Life lessons from ‘Spare’ by Prince Harry: A message about values and mental health

‘Spare’ by Prince Harry has been a hotly debated autobiography in recent months, and has ruffled quite a few feathers. I could follow the masses and criticise the book for its poor writing, vulgarity, and boyish tone, however, I think the overall message of the book is more important than its few shortcomings. So here’s a list of life lessons that we could learn from Prince Harry’s experiences, choices and views:

No matter who you are or what you’ve been through, your trauma is valid!

Even princes’ lives aren’t perfect.

Emotional neglect and invalidation of feelings by a parent is harmful to mental health.

Comparison and inequality are damaging to self-esteem.

Don’t believe everything you read.

Everyone is deserving of a second chance.

Expensive, private education is not necessary for everyone.

Be brave enough to choose your own path despite obstacles and criticism.

Be mindful of negative self talk.

Seeking aid from a mental health professional is not shameful.

Be authentic, be brave, and be true to your values.

Accept accountability and responsibility for your mistakes.

Safety is more important than fame.

Happiness, not money, is wealth.

Know when to walk away from a toxic environment.

Choose healthy ways to heal. Medicating with alcohol and drugs doesn’t solve the problem.

Process, and don’t suppress, emotions. It is perfectly okay for men to cry.

Love and nurture your wounded inner child.

Serve and respect humanity.

It’s okay to not know everything. We all have different gifts and talents.

Grief is personal, and everyone copes with it in different ways.

Respect others’ boundaries and personal lives.

Hold space for those who are hurting.

I applaud Prince Harry for telling his side of the story. It took bravery to publicly reveal his vulnerabilities, especially to a world who largely loves to hate him. I hope he feels a weight lifted off his shoulders, from having his voice heard, after decades of being silenced. It is a win for everyone, to have a world-renowned public figure, openly speaking about mental health. Grief, trauma, abuse, and neglect, are topics that cannot be ignored in the twenty first century, and this is why I believe ‘Spare’ holds a valuable message for today.

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