The Many Forms of Suicide: Do Not Judge

“Suicide is man’s way of telling God, ‘You can’t fire me – I quit.’” ~Bill Maher

“The thing about suicide, try as you might to remember how a person lived his life, you always end up thinking about how he ended it.” ~Anderson Cooper

“Poor, darling fellow—he died of food. He was killed by the dinner table.” ~Diana Vreeland

“Smoking is the only honorable form of suicide.” ~Kurt Vonnegut

Over the last few days I have been reading a lot about the suicide of Robin Williams. I am saddened by his death, for in his life he brought me much laughter and joy. I am truly grateful that he did live and that he shared his talents with the world. This life and talent is how I choose to remember him, not by how he died.

blame and suicide

It is not our place to judge others about how they choose to live or how they choose to die. Regardless of the impact, our only responsibility is to be a loving supportive force, knowing we are all in this together.

For some, the journey is much harder and more difficult to navigate and these people don’t always get it perfect or finish how we think they should. However, to judge them is to ignore the lessons they have to teach us, to harden our hearts from compassion, and to darken our souls through a lack of forgiveness.

I don’t feel that the way in which Robin Williams chose to end is life is the only form of suicide we witness. The act of suicide is defined as intentionally killing oneself causing premature death. Some people, like Robin Williams, choose to do it faster than others. Every day in North America we bear witness to forms of suicide that just take longer.

We all know smoking, excessive drinking, chronic stress, and a poor diet lead to disease and early death in many instances. So why are these diseases not considered suicide, especially when they are preventable? Is it because it is socially acceptable?

When someone dies from lifestyle choices there is an outlay of sympathy and support without any regard for how the person’s choices had a direct impact on how he or she died. Is it because it happened so slowly over time that it becomes okay? Is it the suddenness of “suicide” that makes it wrong and causes us to judge it so harshly? Are we not just as responsible for our lifestyle choices as we are for deciding to end our lives quickly?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not an advocate of suicide no matter what the chosen weapon. The point is that it is not our place to judge, period!

It is our responsibility to make choices that are life supporting whether in food, thought or action. This is living a responsibly healthy life. However, all we can do at any time is our best, and realize everyone else is doing the very same.

I came across this commercial video recently that depicts the harsh reality that an unhealthy lifestyle is a form of long drawn out suicide. When you watch it you will feel a tremendous amount of understanding and sympathy—not only for the mother, but for the child and adult child. I know I did.

We feel this way because we can appreciate and understand the challenges of eating healthy, so we don’t judge. What we are failing to see when we judge suicide is that we cannot understand or appreciate how anyone could do that because we have not necessarily experienced their challenges in our own lives. Our lack of understanding and experience fuels our judgment.

Try to find compassion for all forms of human experience, no matter what the outcome.

I am going to leave with you this week some food for thought. Think about the many forms of suicide and how we judge some as being okay and others as wrong. Stop judging yourself or others for not always getting it right on this journey called life.

Have a great week filled with life-supporting choices.

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