When Those We Idolize Fail Us

It seems to be a more prevalent thing in society now, but it is hardly a new one. Those we look up to either ideologically, creatively, or otherwise let us down or turn out to be something other than what we were all led to believe. It’s a terrible feeling to have to find out that we put false hope or admiration into someone that isn’t what we thought them to be. It seems like one of those inevitable disappointments in life that happens to everyone at some point and unfortunately can happen to a great degree. It can leave you hurt, disappointed, and wondering about yourself and what you are doing.

But it will be okay.

A lot of things go through a person’s mind when something like this happens. And it is normal and okay that it does. Something like this can make you question everything you do depend on how much the person meant to you and how much influence they had on your life. And that is understandable. But the things that you should remember is that you are a separate person. You are allowed to think and feel for yourself. Just because you believe in them does not mean you automatically have to agree with everything they do. Everyone from the top on down in life, from parents, guardians, religious leaders,  or even someone with a more creative influence such as your favorite writer, actor, musician, artist, whoever. What they do should never be a hard blueprint on how YOU do things. And when those people go wrong or you find yourself in conflict with what they say or do, it is not the end of the world or even your world.

To make this more personable, I remember back over a decade ago. I am a big professional wrestling fan. One of my favorites for many years? Chris Benoit. Yes, the same Chris Benoit that murdered his wife and son before killing himself in a bizarre situation that I don’t think anyone ever got the full answer to. When the details came out from police about what they found and what probably happened inside that home, I and a lot of my fellow fans were not only questioning what happened but were questioning ourselves.  Many were disavowing everything wrestling related as they seriously felt that their fandom was what encouraged this to happen. It did not.

And therein lies another point. Sometimes you have to separate the Artist from the Art. What a person produces may be something to behold, but that doesn’t mean you have to wholeheartedly swear by them. In my example, I found that just because this guy did this horrible thing that of course, I do not condone, doesn’t mean I need to never watch any wrestling match he was involved with ever again. It took a little while to come to terms with that but eventually, I did. In a less dramatic moment, I did the same thing with The Ultimate Warrior. As a kid, I grew up thinking he was amazing for what he did, but later on, I found that the things he believed in and the things he said were deplorable and disgusting to me. It doesn’t mean I have to give up every match he was involved with or I was somehow supporting some of those racist and homophobic words he said when he was alive. I made my choice to where to stand on that.

And part of that is if you actually were supporting the things that you find conflict with what you believe in. A more contemporary example may be following someone on youtube and donating or supporting them financially in some way only to find out some of their actions aren’t what you can support. Fans of Channel Awesome, Logan Paul, and other controversial Youtubers may have run across the same feelings. It is perfectly normal to take a step back and say “I do not support this.” and that is not a condemnation of you as a fan. You are not the one who wronged anyone, and just because you may have believed or supported them at some point in time does not make you terrible forever more. You changed your mind and that is okay. Learn from their example. It may be just as good to learn what not to do to yourself or others as it is to follow their example. No one is in better control of you than you yourself. It is okay to change your mind, change your heart, and do something about it.

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