When we think of profound thinking and self-identification, we usually think of Buddhist gurus sitting on cold mountaintops, meditating, and preaching at lesser mortals.
Jim Carrey is not the first person to come to mind, but, prepare to be astounded. During a recent interview on the red-carpet, the actor in his new persona of heavy-beard and salt-and-pepper hair, made his interviewer shuffle in embarrassment when he made some heavy statements about life and its unique experiences.
Carrey revealed that he woke up one day to a staggering awareness on himself that despite having had many years of fame, it is completely futile to live life trying to carve out and design an identity for yourself, to fit in a specific mould.
He calls it egotistical to be someone, to be wanted, or to want to matter in society. It can only bring pain to try to mould ourselves into a specific identity and trigger suffering. Firstly, such a mindset starts a mental divide between self and other persons about us, which is against our intrinsic human nature of being interconnected. Secondly, it fools us into imagining that our surroundings, situations, and we are not supposed to change. And lastly, it makes us feel insufficient as if we aren’t good enough as we are, taking us away from being happy with our own inner goodness.
The cure to this, as Carrey says, is to stop wanting to be that specific identity, that ‘someone’. As he says, it is an entirely different emotion to feel whole, rather than to focus on self. And to do so, it is imperative that we allow that urge to want to uphold an image of ‘someone’.
And he links this to the mental illness of depression by drawing beautiful contrasts from his own life.
He says that people talk about depression a lot, comparing it to be sad. But the main difference in being sad and being depressed is that sadness comes from something that has happened in your life – or didn’t happen. By grief or loss or failure. But depression is when your body gives up, your mind gives up and says that it is tired of playing that role you’ve been trying to portray yourself to be. That your body is tired of having to characterize yourself as ‘someone’ for the world, and that it is overwhelming now.
The actor says that being depressed means needing ‘deep rest’. It means your body needs a break from role-playing that specific identity and wants to go into deep rest. It needs to be depressed.
Now, isn’t that the best description for depression that you’ve ever heard of?
So it is the time we gave our ‘self’ a break, and allow ourselves to be our true selves, not the manufactured identity we try to uphold by putting ours all into it. Try living life with humour about the world about us, and open our hearts to the world, because, as Jim Carrey puts it, none of that ‘identity’ matter at the end of it.
And that is very comforting indeed.
As he says, he has no depression in his life in any form at all. He experiences sadness, happiness, euphoria, and fulfilment. And thankfulness for all that is in his life. But it is like the drifting weather that changes with every turn of our planet. None of these feelings lasts long enough to affect him deeply, they are just ideas of the emotions he has.