I was reading today’s fortune and instantly thought of “to be, or not to be,” the opening phrase of Hamlet’s soliloquy of Act 3, Scene 1. Hamlet is the longest Shakespearian play, and this soliloquy is very well-known. In this scene, Hamlet contemplates suicide and whether he should end his life or not.
For those unfamiliar with the play, LitCharts has the soliloquy in its entirety along with the modern English translation.
In 33 lines of iambic pentameter, Hamlet bemoans the pain and unfairness of life, but he also acknowledges that death might be worse. Suicide is not an easy topic to discuss, but I believe the more we tackle the subject, the easier it will be to recognize that it should never be an option.
We are at a time of year when the media claims that depression and suicide rates are on the rise. The expectations of the holidays can drain our strength. Some people feel these and other pressures of life weighing in on them, and in their weakness, they consider an easier solution. Today, I am writing for those people, because at one time I also considered that option until I realized how to grow stronger.
Yes, life can be difficult. We face challenges that feel insurmountable, that no one else could possibly understand. We question our ability to go on much as Hamlet does in the play. What we need to accept is that we are all stronger than we think. God never gives us more than we can handle, and that should be very reassuring. He puts people in our lives to help us along.
Many people get through the holidays without too much grief. In fact, studies have shown that the number of suicides and psychiatric visits decreased before Christmas. It’s speculated that during the holiday season, people receive more emotional support than usual from friends and family.
That support is the key, and we can find it every day in the people that surround us. When we think of ourselves as a lone figure in a dark world, we will easily break under pressure, but each person we connect with adds a little light into our lives and gives us strength. We can talk with them, live by their example, or even find solace in a hug—I especially recommend these.
We also give strength to others. Our connections with each other can spread hope and encouragement. We were put here for a purpose, and we are stronger when we work together and help each other. We are given life, and we are worth it.
For those that feel weak and alone, look out to the people around you. Find comfort in their presence now and all year long. Know that you are blessed, loved, and stronger than you think.