Spoiler Alert: The following contains spoilers about the ‘This is Us’ post-Super Bowl episode as well as previous episodes.
Hopefully, you made it through the emotional roller coaster of the “Super Bowl Sunday” episode of This is Us (perhaps more aptly dubbed “Super Bawl Sunday“), which finally revealed the heart-wrenching circumstances surrounding Jack’s death. Staying true to his good character, Jack saved his entire family (excluding his son Kevin who wasn’t home) and Kate’s beloved dog from a house fire, but the twist came when viewers found out Jack didn’t actually die in the fire — he died from a heart attack as a result of it. (Grab your tissues!)
The ensuing storyline revolved around how the Pearsons are still reeling from immense feelings of grief, guilt, and sadness twenty years later. But the theme of navigating the throes of grief isn’t anything new; managing grief has been a central topic throughout the entire show — and that’s what makes This is Us so relatable! Throughout both seasons, we’ve seen each character navigate rocky relationships with family, significant others, and friends. With plots covering so many difficult, real-life issues (like anxiety, alcoholism, drug addiction, cancer, obesity, racism, and even adoption!), it’s no wonder the show feels like free therapy! Even though the show is completely fictional, there are some major truths that can be gleaned from the Pearson family’s life experiences. Here are five of the most valuable lessons we’ve learned thus far:
1. Live in the Moment
If there’s anything This is Us has taught us, it’s that life is short, but not if you live it right. In other words, it’s not the quantity of time that matters — it’s the quality. Take Jack and his family for instance. Although his life was tragically cut short, he was still able to be a phenomenal father, husband, and friend. Another terrific example occurred in season one when Randall was finally able to track down his biological father William. Unfortunately, we find out William has cancer and doesn’t have that much time left. In the short amount of time he does have, however, William manages to forge an incredibly close bond with Randall, his wife Beth, and their two daughters. Regardless of how hectic your life may be, don’t forget to live in the moment. “Roll all your windows down. Crank up the music. Grow out that fro. Let someone else make your bed.” Put simply — take time to smell the roses.
2. Follow Your Dreams
Perhaps you’re caught up in a job you don’t like (similar to Kevin in his role as the “Manny”), or maybe you’re too scared to take a big risk (e.g., Kate overcoming her insecurities to finally pursue singing). Whatever the case, it’s incredibly easy to remain stagnant in life, but this show is a constant reminder of how important it is to pursue the things in life that make you happy. Believe in yourself, never doubt your abilities, and always go after your dreams.
3. Ask for Help
Many of the characters in This is Us try to deal with their issues alone, but soon realize it’s easier to face hard times with someone by their side. Jack and Kevin both suffered from substance abuse problems but eventually sought help from their family and then professionals. Although it may be difficult to admit you have a problem (whether it be substance abuse related or you’re simply just lost and need directions), getting help from someone else can actually help make the situation less stressful. Asking for help does not mean you’re weak, it simply means you’re strong enough to know when you’re in way over your head. Don’t be afraid of a helping hand. After all, we can all do more together than we could ever do alone.
4. Practice Forgiveness
Resentment, pain, and anger are incredible burdens to bear. This was quite evident when Randall confronted his biological father about leaving him at a fire station after he was born, and when Kate blamed herself for her father’s death. Although it’s hard to admit it, no one is perfect (Randall included) and everyone makes mistakes. Now, that’s not to say that actions don’t have consequences–because they definitely do–but they also deserve forgiveness. Although forgiving someone else (or yourself!) may not change the past, it will definitely change the future. Food for thought.
5. Make Lemonade
When Dr. K. told Jack his third baby didn’t survive childbirth, Jack’s entire world came crumbling down. While trying to console him, Dr. K. reminded him that his two surviving, beautiful babies were waiting for him in the viewing room. And then he gave Jack some very wise advice — to always take the sourest lemon life has to offer and turn it into something resembling lemonade. Unfortunately, bad things in life will always happen. Although there will be unavoidable hurdles in life (both big and small), the show reminds us to always be positive, to always look on the brighter side of things, and to always make lemonade.
Do you watch This Is Us? Has it taught you any life lessons?
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