Like many others, I was heartbroken upon hearing the news of Robin Williams’ death in August 2014. Growing up watching classics such as Mrs. Doubtfire and Jumanji, he had always been such an enormous part of my childhood.
In addition to his comedic talent, the late actor was also eloquent in the way he expressed his outlook on the world. Therefore, on what would have been his 65th birthday, I decided to compile some of Williams’ best quotes in his honor.
1. “I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.”
Often times, society fails to believe the concept of being “happily single”. Those who express that they value and enjoy their independence are often hushed with statements such as “Oh, but you’ll change your mind” or “You’ll find someone soon.”
While initially these responses go in one ear and out the other, it is common for them to eventually begin to hold weight. As individuals start to panic that something is inherently wrong with them, they become more likely to settle for “good enough.” After all, they rationalize that they would rather be with someone decent (but not amazing), rather than face the horror of being on their own for the rest of their life.
This flawed perception isn’t limited to relationships – we find ourselves settling in friendships, as well. We stick with certain groups simply because it’s gone on this long, so we may as well continue. The irony is, when we’re with these friends or significant others who are supposed to leave us with a sense of belonging and security, we alternately feel more alone than ever.
So acknowledge when it’s the real thing – and conversely, when it’s simply “what you’re supposed to do.”
2. “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”
Many of us (myself included) have the tendency to overthink situations to the point where we create problems that didn’t originally exist. We find ourselves wishing that we weren’t so high-strung, and that we were capable of simply living in the moment – as opposed to obsessively analyzing every aspect of that particular instance.
Although it is common to feel self-conscious about exhibiting a quirk or a certain way of thinking that may seem peculiar to others, it’s important to remember to embrace these aspects. After all, it’s this seemingly “crazy” outlook that drives our creativity to new heights. It is our wild way of thinking that triggers our imagination – and leads us to produce something memorable.
3. “You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.”
We are often told not to dwell on the bad times, and to keep our head up because things will get better soon. Maybe so, but what about treating the bad times as a wake-up call? For instance, we may have been blind to the severity of a particularly toxic relationship until it’s far too late to make amends. We are then left angry at ourselves for not identifying the problem to begin with.
Bad times are inevitable, but they often don’t appear out of thin air. Typically, they are a result of a series of negative situations building up into one massive blowout. So be attentive. Catch these red flags before they escalate – because once they do, it’s all the more difficult to get back on track.
4. “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
It might seem biased because I’m a writer, but this one is my absolute favorite. You will often hear people say that “the world is a scary place”, but the past year’s events have truly given this an entirely new meaning. We can complain all we want about others voicing their opinions on social media and blogging about current events in a manner that we don’t agree with, but why? Why shouldn’t we share our voice? When it comes down to it, it’s the most powerful weapon we have.
So talk. Write. Engage. The world may be frightening, but there’s one thing that doesn’t have to scare us – and that’s engaging in purposeful discussion. We might be miles away from reaching our destination, but simply hitting the gas pedal is a promising start.