As a young girl in the 1970s, I adored and daydreamed about Andy Gibb. He was the youngest brother of the legendary disco and soft pop band, The Bee Gees (Brothers Gibb). Andy had his own hit songs —Everlasting Love, (Love Is) Thicker Than Water, I Just Want to Be Your Everything, Shadow Dancing, (Our Love) Don’t Throw It All Away. I owned his albums and had his posters on my wall. I read articles about Andy in Tiger Beat. I listened to his songs over and over. The words were romantic and vulnerable. His face, eyes and toothy smile seemed kind and gentle. And that hair! So soft and sexy. Swoon.
I recently watched a clip from a Behind the Music episode on VH1 about Andy Gibb. The clip described the last few days of Andy’s life. Andy died of cardiac complications at the young age of 30. Years of drug and alcohol abuse weakened his heart. At the time of his death, he was living alone in England, drinking heavily and depressed.
I Just Want to Be Your Everything
As his brothers and mother described Andy, they said he will be remembered for his kindness. His brother Maurice said, “He helped a lot of people. He just couldn’t help himself.” His other brother, Robin, said Andy didn’t like what was going on in the world, so he constructed his own. In the end, the real world was too much for him.
The documentary on VH1, said Andy had lived with anxiety and feelings of insecurity for most of his life. He had to live up to his big brothers’ success. He had several longterm relationships, including a marriage that produced a daughter, but none of them lasted. Marie Osmond said he had it all — fame, money, looks – but inside he was empty.
So what am I trying to say with this review of Andy Gibb’s life?
Those with kind, vulnerable hearts and sensitive spirits often find it hard to mix with the real world, but also have tremendous abilities to help, love and inspire others. — Brenda Knowles
Love is thicker than water
I find it interesting that, as a very young person (under 10 years old), I had such an attraction to Andy. Perhaps I sensed we were alike inside.
I’ve been reflecting on and examining my deepest values lately. It has not been easy to put my finger on the exact things I value and espouse the most. I could say relationships and connection are very important to me, but those are rather broad.
The Andy Gibb documentary made me realize I have always been drawn to those with sensitive, non-competitive natures. It makes sense, given that is how I am. But there is more, not only am I drawn to people like me, I want to champion them, listen to them, understand them, help them and make them feel loved. I want to give them the support I have, at times, longed for in my life.
It’s so easy to be like Andy and give to others, but not fill yourself up. Perhaps he lived by someone else’s values of fame and fortune. I am sure there were those who used him for his money and connections. He needed something different, but did not find it or was afraid to ask for it.
The outside world can be fierce and full of others who are not afraid to criticize, compete and take advantage of empathetic hearts. It is especially troublesome for those who want to be loved so much, they feel they can’t say no. Internally focused folks often end up feeling overwhelmed, lonely and undervalued. Our nervous systems are not meant for constant battling or doing. We want to rest in our internal worlds, in love, in calm.
This is not to say we do not have a voice or the desire to fight for what we believe in. It also does not mean those with more outward natures, are our enemies. They are simply the other side of the coin we learn from and appreciate for their different abilities.
I want to support and help those with the most tender internal worlds. As I do this work, I also help myself by learning how to manage and embrace my emotions and sensitive nervous system. I very much value learning. Unlike Andy Gibb, I am helping myself as I champion others.
Years ago, I learned something valuable from Adam Grant’s book, Give and Take. Dr. Grant said the most successful people are givers but they are not doormats. They give to others but with a level of self-interest. They get something in return.
It works better if we don’t forget to help ourselves as we inspire and help others.
Our emotions and insides need as much care and nurturing as our external worlds. We can find that care from secure, loving relationships. Solitude may help us recharge but too much time alone sets off our nervous system’s alarm bells and has a negative effect on our well-being.
By honoring our unique values and caring for our internal worlds through recharging solitude and secure relationships, we can thrive and stay very alive in the real world.
Are you or someone you know struggling to make it in the real world? Do you help others but not yourself? If you are a sensitive person, what do you do to make the real world a comfortable place?
My book, The Quiet Rise of Introverts, makes for a comforting and inspiring summer read. 🙂