Many of us believe we would be happier if we had more money, more fame, more beauty and more adoration. Icon Marilyn Monroe had all of those things and more. Norma Jeane Baker come into the spotlight under the stage name Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s. During the height of her career, you would probably view her as the ultimate success story. Girl comes from nothing and conquers the world! So how did this seemingly perfect life turn into a tragedy in the blink of an eye? More importantly, what can we learn from this legendary star and apply to our own lives?
Marilyn Monroe didn’t have the easiest childhood. Her father wasn’t in the picture and her mother was not prepared for parenthood financially or emotionally. Monroe was put into foster care shortly after birth and although her mother remained a part of her life her foster parents were the ones raising her. Despite the foster parents wanting to adopt Marilyn, her mother took her back full time when she was about 7. Shortly after, Monroe’s mother suffered a mental breakdown, was diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent the remainder of her life in a revolving door of psychiatric hospitals and care. With her mother once again being in no position to provide care for her, Monroe became a ward of the state and returned to foster care. Unfortunately, this period of her life didn’t provide much positivity or stability. Marylin Monroe found herself hopping from family to family and even spending time in orphanages. During this time, she experienced many horrors such as multiple instances of sexual abuse, molestation and isolation. These unthinkable experiences affected Marilyn deeply and the trauma caused her to become very withdrawn and depressed. To escape this situation and find stability, she chose to get married at the age of 16. This marriage ended up being a loveless one and while it didn’t affect Marilyn negatively, it was short lived.
Marilyn Monroe was very driven to achieve her goals. She broke into the modeling world and then decided to set her sights on acting. Before she knew it, Marilyn was starring in the most popular films and becoming a household name. All of her dreams were coming true! She was considered the “it girl” of the era and in the publics eyes she could do no wrong. Her scandals were even making fame skyrocket to new heights. She was recognized as the top actress, she was certainly one of the highest paid people in Hollywood and she had unmeasurable love and admiration from her massive fan base. Marilyn Monroe was just adding award after award to her growing collection. Despite her growing success Marilyn was still struggling. Her lack of confidence and happiness were still evident in her behavior especially in a working environment. Marilyn was rumored to be very difficult to work with and her perfectionism was making it impossible for her to be satisfied with any project she was involved with. The amount of pressure she was putting on herself eventually lead Monroe to turn to substance abuse. These habits eventually made the problems she was experiencing even worse and lead to addiction issues. As we’ve all seen time and time again, eventually addiction catches up with everyone. Marilyn Monroe was no exception to this and her performances began to suffer as a result. This only added to her substance abuse and eventually she ended up losing her life to her addiction. There is no question that her lethal overdose was intentional because the toxicology report showed that the amount of drugs in her system were several times the fatal dose.
How you feel has nothing to do with your circumstances. The reason Marilyn Monroe committed suicide because she never learned to conquer her emotional state. Instead of learning to find happiness within herself, she chose to use drugs to try and change how she was feeling. She had every reason in the world to be happy by most people standards. The amount of money she had would be the equivalent to about $2 billion in this day and age. She was considered by many to be the most beautiful woman in the entire world. She had dedicated fans who viewed her as the perfect woman. She had reached an unmatched level of fame. She had numerous awards validating her success. She lives on as a legend even to this day even though she passed away over 50 years ago. She had to have seen the impact she made not only on her industry but on the world as a whole, yet this is a woman who felt hopeless enough to take her own life. Obviously now that you’ve read about her childhood, you know that that trauma was a factor. As many of us tend to believe, Marilyn probably thought all of these achievements and material items in her life were supposed to bring her joy. She probably believed the money, success and admiration had the ability to erase her broken past. No circumstance you create for yourself will ever have the ability to do that for you. Happiness is a choice. If you aren’t happy with your life as it is in this current moment, I’m not suggesting that you should just accept it and do nothing to change it. What I am suggesting is that you take action immediately to learn to be happy every step of the way and start training your brain to be happy regardless of the circumstances you are in at any given time in your life. Even the world’s most successful people will tell you that life is full of ups and downs, highs and lows. Until you reprogram your brain to be happy during the entire ride, it won’t know how to be happy in even the best of times and Marilyn Monroe is the proof of that.
**I should mention that I understand how mental illness could have played a role in this situation. With her mother’s diagnoses it is certainly a possibility that Marilyn Monroe was more prone to the same issues. However, dwelling on negative thoughts has been proven to worsen your brain chemistry when these illnesses are present. If you do suffer from mental illness, I encourage you to seek professional help and allow them to help you develop strategies to improve your ability to cope with whatever issues you may be experiencing. If you are predisposed to have negative thoughts, this concept is going to be even more important for you. Please, take care of yourself. The world just wouldn’t be the same without you.