"Fame doesn't fulfill you. It warms you a bit, but that warmth is temporary."
~ Marilyn Monroe
With the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, many are scratching their heads with this question on their minds: How could someone so successful be so unhappy. In our western culture, we put a premium on career success, material acquisitions, and fame. If others know us and admire us we must know and admire ourselves, right?
Mistaking outer fame for inner joy
I, too, wanted to bask in the light of fame. I knew from the age of five that acting was my path. Nothing in my life felt so right, natural, and soothing to my soul. I gave myself permission to pursue acting exclusively at age 19 and dropped out of college and enrolled in an acting program. It was a magical time in my life. The magic began to fade when I stepped from the love of creating to focusing on career success. All of sudden my gaze was on getting the part, aligning with the right people, and maintaining a certain weight all in an effort to feel a sense of self-worth. My desire for fame was a desire to have others validate me. I had mistakenly thought that reaching that pinnacle of outer success would provide inner joy.
Success does not exist outside of us
When others determine our worth, we can become addicted to a praise that never fully satisfies. We overreach at our jobs, give up our desires and needs in the home to win the praise of the family when all we are really longing for is self-acceptance and self-love. Doing whatever it takes to receive outside praise is exhausting and not fulfilling in the long-run. The process of experiencing inner praise can only come when we fully accept and celebrate ourselves, forgive ourselves for our perceived mistakes, and truthfully own and express our needs. When we can say I love who I am we will love what we do.
Success is not static
When we take control of growing spiritually and emotionally, our definition of success changes and will continue to change as we continue to grow. Success is an internal journey that brings us back to our divine self. Living out our divine purpose is an endless path of discovery, which may or may not look like our childhood dreams, but will warm the soul indefinitely.