There’s A Will Smith In Every Single One Of Us

There’s A Will Smith In Every Single One Of Us

By Monique Rhodes

April 8, 2022

Will Smith's incident with Chris Rock at the Academy Awards was disturbing on many levels. I made a podcast about it here that you might find helpful.

However, it can be easy for us to look at him and see his wrongdoing - to see his actions as separate from us. It's easy to stand back and judge from a place of sudden superiority. It can seem almost impossible to look at his actions that night and feel in any small way that you are the same. 

But you are. 

Of course, the chances of you winning an Oscar are relatively slim. I get it. However, I bet you know this feeling - the feeling that you have a sense of absolute clarity in a moment of being completely triggered. In fact, at that moment, your clarity is so overwhelming that you can't see any other course of action except for the one that this clarity has delivered to you. 

And so you act on it. 

You act on it with a sense of certainty.

And in the aftermath of acting - all hell breaks loose

Whatever you say or do hurts someone deeply, and it has consequences, sometimes life-changing, that you can't take back. And over time, the clarity wanes, only to be replaced by a deep sense of remorse and regret. 

We may look from afar at a powerful, wealthy Hollywood star and believe that what Will Smith did that night was something so scandalous that we ourselves would never do. And most of us would not act out to such a degree. But mark my words. There's a Will Smith in every single one of us

That is why training your mind is the most critical work you can do for yourself. 

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  • Thanks for creating space for us to think about ourselves and others and all interactions -those that heal, those that hurt, those that create strength and deeper understanding of why we exist at all and exist in a world with others who need us, fear us, love us. We got our work cut out for us but it is possible to hear and be heard, without violence. I hope. As I reflect on what makes me angry and then what makes me listen. 🙂 Thanks, Monique.

  • I agree the re-actions we’re wrong but please give him some grace and let’s be optimistic and open that this was a very unusual incident and it’s very unfortunate that it happened when it did- we all break sometimes and it’s what we can learn from it and try and not repeat the behavior that is where the conversation needs put attention. I deeply appreciate and learn from your mindfulness and thank you for your work.

  • Whilst i can probably understand impulsive trigger responses, I feel that Will had quite a bit of time to change his actions. Standing up from his chair, walking up stairs to the stage, walking towards Chris Rock…….and then physical assault. There was time to stop and shout from a distance, point a finger, show a fist, plenty of time to turn around …….his point still clearly made……..without the violence.

  • Thanks, Monique.
    You are the only person I have found who shares this point of view with me. Remember “let he who has not sinned throw the first stone?” Where did this go? Why can’t we muster any empathy?
    Hollywood stars are real people. Yes, his behavior was deplorable, but everyone has had moments in their life that they wish they could erase. And for the worst moment of his career to overshadow what should have been the best moment of his career? To me, that is just heart-breaking.

    • I hear you Nancy. I always say, when you point your finger at someone it is one finger pointing at them, three fingers pointing at you. However, the question is then, do you feel empathy also for Putin? Where is your line? I have an answer for myself to this but I’m curious as to whether you do 💕

  • Agree and disagree. Of course we all can be triggered and rage at someone at some time in our lives. However, the context here is extraordinary. To have your feelings hurt and to act out in a televised crowded theater, in front of millions of people? Will Smith thought his feelings were so important that he was willing to put his personal hurt feelings above the night of celebration it was…wow, that is one gigantic ego. I can assure you I could NEVER do that.

    • Of course but this is the point of what I am discussing. On smaller levels, on smaller scales, we all do similar things. Perhaps we have our feelings hurt and act out in front of our wider family, or our children…it doesn’t have to be at the same scale for us to see an aspect of our own humanity in his actions. 💕

  • I think in Will Smith’s case he was triggered and just acted very impulsively without taking a second to breathe and reflect. But sometimes there are people who purposely provoke and poke the bear to be cruel. And you feel like a smack across the mouth would teach them a lesson. However, we’re not bears, but if this is repeated pattern it’s time to put an end to the relationship ASAP.

  • My personality is much like Will Smith. I someone was going at one of my loved ones I do believe I would see red.It would take everything in my power not to react. I would have maybe walked out of the event to cool down.

  • I completely agree. Emotions are a powerful thing, particularly when acted on – on behalf of someone you love.

    Now the hard part and lesson.

    I might have injured a relationship in my life without even realizing it…I’ve been sitting with it all day…I think I’m fine, it is not mine to fix as I don’t know that I did anything hurtful…

    Perception is in he “eye”of the perceiver, I do not have their vision, only my own, and I am at peace with that.

    Thank you, Monique for powerful tools and thoughts.


  • Mon, something to think about. Pfizer was one of the biggest sponsors of the Oscars. Pfizer is in phase 3 trials for a new alopecia drug. . . The Oscars viewership was down to half of what it was the last couple of years.

    Might this be a coincidence?

    Story. . . . lets see of Jada is the new spokes person for this drug.

  • I totally agree with you! It is so easy to say something (I’ve never slapped anyone!) that can be terribly hurtful whether you mean it that way or not. Pausing to reflect before speaking is not easy, but mind training can put us on that path.

  • I think when we are triggered and see red all we want to do is strike back at the one who hurt us or who hurt someone we love. It is a knee jerk reaction. That’s why a mindful meditation practice is so important because it teaches us to step back and pause before taking action.

      • There is a part of me that understands Mr. Smiths reaction, another part that feels bad for the event being so public and happening at all, and a resonance of being judged for one ugly action. The part of me that can rise in anger in response to verbal attacks is learning how to pause and negotiate incidences with a little more ease. My path is filled with thoughts of violence towards others and this has been such a good demonstration to me that the act of violence does not pay or gain any benefit. I can choose my response rather than act out my emotions.

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