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10 Things I Learned From The Amazing Patrick Stewart

10 Things I Learned From The Amazing Patrick Stewart

Let’s face it, if you don’t like Patrick Stewart, you are vehemently anti-Star Trek, or you think we’re talking about Patrick Kaleta. Unlike the overtly aggressive NHL player, Sir Patrick Stewart has been winning hearts since premiering on stage in 1966. Despite a sprawling history with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Patrick Stewart’s best known roles include Star Trek: The Next Generation and the X-men films (as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and Charles Xavier respectively). Determined to be among the world’s best humans, Patrick Stewart’s accomplishments span far beyond the world of acting. An avid humanitarian and activist, Sir Patrick works tirelessly for charity groups like Amnesty International, Refuge and Combat Stress, plus aids scholarships and UN organizations. Such a well rounded, selfless person certainly has something to teach us mere mortals, including these ten impressive life lessons.

Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

Despite impressive accomplishments, high salaries, and  fans around the world, Patrick Stewart seems to never let it get to his head. The first to laugh at himself, Patrick isn’t afraid of his perceived shortcomings: “I am not the archetypal leading man. This is mainly for one reason: as you may have noticed, I have no hair.” 

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    Where most stars might want to nurture the idea that their wise roles are true to life, Patrick instead states: “Having played many roles of scientific intellect I do have an empathy for that world. It’s been hard on me because flying the Enterprise for seven years in Star Trek and sitting in Cerebro in X-men has led people to believe that I know what I’m talking about. But I’m still trying to work out how to operate the air conditioning unit on my car.”

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      Embrace New Things

      Where many older celebrities avoid social media, and sometimes the internet all together, Patrick Stewart is quick to embrace new technologies. Patrick Stewart has become an internet darling in part because of his antics on Twitter. Constantly sharing silly poses and selfies with friends, Sir Patrick Stewart has amassed well over a million followers on Twitter. Not bad for an English gentleman born in 1940. 

      “[Twitter] has really taken us [Stewart and his wife, Sunny Ozell] by surprise to what extent people have enjoyed it. I get a great deal of satisfaction from using it for societal issues and concerns that I am involved with, but there’s also been this element of playfulness, which has opened up a new avenue of communication, which I am enjoying very much indeed.”

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        Stay Humble

        Similar to his humorous take on himself, Patrick is quick to downplay his accomplishments. Where other stars might be tempted to blame their success on pure talent, Patrick Stewart keeps his cool. “I wasn’t campaigning for a role in a Hollywood television series,” he shares, “it was a fluke. So you’ve got to have a measure of good luck, you really have, being in the right place at the right time.”

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          Even when the topic is his role in sprawling franchises, Patrick sidesteps the attention: “The studio have always claimed that the ship is the star of [Star Trek], especially when they’re renegotiating contracts.” Patrick is also quick to joke about his acting skills: “I don’t do impersonations. I can do a wounded elephant! I can do a really good cow! And because of the amount of time I spent in North Yorkshire, I do a variety of sheep. All of which I will be happy to roll out for you!”. 

          Patrick Stewart is happy to discuss his talent in a modest way: “[ X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner] showed me the first comic book and there was this bald guy in a wheelchair. I could see why she might have been interested in me.”

          Seek New Experiences

          Sir Patrick Stewart extends to his love of new things to life decisions as well, and is willing to taking risks. Many entertainers from outside the US have negative views of Hollywood’s hyper perfect culture, but Patrick Stewart didn’t let prejudice play a part in his life, saying: “I think I came back from America a funnier and nicer person than I went.”

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            Patrick also encourages an open, excited attitude for others: “If someone says ‘Give me one word of advice,’ I say ‘be fearless.’ And knowing without any shadow of a doubt that what they have to give—who they are—is totally unique and not shared by anybody else. And to believe in that uniqueness. It took me decades before I developed courage as an actor.”

            Always Keep Learning

            One would think that an actor as accomplished as Sir Patrick Stewart has nothing to fear. Despite his impressive acting resume, Patrick continues to push himself in his craft.

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            “I really, really don’t want to hit one of those walls and I really don’t want to finish last. This makes me more nervous than anything I’ve ever done.” Inspiring words when you consider how hard Patrick has studied acting, in theater as well as film.

            Use Your Adversity

            Patrick Stewart is pretty open about his background, including his difficult childhood. While growing up, Patrick Stewart witnessed constant domestic abuse. At the hands of his father, Patrick’s mother was frequently beaten and battered. Once saying “I never had teenage years. I guess because I was seen to be more adult than anybody around me”, his childhood was filled with heartache and difficulty. 

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              “I was brought up in a very poor and very violent household. I spent much of my childhood being afraid”, he also shared. Despite the troubles, and despite overcoming severely difficult circumstances to achieve stardom, Patrick doesn’t let his past control him. Quite the opposite, Patrick works constantly with Refuge, a UK organization focused on providing safety for victims of domestic abuse. He’s also quick to speak up for others, and offer support. 

              Work For A Cause

              Magnifying his involvement with charitable organizations, Patrick actively encourages each of us to also speak up for those who can’t. “It is what you do from now on that will either move our civilization forward a few tiny steps, or else… begin to march us steadily backward”, he has said.

              Even when the topic is Star Trek-esque space travel, Patrick jumps to encourage social growth: “I would like to see us get this place right first before we have the arrogance to put significantly flawed civilizations out onto other planets, even though they may be utterly uninhabited.”

              Preferring to use his celebrity for those who need a voice, Patrick once shared “[I’ve] been given a voice that I didn’t know was available to me, and it was to speak seriously and with a proper level of involvement on issues of inequality and unfairness.” 

              Never content to sit idly by, Patrick Stewart is a true champion of social causes. “I’ve always believed that it is not possible to be in the world and not be political.”

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                Nurture Friendships

                Patrick Stewart is also well known for his famous friendships. In an industry where back biting and harmful feuds pop up daily, it’s completely refreshing to see a celebrity treat people with respect. Patrick has been friends with Ian McKellen since they met in the 60’s, performing with The Royal Shakespeare Company. Additionally, Patrick and Helen Mirren worked together on the 1981 Excalibur film, and remain friends to this day.

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                    “I’ve met actors where you think, if only you could just clean up your act and get it together, people would want to work with you. Some people are so difficult, it’s just not worth working with them.”

                    Consider Others Perspectives

                    Patrick’s difficult childhood would be enough to make anyone hate their father. Confounding human nature once again, Patrick sees his father’s flawed life with empathy. When Patrick participated in a recent documentary program for the BBC, he learned that his father suffered severe PTSD from WWII. At the time, even more misunderstood than it is now, PTSD had absolutely no treatment in the 40’s and 50’s. After learning of his fathers struggles, Patrick immediately began working with an organization in the UK for veterans, called Combat Stress. Again, quick to understand and slow to judge, Patrick Stewart is helping to eliminate violence and health problems on all fronts.

                    “Now I can do something for women and their children who [deal with domestic abuse]. One of the most gratifying things in my life is that, I would say daily, someone stops me in the street or at the stage door and will mention the work that I’ve done there.”

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                    Never Stop Laughing

                    If his incredible accomplishments, humble attitude and sprawling list of awards aren’t enough to make you love Sir Patrick Stewart, hopefully his humor does. In his mid 70’s, Patrick shows no sign of slowing down. Starring in a theatre production with Sir Ian Mckellan in 2013, Patrick continues to inspire us and make us laugh.

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                      Proof that there’s no reason to stop spreading joy, Patrick Stewarts silly pictures and quick wit will undoubtedly keep us smiling (and learning) for years to come.

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                        And finally, great respect on how Sir Patrick Stewart took ALS Ice Bucket Challenge…

                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vpbm7ehr_4

                        Featured photo credit: Gage Skidmore via en.wikipedia.org

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                        Alicia Prince

                        A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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                        Last Updated on July 15, 2020

                        How to Let Go of Toxic People in Your Life

                        How to Let Go of Toxic People in Your Life

                        “Entitlement is an expression of conditional love. Nobody is ever entitled to your love. You always have a right to protect your mental, emotional, and physical well-being by removing yourself from toxic people and circumstances.” -Dr. Janice Anderson & Kiersten Anderson

                        It’s not always obvious if you have someone toxic in your life. A toxic relationship is one that is harmful to you. A toxic person can create distress to the degree you feel inadequate and isolated. So, what makes a toxic person?

                        A toxic person has toxic behavior, meaning it’s not that the whole person is toxic[1]. It’s what they do that counts. Most toxic people run from accountability and misrepresent reality to you. They misrepresent your worth and your ability to heal from them can be stifled the longer you keep them in your life. You have a role to play with it as well; if your values are dismissed by them and you don’t act on it, you have allowed room for toxicity to grow.

                        When you are in a toxic relationship, you feel less than. You feel as though you are not worth anyone’s time or effort. You feel unheard, and sometimes you feel unsafe. You don’t feel good about yourself in a toxic relationship, whether it be with a partner, friend, or family member.

                        You may stay in a toxic relationship for a number of reasons. You may believe yourself to be a burden, have a lack of boundaries, resist change, fear conflict, try to be a people pleaser, find yourself codependent, or are partially stuck in a pattern or unhealthy cycle of abuse.

                        Letting go of toxic people may not be easy. In order to do so, you have to know why or how they are toxic to you and read between the lines that they do not have your best interests in mind.

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                        Letting go of toxic people is hard because you are good and want to see the good in others. You think their apologies are authentic. You have trouble believing they are being dishonest. You don’t spend time healing from it. You get pulled back into the pain because you don’t want it to end. However, if you feel like something isn’t right, it probably isn’t right.

                        You should walk away from a toxic person because you need to preserve your peace. You need to feel like yourself again. And you need better support.

                        Letting go of toxic people can involve four major steps.

                        1. Recognize the Red Flags

                        Red flags are signs a person is being toxic. It’s when someone shows characteristics that you should feel caution about. It’s when you feel any level of dissatisfaction and distrust. Trust your gut. When you recognize red flags, you can evaluate whether a person is trying to manipulate you or not. This gives you some level of control over what you allow in your life. The earlier you detect these behaviors, the better off you will be.

                        Red flags can include:

                        • They always put themselves first.
                        • They point out imperfections and sabotage your self-esteem.
                        • You may feel drained or used when you’re around them.
                        • What you give isn’t reciprocated. They don’t return the goodness you provide as a friend.
                        • They ignore your boundaries and get angry when you tell them “no.”
                        • You catch them in half truths or outright lies when you confront them about anything.
                        • You are the villain; they are the victim.
                        • Second chances always lead to repeated patterns of behavior.
                        • They may engage in abuse.

                        2. Set Boundaries

                        There are emotional boundaries that one can set, but there are also physical ones[2]. You can leave any time. Setting boundaries is also an important part of self-care.

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                        You shouldn’t walk on eggshells. Tell them how you feel. Are they respecting you, fulfilling your needs, and listening to you? If not, it’s time to set up a healthy emotional distance and start letting go of toxic people around you.

                        There are levels to this. You have your inner circle, which could include family, and then you have acquaintances and strangers. If a toxic person is in your inner circle, it’s time to pull back and put up some boundaries for them to follow. If they can’t hear you out, you can cut off the connection completely.

                        You can give second chances, but you have to be careful. If someone knows they can get away with something, they will do it again. If there’s any chance for the relationship, they have to know not to cross certain lines.

                        3. Invest in Yourself

                        You deserve to know you are worthwhile. Try to remember that things will get better and that anything is possible. How do you do so? Invest in yourself.

                        This means self care, goal setting, surrounding yourself with positive support, and feeling a sense of peace. Your greatest ambition should be to love yourself. Without self-love, letting go of toxic people will be difficult.

                        Every relationship is a risk, but if you know yourself and what you will allow, toxic people will have less of a hold over you. If you are a giver or people pleaser, you are most at risk to being in a one-sided relationship. You shouldn’t be punished for caring, but sometimes trust needs to be earned. If you have self-love, you are treating yourself the best way possible. You know that others need to meet your standards; otherwise, they don’t get to be a part of your life.

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                        It’s possible that you can love yourself and still not see the signs. It can be difficult for some to be aware that toxic people exist. However,, if you know how much you mean to others in your life and what you are worth, you will be less likely to take on a relationship that is harmful to you or repeat negative patterns. Self-love is how we get out of toxic relationships, but it’s also how they never begin.

                        4. Know When Forgiveness Is Possible

                        There are times a person will prove their worth to you. They may make a mistake that makes them seem like a horrible person. They may forget to be good to you because of their own issues. They may just have no example of what a healthy relationship looks like. They may have an inflated ego that really comes from insecurity. The list goes on.

                        If they apologize, that’s a start. Look at their actions. Are they changing for the better because they really want to change or just seeming to in order to manipulate you? A person may control others with their image or perceived personality, but if you see through them, you may be able to discern the degree to which they are willing to be there for you.

                        If they start to do the right thing, you may begin to trust them again. Don’t start forgiving them until time has passed and you are sure there is growth, even if they show vulnerability or remorse. You can give a second chance if they truly have an awakening. Otherwise, it’s best to get out. Don’t let them walk all over you; let them walk out the door.

                        If you do give a second change and they still refuse to change, you have every right to remove them and continue the process of letting go of toxic people. The moment you even want to leave may also be a good time to get out. You don’t have to compromise yourself in order to care for them.

                        Forgiveness is the release of resentment or anger[3]. Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation. You have to go back to the same relationship or accept the same harmful behaviors from someone. You don’t have to let them back in. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.

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                        Remember, forgiveness is ultimately for you, not them. You don’t need that person in your life in order to forgive them, and if you give them a second chance, proceed with caution.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Recognize the red flags, set boundaries, invest in yourself, and know when forgiveness is possible. This is how you cope with a toxic person impacting your life. You have power in the direction of your life and the people who accompany you as you move forward. Use it.

                        If a person is worthwhile, they will prove themselves through their actions, not their words. If they cross certain lines that really harm you, you owe them nothing. You have every right to feel what you feel and to be upset. Honor your feelings and communicate them because it’ll only continue to keep happening if you don’t.

                        If this is happening to you, it’s time to put a stop to it. It’s time to take control. It’s time to live for yourself, not for what others say about you. It’s time to set your standards higher than they’ve ever been before. And most of all, it’s time to let go.

                        Resource reminder: A physically abusive relationship is ALWAYS toxic. There are resources for you. Always speak up.

                        If you are in such a cycle or domestic violence or abuse reach out for help. For example, there is The National Domestic Violence Hotline (https://www.thehotline.org/) which can be reached at 1−800−799−7233. There are other ways to get help if you simply ask for it. 

                        More Tips on Letting Go of Toxic People

                        Featured photo credit: Hannah Busing via unsplash.com

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