Fashion Designer Kate Spade was recently found dead, tied to a doorknob by her throat with a suicide note in the room according to The New York Times. Kate Spade launched a successful business selling handbags, shoes, and fashion accessories in 1993. In 2006, she sold a majority share of her company to Neiman Marcus. Soon after, Liz Claiborne bought it then sold it to Coach last year for $2.4 billion.

This is profoundly sad to imagine that someone with so much wealth could have been troubled enough to end their life. Yet, do you realize how common this dilemma actually is? Research indicates that an average of 44,965 suicides happen per year, which translates to 123 per day. Suicide has claimed the lives of extraordinarily successful stars such as Robin Williams, Kurt Cobain, Don Cornelius, and Marilyn Monroe, just to name a few. How could so many presumably “successful” people get to a place in their lives where killing themselves seemed like the best solution they had?


The big question…

Why would someone with family, wealth, status, fame and success commit suicide?

How could a woman who has been married for over 20 years, has a 13-year old daughter, and who has built her business into a $200 million empire, kill herself through suffocation?

People, whether rich and famous, or unknown and poor, can find themselves at a crossroads where they struggle so much that they end up seeing suicide as a desirable escape. These are people who are dealing with strong anger, despair, deep guilt and shame. They feel totally hurt, afraid, misunderstood, alone and unloved. They are experiencing these things at such a high level within themselves that they can’t take it anymore.

Why suicide? The answer is Perspective.

When I say “Perspective”, I mean the orientation of one’s thoughts, ideas, affections, attention, focus, desire, faith, and heart. There is power in perspective, power that builds or destroys, brings darkness or brings light. The way we look at things will greatly impact how we experience them. If you constantly focus on your weaknesses, faults and failures, you will inevitably end up angry, hopeless, hurt and depressed.

I have counseled many people who were abused in the past, and because of that, they struggled in life and dealt with deep depression and self-esteem issues. Not so much because of the past injustice they suffered, but more because of how they dealt with it and are currently thinking about it. It’s a past that lasts. It’s well beyond pain being our present prison. For example; there are some who have been sexually abused by a loved one when they were children, and that event became their reason to be broken and never get their lives together. Yet there are others who have the same story, but are very driven and clear because they transformed their past abuse into emotional fuel for success. Why? Because it’s all about how you look at it, your perspective.

It doesn’t matter if everyone loved Robbin Williams and was amazed by all his accomplishments, what mattered is that Robin himself didn’t feel good enough. He didn’t feel like he did enough. It doesn’t matter if we think Kate Spade had it all, what really matter is what Kate thought, what was her perspective?

Changing Perspective to Change our Life

Do you find yourself grumbling and complaining often? Do you focus on the struggles in life more than the beauty and blessings? If so what does it produce in your life? Do you have your best ideas and actions when you are afraid and stressed? This is not the most effective emotional state to produce the results we want to see in our lives.

Realize that your emotions can be changed, though it’s not always easy. Your feelings are not your boss! You must change your perspective. Do something to disrupt the negativity and do it quickly. Is sadness rising up within you? Make yourself laugh, enjoy some comedy. Are you starting to eat something unhealthy? Put it down and choose a better alternative. Take control of your life. Are you bitter or angry with someone? Don’t allow anyone to destroy your peace. Forgive that person and move on for your own sake.

“I’m not negative, I’m realistic”

Stop giving yourself a right and reason to be depressed and alone. People are often concerned that by “acting” happy when they’re depressed, they’re being fake and lying to themselves and to others. Understand that those are feelings – not who you are. You DO NOT need to allow them to have control and run your life. Why compromise your peace and happiness when you can counteract negative emotions? You have the power and potential to do it. Don’t let feelings keep you from your destiny.

Fasting Challenge

Have you heard of fasting? No food for a period of time. That is what your challenge is, but instead it will be a three-day negativity fast. No grumbling, or complaining. No talking down to others for two days. Through this simple exercise you will realize how much negativity you have wasted your energy on. Instead of only avoiding bad thoughts, say and think that which builds or adds value to you and those around you.

Change comes from 3 constant decisions.

1. What you decide to focus on

2. What meaning you give to that which you are focusing on

3. What you are going to do about it

If you are dealing with suicidal thoughts please call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433). If you are dealing with depression and hopelessness get counseling now. RISE Programs is here to help.

Richard Martinez

Transformational Expert