Matthew Perry, Shame, and Self-Forgiveness
For many people, Matthew Perry was most well known as the fun-loving, affable, charming Chandler Bing from the iconic 90s sitcom ‘Friends’. As with all people who live their lives in front of an audience, there is always a more complex story and this was no different for Matthew Perry, who tragically passed away recently. Thankfully, he sought to address his personal and relational struggles with honesty and courage and was not afraid to share that journey with others.
In the aftermath of his premature death, the New York Times posted a guest essay by Heather Havrilesky in which she reflected on some excerpts from Perry’s autobiography that addressed his experience of shame, self-forgiveness, and how his journey of self-forgiveness can be a pathway to becoming more forgiving and compassionate with others.
Havrilesky reflects in the article that Matthew Perry seems to feel a constant sense of shame that he just cannot shake:
In fact, the one person Mr. Perry can’t seem to forgive, at least for a majority of his book, is himself. He casts himself as the person who deserves blame for everything that happens.
She goes on to propose that many of us struggle with a similar dynamic of shame and self-loathing and that we would do well to walk the path of self-forgiveness so that we may find peace and be able to extend that peace to others around us. As she states elsewhere in her essay:
[W]hen you find forgiveness inside your own heart, suddenly, it’s everywhere else as well.
Be sure to read and share the essay as an invitation to experience the healing that self-forgiveness offers!