I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.” – Charles Swindoll
This is one of my favorite quotes and it speaks to a truth that I try to remind myself of every time I am frustrated with anything going on in my life or if something does not work out the way I want it to. It speaks volumes to dealing with stressful situations that can be far behind our control and is a humbling reminder that we have the power to change our outlook on life and our overall enjoyment and level of happiness. It is a very empowering quote that I think everyone should take seriously.
So what’s the life lesson wrapped into this quote and related to Kim Kardashian and Monica Lewinsky? Attitude is everything, my friends.
There are several interesting coincidences between Kim Kardashian and Monica Lewinsky. For starters, they both made their poor decisions at age 22 (although Kim’s tape wasn’t publicly released until she was 26) and both of these poor decisions involved sex and powerful or otherwise notable men.
But there are stark differences between the two women.
Kim Kardashian was 22 when she chose to make a sex tape with then-boyfriend Ray-J. Everyone knows this and an absurd amount of people have seen the footage themselves; as it is still available on the internet despite various attempts by the Kardashians to have it taken down. While the Kardashians were not an invisible family before the whole scandal drifted to the surface (i.e. their fathers role in the O.J. Simpson trial, Bruce’s (now Caitlyn’s) Olympic Career, connections with Paris Hilton and other celebrities etc.) but it is indisputable that Kim’s sex tape played a significant role in accelerating the family to the spotlight.
Monica Lewinsky was 22 when she obtained (through family connections) at an unpaid internship at the White House under the presidency of Bill Clinton. The sexual scandal that ensued during her internship brought her to worldwide celebrity status and caused an uproar that led to her shaming and a “decade of silence” as she states in her TED talk.
The Monica Lewinsky TED Talk
The Kim Kardashian Sex Tape
(HA as if I would link that in a blog post. No.)
One of the things that caught my attention in the TED talk was when Monica asked the audience if any of them had done something when they were 22 that they now regretted. Nearly everyone raised their hands, of course, because we all do stupid things every day that we look back on with shame. I myself, at this very moment, am sipping down a gatorade to help soothe all of the things that I did that I now regret just last night. For Monica, however, the notoriety and public humiliation shunned her out of the public eye and into a long-term depression, one that got so bad her mother feared she would kill herself every time she took a shower.
The Kardashians, on the other hand, took this situation and turned it into an empire. From being a marginally notable family in Southern California, to essentially (sadly) the royal family of the United States of America and pop culture, despite the majority of them having no particular talents or special abilities ( I say the majority of them solely because of the existence of Caitlyn Jenner). I’m not hating on the Kardashians for their fame, in fact, their content through Keeping up with the Kardashians and all of the other spin-off shows that have come about is undoubtedly entertaining, and is one of my guilty pleasures. Even though none of them are geniuses, what they have done to create such a huge fan base of people in love with them for just being themselves is genius.
In the contrasting stories of these two different women who experienced two very similar situations and reacted to both of them very differently, the notion of the importance of attitude in difficult situations becomes so apparent. Could Monica and her family have become the first Kardashians, creating a complete spectacle and using to their advantage after the scandal? Maybe not. And Monica is not to blame for not turning her sexual relations with Bill Clinton into a tool to become a celebrity, but it is tragic that she spent so much of her life silent, dealing with the shame that came from this situation alone, only to resurge in 2014 with her new crusade against cyber-bullying. Monica has and will do great things with her status, it just took nearly 20 years while it probably took Kris Jenner about 10 minutes.
So when something harrowing arises in your own life, don’t be a Monica. Be a Kardashian. (YEESH, NEVER thought I would say THAT in a blog post!) Face it head on, and see how you use it to your advantage. You never know what will happen, but your attitude toward the things that happen to you is the much more crucial deciding factor in your future than the events themselves.
But maybe don’t make a sex tape with your boyfriend or perform fellatio on the president. Just some advice.