What People Teach Us: Carrie Fisher — Learn From And Accept Lessons From Your Past

Carrie Fisher’s uncompromising, unrelenting and defiant attitude, which was the core of her role as Princess Leia, a role she took on at the age of 19 in the Star Wars films, was mirrored in the later years of her life before she died at age 60.

Even though there was plenty of heartbreak and turmoil in her life, there was so much more she gave to people through her attitude with regard to her own vulnerabilities and shortcomings.

She was born to celebrity parents but made a name for herself, finding success in her own right in the Start Wars movies and other subsequent projects including more movies, theater, and writing. Unfortunately, her life kept taking turns, leading her to experience, and later speak up about her, bouts with mental illness and substance abuse.

If her celebrity in movies is what initially endeared her to her fans, it was her self-deprecating humor, and honesty and vulnerability about her mental illness and sobriety later that galvanized that respect and admiration.

Much in the same way we need to learn from those around us we know personally, there’s much to learn from those whom we don’t know but whose story we are familiar with, especially if they speak openly about the challenges in their lives.

She demonstrated that there is no need to hide when feeling weak or vulnerable. That bravery was a great example to set since the majority of the times one feels weak or vulnerable in their lives or situations, it is because they feel as they might be the only ones going through those feelings or experiences. The uncertainty simulates a feeling of solitude.

It’s important to open up, when appropriate, to others we trust to let them know what the difficulties are. Oftentimes, we might find others have gone through similar experiences and we can start to learn by sharing stories with each other.

Even if it feels like rock bottom, we can’t lie to ourselves. We need to know where the bottom is — the real bottom — so that we know exactly where the foundation truly is from which we can begin building our lives and confidence up again.

There should be no shame in feeling defeated or overcome. One should feel both safe and free enough to open up to others about their vulnerabilities and fears. If one doesn’t feel those things — freedom and safety — to speak about what ails them, then that can be more dangerous than the source of the ailment itself.

If we become too insecure about the lows we have experienced we limit both ourselves and possibly others from learning how to move forward. We can all learn from each other’s obstacles, but we need to be honest with ourselves first and then with others.

Honest reflection is the way to move forward for healing and growth, whether in your personal life or work life.

Not all of us will go through the issues Fisher went through in her lifetime, and we couldn’t assume to understand how devastating those periods of her life might have been, but we can learn from her unabashed self-acceptance she finally felt comfortable enough to give herself.

As with Fisher, apologies for these setbacks should be used sparingly. The issues you face are who you are. They are your story. They are what make you up. You can’t issue a blanket apology for who you’ve been if it’s gotten you to the point where you want to make amends with yourself and have others learn from your story.

Issues might have varying levels of severity, but in the end it’s all about realization, recovery, and refocusing ourselves.

So…What About You?

  • How do you reflect on the difficult times in your life? How do you see them having contributed to who you are today?
  • How do you use them to assess and realize your resiliency?
  • How do you share your experiences with others and what have you learned from others about their experiences?

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