A tribute to Matthew Perry

He teaches us why fame and fortune aren’t enough and why being your best friend and self-championing your-self is.

I was devastated when I heard the news about Matthew Perry dying at 54. I am such a big fan, and my close friends knowing what a fan I was – I had about 12 people sending me the news in the morning. I feel a bit like Adele who said something along the lines of I feel I have spent so much time with you that I feel I know you so well. Even though we have never met! Of-course she was talking about the hours she spent watching friends. That is me – I still watch them to this day. And I can honestly say, the amount of laughs Matthew Perry gave me on a good day and on a bad day – was far more comforting than any-thing I could imagine.

It’s such a shame he couldn’t get over his addictions, and it just goes to show that fame and fortunes really cannot solve what is going on inside. Something I have also discovered for my-self. You have got to learn to become your own best friend, make friends with your demons and learn to self-champion your-self.

It can feel daunting – however I can safely say from my own experience that the idea is more daunting that actually doing it. Some tips of doing this:

  • First separate you as the wise adult from all the other parts of you. So you can be a little detached.
  • Sit with each part of your-self as it was your child (even the adult ones) and give it the biggest love and hugs ever. No judgement whatsoever, just a hug. If it wants to say something, create a safe space to let it
  • Affirm: I love you; I got you; I see you; I sit with you in your pain, I appreciate what you’ve been through, I’ve got your back, you’re not alone, you don’t need anyone as I am with you, you are more than enough

Do this a few times each day, and it does get easier. Let the discomfort arise and keep affirming this until all parts of you have felt some/enough love. Depending on the level of trauma, this can take hours to days, weeks or months. It does start to shift. You start caring less what others think and you start to feel whole and a little love again. Self-love is a foundation for so much. The absence of love can have devastating effects on your life.

In Matthew Perry’s case, he was convinced fame would wash all his problems away including huge feelings of loneliness and abandonment. Alas it wasn’t the case and sadly he always felt he wasn’t enough.

He tells a story of how he broke up with Julia Roberts because he thought he wasn’t good enough for her and how he was constantly convinced she was going to dump him. “Why would she not? I was not enough; I could never be enough; I was broken, bent, unlovable. So instead of facing the inevitable agony of losing her, I broke up with the beautiful and brilliant Julia Roberts.”

I’d like you to think of a time in your life when you might have not felt good enough and how you sabotaged it for fear of failure or rejection. Most of us have done this to varying degrees. If someone amazing can feel that with Julia Roberts, then that just goes to show what a deep-rooted issue it is within humanity at all levels.

Another story that really touched me was one about how he felt when one of his lines wasn’t funny. Imagine that from one of the funniest and wittiest people ever! “I felt like I was going to die if the live audience didn’t laugh, and it’s not healthy for sure, but I could sometimes say a line and they wouldn’t laugh, and I would sweat and just go into convulsions. If I didn’t get the laugh I was supposed to get, I would freak out. I felt that every single night. This pressure left me in a bad place.”

This pressure comes from a fixed mind-set. Using a growth mindset – you could reframe that to think, ok I now have more information on what the audience find funny and like. Or even better – I know that every line cannot be funny and that’s great as it takes the pressure of. Phew.

Think about where you are putting a lot of pressure on your-self, to your own detriment, and think about how you might reframe it to ease the pressure.

As a final point, I will say I am devastated that we lost such a great man and beautiful soul at 53. I thank him from the bottom of my heart for bringing us so much joy and touching so many people’s lives. In addition to his humour on friends, he also touched so many by being an advocate and support for addictions through his own experiences.

I will continue to watch friends and be ever grateful to the joy he has brought me and so many others. RIP Dear Chandler.