HUMANIZE WILL SMITH AND JADA PINKETH, DON’T IDOLIZE THEM
Or any other person you look up to.
Role models, mentors, are all ways we define people we look up to, people who are ahead of us in various areas of our lives. It could be personal, religious, career-wise or simply adoration. It is okay to admire people for who they are and the virtues or values they extoll no matter what they are. But when we idolize people be it celebrities, religious leaders, political leaders etc., we put an expectation that is not theirs to carry on them, we bestow a certain attribute that only a non-living being, idol or dead person can live up to.
When we believe something of people, we want it to keep being true. This person is a thief and that is all there can be to the person. Eleanor Morgan explains that “but while it can be oddly soothing sometimes to decide someone is bad, the more we subscribe to the notion that a person can literally be or become a contagion, the more we move away from the wildly complex reality of human relationships and human character.”
The marriage of Will Smith and Jada Pinketh has caused a lot of controversies about our expectations of marriages but the controversies show how we seem to idolize people because they have something we want and we assume they are perfect from what we see of their outward appearance. They have what we want and they become a source of inspiration to us, if they can have the happily ever after life we so dream of then we can have it too. We watch their every move, every post and we emulate the things they do, we take what they say as gospel that we must follow because those are the principles they followed to live the life that we so dream of. It is okay to learn from people’s lives and the lessons that worked for them, but what we should never forget is that they are human and the human nature is ever changing, ever evolving and deviating from what we are used to.
“Medical research reveals that the cells in your body change about every seven years. Brain studies reveal extraordinary neuroplasticity enables you to change neuropathways and, thus, habits and behaviors. Mindfulness research poses exciting possibilities for developing empathy, making better decisions and enhancing emotional regulation” explains Susan Fowler in her Huffpost.com article.
People also adjust or change their lives, beliefs and behaviours based on new information, experiences that they are exposed to, in fact Eleanor Morgan describes in her Guardian article that “despite being encased in bone, these Daedalian structures we carry around inside our heads (referring to our brain) are quite fragile. To injure the brain, whether that injury is traumatic or acquired, can leave someone with significant changes in their emotional reactions. This may be perceived by those around the injured person as a personality change”.
According to a research on Personality Trait Change in Adulthood by Brent Roberts and Daniel Mroczeck “personality traits continue to change, even in old age. One of the precepts of a life-span orientation is that humans are open systems. That is, people retain the capacity to change at all ages. The changes in personality traits in middle and old age are by no means dramatic, but nonetheless they show that the life-span orientation applies to personality traits and that personality is not set like plaster at any point in the life course.”
These changes are bound to have an effect on their relationships, religious choices, behavior and life in general. When we idolize people based on their current behavior or choices, we take away their humanity and replace it with a godlike trait.
When we see photos of our favorite couple in love, they go ahead to get married and it seems to us they are living our dream life. Then if they can achieve it, we too can achieve it. We forget that human nature is not constant, human nature is ever evolving and the people who believe something or uphold a value today can change their mind tomorrow which is well within their rights.
The mistake we make is to not make that adoration momentary.
So your favorite couples have an imperfect marriage, so your religious leader has a bad habit, or your favourite influencer behaves in inconsistent way, welcome to the human race my darling.