Willow Smith, Coping Mechanism and personal growth

After a very difficult past year, Willow Smith shares her thoughts on 'Coping Mechanism', her views on society, life and coming to terms with anxiety disorder.



You may think that life is a breeze for Willow Smith, being the daughter of famous parents Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, and finding fame at the age of 10 with her hit song “Whip My Hair. But Willow has been struggling with anxiety since the age of 10.

Growing up wasn’t easy. Willow would get panic attacks with accusing thoughts like: “You’re just a brat. Why aren’t you grateful?”. She realised that at that time, people didn’t recognise that she was having an anxiety attack and instead thought that she was throwing a tantrum.

Photo: WILLOW – Whip My Hair (Official Music Video)

Last year was an exceptionally testing time for Willow as her family was thrown into the limelight for all the wrong reasons. Her father, Will Smith had assaulted Chris Rock at the Oscars for some comments that the latter made about Jada Smith. Willow, together with her mum and grandmother spent a lot of on Red Tabel Talks, processing their own thoughts about that episode.


Photo: WILLOW – ur a stranger, willowsmith

In her album ‘Coping Mechanism’, Willow says that the music is about the “existential trauma of being alive in general.” Her music echoes the struggle that many people face, that of living in a “Society,” that “doesn’t want you to grow into the most realized, unique version of yourself.”

Willow however seem to defy the shackles of society, displaying a maturity and compassion that doesn’t allow the pain of growing up destroy who she wants to be and truly is on the inside.

Her thoughts on:



“Sometimes we’re uncomfortable. Discomfort comes into our lives, but that discomfort is meant to honestly heal us and to help us become better people if we perceive it in the way that we are meant to… The more that we can accept our humanity in ourselves and in others, that’s a step towards changing the world.”



“A lot of the problems that we have on this planet come from us either not accepting the truth of what’s right in front of us, or us not accepting the truth of what’s right inside of us. Once we can accept how we feel inside, the beautiful, the ugly, the chaos, the calm, we can move into the world in a more compassionate state.”



“Change starts within. The change starts with us choosing to live a more compassionate life. There’s a lot of steps that we need to take in order to make that a reality. And it’s not just about being more compassionate to ourselves and our own mind, even though that’s where it starts. It’s about being more compassionate to others, being more compassionate to the planet, being more compassionate to people who maybe aren’t compassionate to others or themselves.”

She has also found acceptance of her disorder. She says:

“Sometimes we need to sit there and be like, ‘Loneliness, okay, I see you. Anxiety, okay, I see you.’ ”

“I think, in the past, I made the mistake of identifying too much with, Oh, I am an anxious person. Those are just passing phases.”


Learn more about:

Anxiety Disorder

How to show compassion to your friends



Need someone to help you process your thoughts or a situation in your life?

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