondering what happened and what I did wrong. During these years, I developed a few crushes that ended up fizzling out before it even began. I remember feeling elated every time these boys would text me, but an hour later feeling the anxiety set in if I didn't receive a follow up text. I remember double texting in a desperate attempt to get their attention and having it fail every single time. Truth be told, I knew these boys didn't really care about me. I felt embarrassed for myself. I chased these boys like they were a lifeline I could cling onto. I chased them thinking they were chasing me too. But, it turns out the boys you have to chase are the ones that aren't worth chasing.

Thinking back on it, all of my life so far, I have let boys set my self-esteem and self-worth for me. And for what? For miserable nights picking out every flaw I thought they saw on me? For more miserable nights picking apart our conversations?

It is never worth it, and they aren't either.

Time and time again we let these boys make us feel unlovable and make us feel like we aren't so great. We let these boys make us feel so unworthy to the point comes where we don't even want to look at ourselves in the mirror. And I'm done. I'm not going to settle for a boy who doesn't care about me. I'm not going to settle for a boy who only likes the way I look. I'm not going to agonize over a text message or lack of one. I'm not going to lose sleep over someone who isn't all in. I'm not going to pretend to be someone I'm not just to impress a mediocre boy who pretends to be a man. And I sure as hell am not going to chase him. TC mark

Cheating Really Means, ‘I Never Loved You.’

Posted: 15 Jan 2016 03:00 PM PST

Twenty20, esspeshal
Twenty20, esspeshal

I never really gave much thought to cheating growing up. I knew what it was but because it was something that was never close to me, it simply wasn’t on my radar. In my mind, it was something you see in movies, something to give what might have been a mundane plot, a bit of a twist. But as we all know, movies and reality are two different beasts entirely.

Then when I was about 11 years old, my mother’s best friend, M, got divorced. Because I was close friends with her daughter, I was told that when her mom sat her and her brothers down to explain why their dad was leaving, it was because he loved his secretary instead.
I didn’t realize at the time how much of a cliché it was but what I was able to deduce was that he had cheated. It took him all of one month to get remarried after the divorce was final. Although I wouldn’t get the particulars until years later, that was my first introduction to cheating.

When my own husband cheated, I reached out to my mom’s best friend. Now that I was an adult, I could talk to her about it because we’re both victims of a cliché: She was left for her husband’s secretary and I was left for a child… er, I mean a 20-year-old (which, to be honest, isa child since my husband is 48 and has an 18-year-old daughter from a previous relationship).

During that discussion, I was finally really able to see just how much of a betrayal cheating is. In my case, I was fortunate enough to not have children with my husband, but M wasn’t so lucky. She had had three children with hers, the youngest being just a baby when he told her he didn’t love her and walked out. And just as my husband tried to justify his own actions, M’s husband did the same.

It was the same bullsh*t of “I used to love you, but now I found this person whom I love better and love more.” Or as it was in my case, “I thought you were my soulmate, but B is my actual soulmate because we both love The Beatles and have the same birthday.”

Ah, the babbling rationale of a 48-year-old man who’s going through a midlife crisis.

But what I came to realize through all the tears, the drama, and the piles of sh*t I sent through the mail to him is this: My husband never loved me. If you love someone, you don’t cheat on them. End of story.

Call me crazy, but I think there’s a lot of components in love. If you genuinely love someone, you respect them, for starters. You also emotionally support them, give them a high-five when they do something great, care for them when they’re sick in bed with the flu, stand by them when things get scary, hold their hand when they need you, and look toward to the future together as a partnership. That’s what love is.

So when you cheat on your spouse, you’re cheating on all of that. You’re betraying every single one of those components and essentially making a mockery of what you once dared to call love.

If you cheat, what you’ve really done is said, “I don’t love you. I never loved you. I never respected you. I never cared for you. All of this was a lie.”

And that’s fine. If you want to erase your past, admitting it was a lie — which is exactly what you do when you cheat — then that’s your prerogative. It makes you an assh*le, a no-good liar, a cheater and a thief, but you’re entitled to be the person you want to be.

Just don’t try to tell anyone that you love or ever loved your spouse if you cheat on them. You’re not only insulting your spouse and the history you had with them but you’re insulting yourself, too. And if you’re a cheater, there’s a huge part of you that thinks you’re right, so why would you want to insult yourself?

If you’re anything like M’s husband or my husband, you’re just the innocent victim in all this, right? A victim of love, so to speak.

Well, we’ll take care of the insulting of you for you. And it’s definitely NSFW, so I’ll let you, dear cheaters, fill in the blanks. TC mark

This post originally appeared at YourTango.


This Is What Is Left When You Lose Someone You Love

Posted: 15 Jan 2016 02:00 PM PST

Twenty20, fivesixthreedays
Twenty20, fivesixthreedays

Look into my eyes.
Brush the hair back from my face. Kiss
me. Kiss my lips. Again.
Tell me
not that you love me,
but how the summer breeze blows
through those white blinds.
Tell me of the sausage and onion pizza
you ate for dinner last night,
the stupid joke your boss told during break,
your impossible fear of spiders.
I don't know, exactly,
what it is I want to hear.
But I know I like
the sound of your voice,
the way you grab my chin, and pull
my face to yours, stare
into my eyes.
As if this moment, this
should be celebrated, remembered.
So that months later,
when you're gone
and I'm driving the highway alone,
suitcase in the passenger seat,
I remember those blinds, those eyes.
And I remember what I think I've always known.
It is the small moments
we carry with us. TC mark

6 Ways To Tell Your Friends The Brutal Truth (Without Being Brutal)

Posted: 15 Jan 2016 01:00 PM PST

via twenty20/aubburn
via twenty20/aubburn

It’s happened to all of us. Your bestie, your comrade, your sister-in-arms is making a terrible mistake. She’s putting her trust in the wrong person. She’s making the wrong decision for herself. She’s loving the wrong man, a man who clearly doesn’t care for her the way she needs and deserves.

When you care for someone so much that you’d do nearly anything for them, these ‘mistake’ moments can seem life or death. You feel like, “oh my God, I have to tell them right now. I have to make them understand!” And then you tell them, you explain your position with all the passion you feel in your heart. You show them you’re desperate for them to make the right choice, not to shortchange themselves when they have so much to offer.

And then, and then, it becomes an argument and before you know it that friendship you had lies in tatters and you have no idea why.

Years ago, I lost one of the best friends in my entire life this way. She was a senior when I was a freshman and she’d decided to drop out at the end of her second semester to run off with a guy, much older, who was obviously the player type, the type of guy who hangs out at college bars just waiting for someone to finally be receptive to his advances. I told her. I begged her to stay and even fought with her but she didn’t listen. Just as bad, I was screechy and awful. I broke that friendship. She left and I didn’t hear from her again.

It hurt me so much that I never confronted anyone I loved that way again. It’s true, you do have to tell them and show them how much you love them but there’s a right way and a wrong way.

If I had the chance to do it all over again this is how I’d do it.

1. Get Yourself Squared Away First

Make sure you really know what’s going on. When we’re worried we can make things larger than they really are. I think that’s actually been the definition of worry in my life sometimes, freaking out. Don’t freak out. Make sure you understand their point of view. Make sure you’re not just worried because it’s not your idea of what their life should be.

Everyone has their own path and we should only stop one another when there’s a real and true reason.

2. Don’t Be Cruel

Okay so now you’re sure that they’re making a mistake and you’re ready to say something out of love. Never blame, ever. Yes, it’s true, we’re often our own worst enemies and that’s on us but blaming your friend for doing things that are going to ruin her life can take you from besties to enemies quickly. Everyone hears advice differently and understand that they may be just as passionate about the thing you think is hurting them as you are.

Say your piece, be kind, and never be cruel.

3. Don’t Hold It Against Them

So, they didn’t listen to you. Are you surprised? I’ve ignored good advice lots of times in my life because I didn’t see what people saw. Luckily, the people who gave me the advice I didn’t take weren’t the kind to hold it against me.

You’ve said your piece and that’s all you can do. Go on loving your friend, even help them take the next steps that their heart is set on if that’s appropriate. Love them and don’t bring it up again unless they initiate it.

4. Don’t Ever Say “I Told You So”

So, it didn’t work out for them. Their heart is broken or they’ve got a serious setback in their life now. This is an incredibly vulnerable time for them as it would be for you.

Never, ever bring up that you told them it wouldn’t work out. Don’t even bring up that you were ever even worried. The truth of their lives stings like a thousand wasps right now and you shouldn’t add to it. They’re counting on you to be there for them so be their rock if they need it. Remember how many times you’ve needed it.

5. Admit You Were Wrong

So, it DID work out for them. It was a good decision after all. They’re happier than they’ve ever been and you completely misjudged the situation. We’ve all done it. Now is the time to make sure they know that you know you were wrong. Now’s the time for you tell them how proud you are of them for following their heart or taking a risk.

Let them know that they’re amazing and they made the right decision. This way they’ll know that you really did have their best interests at heart and that their happiness is what you care about.

6. If You Were Right, Be There For Them

Again, be their rock because this is what being true friends is about, accompanying one another through the ups and downs of life, the mistakes, the heartaches and heartbreaks, the successes and failures. This is what friendship is about. Hold them up, carry them, let them lean on you. Be the kind of friend that your friendship needs. They can’t survive otherwise. TC mark

12 Legit Reasons You’ll Actually Miss Your Sh*tty College Apartment

Posted: 15 Jan 2016 12:00 PM PST

Twenty20, mandilou
Twenty20, mandilou

1. It was total sh*t, but also strangely endearing. From the window that would never fully close to the water stain on the ceiling, you love-hated bringing friends (and especially fam) over, but as time passed it became your place. (And you covered that water stain with a poster.)

2. It was the epitome of your pre-adulting phase. AKA: dollar store boxes and hand-me-down everything.

3. It taught you plenty of useful things. Like how to vacuum, check your credit card statements, throw away food when it was well past the expiration date, fold laundry, and kill spiders (or at least attempt…then phone a friend).

4. It was home to some true shenanigans. Wine nights, movie dates, laughs, tears, 3AM drunken stumblings, and kisses you'll never forget.

5. Its carpet stains will forever be laughable memories. The nail polish you spilled because you were too lazy to get out of bed but wanted to rock bright pink toes, the tomato sauce from the I'll-make-this-without-a-recipe pasta that turned out terrible, and your best friend's dying-from-a-hangover puke. You'll carry those memories (and she'll carry those regrets) forever.

6. It saw you at your absolute best. And showcased your trophies, awards, love letters, and encouraging notes from dad proudly on its walls.

7. It saw you at your absolute, painfully-hungover, heartbroken worst. And comforted you via couch, bed, and pillow forts throughout the entire thing.

8. It will always represent your tragic (and completely not-graceful) transition from kid to big kid. From the closet full of skimpy crop-tops you used to think were super cute, to the conservative interview blouses for when you finally got your sh*t together. From the scrambled eggs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, to actually making real-life food. Your apartment never judged you. (Thank god.)

9. Its walls, with their crookedly-hung picture frames, will forever remind you of how much you've grown. Those walls mark your growth—new friends, crappy haircut, 2 inch height gain, happy times, change. (And, of course, a constant reminder of how much you sucked at using a hammer.)

10. It gave you a place to grow. A place where you were safe, forgiven, and loved. A place where you learned to be independent and strong. Where you discovered who you were as a person, and who you could be.

11. It taught you that home was not a permanent state, but a feeling. A sense of belonging. Ownership. Making something that is new and foreign, yours. And most importantly, that a place you hadn't grown up in could still feel like home. And that roommates could feel like family.

12. And it taught you to love. Love a place, and claim it. Love others, and share this place with them. And most importantly, love yourself. TC mark

Why We Need To Rethink How We Mourn Celebrities

Posted: 15 Jan 2016 11:45 AM PST


“The rule of three,” is a writing principle that asserts that things that happen in threes derive more satisfaction, or are more effective than other numbers or sets of things. There’s also a popular societal superstition that bad things – bad luck, loss, death etc. – happen in threes.

I can say in my particular experience, this superstition of the rule of three, hasn’t been too far from the truth. With the deaths of David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and René Angélil, perhaps truth and superstition are sometimes one and the same. But we are rational creatures, aware of the availability heuristic, and so we simply call personal or public events that align with this rule of three in such a manner, “coincidence.”

It is no coincidence however, the manner in which we mourn the deaths of celebrities. “Our” celebrities and public figures are our heroes (or villains); they inspire us, teach us, entertain us, and we find a way to feel human connections with people we know so little about, personally. In thinking about the celebrity deaths this week, lesser so of Angélil, but of Rickman and Bowie in particular, the public adored these creators, not only for who they were (at least in our public construction of who they were), but because of their contributions to society. Contributions that many can agree will continue past their death.

There is indeed a romanticization that occurs when beloved celebrities die, especially as the public comes to terms with their loss. We look back at their societal input, filled with nostalgia and gratitude. But there is something else that occurs in our time of excess information, and perhaps as part of our culture wars. Depending on the famous person, people may (pedantically) demand to know why a certain celebrity is being mourned so much, or perhaps why another isn’t mourned quite as much. Zealously, the public loss and grief are questioned as people bring up negative details of the public figure that were perhaps swept under the rug when they were alive. Just as when they were alive, when they are dead, the celebrity becomes an object, a thing. Not only their legacy, but who they were, is determined, analyzed, and argued about in the court of public opinion.

Perhaps it is only fair, that celebrities be analyzed after death just as they were when they were alive. One can argue that it is the price of fame, and not even the grave should protect you from such scrutiny. For example, Bowie’s sexual relations with an underage girl was brought up in the last week. As is the age gap between Angéli and his surviving widow, Celine Dion. Details of the celebrity that perhaps a fan or an informed citizen didn’t know, come to the surface. Indeed fans and informed citizens are then left to wonder how to place this celebrity in history, and how these pieces of information affect our perceptions of their contributions to the society that purported to know them.

Whether it is good or bad to know all the details of a celebrity’s life is something that can only be rendered a matter of subjective opinion. On the one hand, it is important in a culture of celebrity worship to be given a reality check that this person was not quite the superhuman you thought they were. On the other hand, it brings to question at the very least, the intentions of those who seek this truth. Is it indeed for love of the truth or is to make a point? Perhaps even to vilify?

In our hindsight, in our scrutiny, and in our mourning of those whose public personas affected us, especially when their contributions mattered to us, I do think it is important to see our celebrities as people. People who probably did good and bad, whose lives contributed positively and negatively, and who, when we are honest and well-intentioned in knowing who they really were after they are gone, know that in some ways they were brilliant people. But in other ways, they were probably just as ordinary and human as the rest of us. This fact, I believe, can allow us to recognize that all of us – celebrity or not – deserve to take some things to the grave with us, if not in silence, then somberly. Or as Rickman put it, “I don’t think it’s right that everybody knows everything about me.” TC mark

21 Ways To Stop Regretting The Past And Finally Move On

Posted: 15 Jan 2016 11:00 AM PST

Leo Hidalgo
Leo Hidalgo

1. Make a regret bonfire. Either metaphorical or real.

Write out everything you regret including the emotions you feel for each one. Now strike a match and light the paper – watch with relief as your remorse and associated pain burns to harmless ash.

2. Ask a different question.

Quit asking, "What if I'd done this or I hadn't done that?"

Instead, ask, "What if I stay exactly where I am, filled with regret for the rest of time?" How is life ever going to change?

3. Break the cycle.

Realize that every time you regret your previous words or actions, you're losing a slice of today that you can never regain. That merely adds another regret over time, that of missing out on the present.

4. Apologize.

Say sorry with sincerity to make amends, and stop regretting how you acted or spoke. An apology is a powerful act whether it's in person, or in a letter or a video – remember, be sure to explain, not excuse yourself.

5. Prevent further regret.

Take what led to your regret and double your efforts to avoid repeating the same mistake. If you wish you'd stepped up for a previous promotion, speak up before the next opportunity arises, increase your value to the company, and look for every chance to be thought of as the go-to employee ready for the next level.

6. Put things in perspective.

Focus on the billions worldwide who absolutely don't care about the mistakes you made in the past or the people you might have wronged.

7. Give yourself a second chance.

Grant yourself permission to contribute today where you feel you failed previously. Say you regret not standing up for a needy cause; join a similar campaign now, and give it your unbridled support.

8. Give others a chance.

Put your regret to good use by helping others. Use the lessons you learned to stop others making the same error. Full of remorse for leaving education early or partying harder than studying? Be a benefactor in a school or college program for underprivileged teenagers that could turn their lives around.

9. Tell your regret “No!”

Fight against regretful thoughts with a powerful comeback. Choose a statement that empowers you, for example, "That was then, and this is now – different time, different person.”

10. Realize you've moved on.

Realize that the very fact that you regret your words or actions means you are no longer the person who would say or do those things. Whether it was intentional or an innocent blunder, you've learned a valuable lesson and can move on more the wiser.

11. Live in the now.

Step out of the past and into the present. Take up yoga or meditation to help you focus on living in the now. Throw yourself into today, and let yesterday fade away.

12. Realize it’s never too late.

Take positive action today, no matter how much time has passed since your regretful action. Even if you failed to end a lifelong quarrel with a loved one before they left this world, you could do something in their memory as an olive branch of atonement.

13. Stop living in an imaginary past.

Separate the reality of the regretful situation from the picture that remorse has painted in your mind. For example, it's too easy to look back on a failed relationship and blame the whole thing on yourself. Be analytical, even critical to see the true story – you'll move on more quickly and have a healthier perspective on your next relationship, just as I did.

14. Move on through kindness.

Show compassion for another. A selfless act today can cancel out a selfish action yesterday.

15. Write out a ‘regret’ vs. ‘proud of’ list.

On the left side, note all that you regret, and on the right all that you are proud of having achieved. It's honesty time – no over-modesty here! Compare your lists and see how much time you've been focusing on the small percentage of negative events compared to the positives. Switch the balance, and dwell on the larger, positive percentage in the future.

16. Decide you’ve done your time.

Stop treating yourself inhumanely. You've punished yourself way beyond what is just for any perceived or real crimes you may have committed by forever berating yourself. Perpetuating the sentence has surely contravened your own bill of rights. Admit you've done your time, and set yourself free of the regret.

17. Take radical action.

Don't rule out taking radical action if your life really is one long regret. Start afresh with a clean slate by killing off the old you. Reinvent yourself with a clean slate – no regrets. I moved to a new city, swapped my career to start over, and discovered that the dramatic changes to my lifestyle kept me focused on my new, liberated-from-regret persona. If you need to, move to a different country or even consider changing your name for a complete re-birth.

18. Build a library of quotes.

Use the wise words of others to help you acquit yourself of your perceived past mistakes or failings.

19. Go on a mission.

Create a mission statement. Detail the error you regret, immediately followed by how you intend to rectify it. Writing out a mission statement will motivate you to follow through and eradicate the regret. Refer to this whenever you feel discouraged.

20. Make it personal.

Start divorce proceedings against your regret. Write out your own petition, citing and listing your irreconcilable differences. By seeing regret as a separate entity responsible for keeping you trapped in a toxic relationship, you can break free. I was so surprised this turned out to be the lynchpin of my breaking out of a lifetime of regretting – my anger totally beat down my regret.

21. Think of friends and family.

If you really can’t change your habit of regret for yourself, do it for those who love you. Understand that anyone consumed by regret is hard to live with. By focusing on being better to be around, you'll more easily combat regretful thoughts and commit to new, positive ways of thinking. TC mark