What Abraham Lincoln, Brad Pitt, and Mark Twain Have In Common

Everyone experiences feelings of fear, dread, and doubt.  Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, and Brad Pitt are no exception.  Each of these men went through periods in life where they had to deal with severe depression. In the US, alone, millions of individuals similarly deal with some major form of depression, including myself.  Fortunately, enduring this disease is not only possible, but you can still thrive in life in spite of it. Learning to deal with our emotions in a healthy and positive way is the key to living an honest, genuine, and audacious life. 

Don't Be Afraid to Feel

"The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter." - Mark Twain

Mark Twain was infamous for his sharp and humorous wit.  Likewise, Abraham Lincoln was known for his humor and writing poetry.  They used self-expression to bring joy to themselves and others.  By allowing themselves to feel and finding a way to express those emotions, they where able to progress, placing themselves among the most influential people in American history.  Had they ignored those feelings and pretended they where not real, they likely would not have been remembered as the honest and bold individuals that history tells us.  Their willingness to encounter what they felt on the inside strengthened the expressive backbone that has driven their voices into history.

From my own experience, I can recall not wanting to let others know how I felt.  I was simply afraid of how people might react.  By bottling those emotions I stifled my creative instincts, isolated myself, and, therefore, kept myself from finding success I desired.  It was when I became honest with myself and learned to express the emotions that were gnawing at me, that I was able to move passed them.  Whether the emotions are good or bad, allow yourself to feel them.  It will help you to feel better about who you are and allow you to find your own voice and new passions and modes of expression that help you to become comfortable with your own identity.

Discover Your Platform

Brad Pitt has never been afraid to talk about his own dealings with depression.  For him, it was discovering a desire to be a positive influence in the world that helped him cope with his depression.  He discovered a platform on which to stand, to look beyond his own self.  This platform is out there for you to use as well; it is an opportunity to use what you feel on the inside to affect the greater world.

Self-expression takes many shapes, only some of which are reflected in the arts.  Your ability to make people laugh, lead others, or be a positive voice in your community are all ways that you can positively express yourself in order to help others.  By allowing yourself to accept your emotions, and express them in a healthy way, you will not only help yourself move forward, but you will also inspire those watching you to follow suit.