We all know the story of Ronda Rousey losing her fight to Holly Holm. It was the defeat no one expected, least of all Ronda.
But it happened. Defeats happen. They happen to everyone. So, when they happen we should move on and not them destroy us, right?
That’s not how emotions work, at all.
Ronda appeared on Ellen and admitted that the time immediately following her defeat was the darkest in her life. She contemplated suicide.
“Honestly, my thought, I was like, in the medical room and I was like down in the corner, I was in the corner and I was like, ‘what am I any more if I’m not this?’”
She was visibly emotional when she said it. It was clear she was being honest. She wasn’t asking for sympathy. She told the world how defeat made her feel.
Much of the world is shaming her for it.
I thought Cam Newton was a sore loser, but Ronda Rousey out here contemplating suicide and crying on TV…
— Alexander Howard (@symbolic__1) February 16, 2016
Ronda Rousey talking suicide after a sporting loss? Come on now. Girl you need to take that narcissism down a notch, it’s not that serious.
— Rebel With A Cause ∆ (@makavelidiscipl) February 16, 2016
These are only two of the dozens that I saw on Twitter today. There are probably hundreds out there, not to mention Facebook and article comments.
It’s as if none of these people know what it’s like to want something so much that when you fail, it breaks you.
Is that pride? Sure. Is it completely human and understandable? Yes.
What Ronda did was admit that she puts her entire self into what she does. There’s no shame in that. It’s not healthy, but it’s not shameful.
We should all understand that our identities are made up of multiple things. We can survive when one of those facets falls. We may even know that, logically, but emotions, especially immediately after a horrible loss, are hardly rational.
And Ronda did recognize that her life is more than fighting. Her suicidal thoughts were fleeting. Yet, the internet is damning her for those few moments of darkness.
I question the authenticity of anyone who thinks they could fail, publically, at something everyone expected them to succeed at – something which they felt was one of the most important things in their lives.
Ronda’s feelings also highlight one of our society’s greatest virus – the pressure to be perfect.
We want everyone to be perfect. We expect it from them, especially the people we admire. If they aren’t perfect and if they don’t respond to things how we want them to respond, then there is something wrong with them. Our heroes can’t be human.
We pile all of that pressure on people so that they feel like they are letting everyone down when they fall, even people they don’t know. When that pressure finally eats them alive, we still expect them to be flawless. We don’t want to hear about it. We don’t want to hear about how pressure made them suicidal.
It is as if many of us love nothing better than to shame people. We relish it and look for every opportunity to do so. Whether we realize it or not, many of us wake up wondering “Who can I judge today? Who can I tear down so that I can feel better about myself? What stranger can I say I’m better than?”
Many people are saying that Ronda’s tying her identity to the wrong things. By claiming that they would react differently, they’re tying their identity to her.
No one needs to do that. No one needs to play the “well, I would have done/felt/acted this way.” What good does that do? Does that help anything other than your own ego?
I’ll tell you what it does do. It keeps people from talking about depression. It fosters the idea that people who are suicidal are selfish, when in reality, they think that they are worthless. All these conversations do is make depression more shameful in the public eye. That’s a problem.
It’s not that Ronda’s confession isn’t up for public discussion. It is. She put it out there. But the conversation should not be about shame. The conversation needs to be about the effects that pressure has on people, not just celebrities. We should be talking about how so many of us tie our identities to certain things because of that pressure. We need to talk about the mental and emotional effect that has on people. We need to talk about how to fix it.
We need to have a proactive conversation, not one that shames people.