By: Laura Bennett
For a long time, our culture has defined “success” by our social status, paycheck and the prominence we acquire through our achievements.
There’s a sense that being conventionally beautiful, wealthy and famous is the precursor to fulfillment, and without these traits we won’t thrive.
On one level, we know that’s a lie: look down your street and most of us do not live “the lush life”. We find ways to happily get by and there’s abundant evidence to suggest our relationships, and not our bank balances, truly fuel our wellbeing.
However, we’re still drawn into the narrative that tells us we aren’t enough, don’t have enough and won’t ever be enough until we tick certain boxes.
Adding to growing number of celebrities using their platforms to destigmatise mental illness and expose its role in our sense of fulfillment, Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me follows the popstar’s career over a six-year window, offering a deeply personal insight into her struggles with fame and the aftermath of lupus and bipolar disorder diagnoses.
The cynic will ask why we should watch another documentary about another famous person who has more than most of us showing how “hard it really is” behind the scenes to be so rich and famous.
The main reason is because there’s not an ounce of self-indulgence in My Mind & Me.
Selena’s not trying to convince the viewer to feel sorry for her or to pity the celebrity experience – although you might – her aim is to reveal the war we can all wage when lies about ourselves seem louder than the truth, and we’re not sure of the way forward.
My Mind & Me is about a woman grappling with a past that’s defined her but that she’s since outgrown, and who is recovering from heartbreak that not only affected her personally but that the whole world ferociously continue to comment on.
There are scenes where Selena asks when she’ll be enough on her own without being associated with someone else, and when she’s triggered by interviews that put her back in a box she’s determined to break out of.
While we may not be able to relate to Selena’s lifestyle and the extremes she faces in the public eye, her desire for connection is universal and the questions she asks about finding purpose and authentic love apply to everyone.
This documentary isn’t fan-fodder. It’s an intelligent invitation to better educate ourselves around issues of mental health and to curiously explore the reasons behind what upsets and excites us.
“Selena’s desire for connection is universal and the questions she asks about finding purpose and authentic love apply to everyone.”
My Mind & Me causes you to consider what it really takes to thrive and where culture gets it wrong.
As Christians, we believe a relationship with Jesus is fundamental to fulfillment: it gives us an anchor point for our identity and the knowledge we’re fully known and fully loved, and Selena hints at her own reliance on faith as she prays for Jesus to help her through moments of self-doubt and uncertainty.
Selena’s documentary is an act of service to the viewer more than a mouthpiece for her and is valuable viewing for anyone who watches it.
My Mind & Me is streaming on AppleTV now.
Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.
Feature image: Selena Gomez, documentary screenshot
About the Author: Laura Bennett is a media professional, broadcaster and writer from Sydney, Australia.