We got rid of our cable about a month ago in an attempt to watch less TV. What I’ve learned is that you don’t really need a TV service. We can watch most of our favorite shows online for free and, of course, we have Netflix to take up hours upon hours of our time.
We’ve tried not to watch too much TV, but this past weekend I found a show called 13 Reasons Why and became interested in the plot about a woman who takes her own life and then describes the 13 reasons why she does so. I’m on episode 12 out of 13, but for the last few episodes, I’ve been struck by an important message that I keep thinking about. There is a slight spoiler from an episode that I’m going to talk about, so if you don’t like spoilers, you won’t want to keep reading.
13 Reasons Why Keeps You Thinking
Let me start off by saying that 13 Reasons Why pulled me in very quickly. It gave me a lot to think about. It made me question some of my thoughts on bullying and on suicide.
I think, when it comes to those two things, this show can help people see things from all sides of the equation.
And I think it can teach people (all people, not just teens) how their actions are affecting other people – even if they don’t know it.
Here’s the trailer for the show.
My husband and I found ourselves nodding our heads at a lot of the observations made by the characters, and we could relate to them, even though we are pushing and passing the age of 40. I almost didn’t watch it because it was labeled as a teen show, which it kind of is. But it’s not a mind-numbing teen show. It’s stimulating to the mind and keeps you in a state of contemplation.
It wasn’t until a scene in episode 7 of 13 Reasons Why that I really started thinking about our perception of things and how much of a difference it can make to how we feel.
Here comes that spoiler I was talking about!
In the scene, a character named Zach is talking to another character named Clay about a letter that Hannah wrote to Zach in a desperate attempt to get him to see things from her point of view. In Hannah’s interpretation of what happened, Zach read the letter and then threw it on the ground, which was extremely upsetting to Hannah. But, the fact is that Zach didn’t throw the letter on the ground. In fact, when Clay asks him why he got rid of the letter, Zach says, “Maybe that’s what she saw, I don’t know. I freaked out. But I never threw it away,” and then he pulls the letter out of his wallet.
Perception Is Everything
After that scene, I’ve noticed that perception plays a big role in what’s happening in 13 Reasons Why.
And in my life, I can see that even a slight gesture can be perceived differently by two people and have a huge effect on their relationship or the outcome of a situation.
For instance, just yesterday, my husband was putting some condiments on a hot dog he bought. My husband thought that a guy standing close to him was still waiting for his order, so he was taking his time at the condiment table. From my viewpoint, I could see that the guy had a hot dog in his hand and was waiting for my husband to get out of the way, but my husband didn’t see the hot dog in his hand. I watched from afar as the guy got more upset as my husband appeared to be a jerk taking up the table. When my husband reached the table I was sitting at, he told me that he had reached for some sauce and said excuse me to that guy, and the guy replied with ‘You just keep on truckin’!’ My husband didn’t know why the guy was so rude because from his perception he had done nothing wrong. From the other guy’s perception, my husband was a big jerk who was purposefully taking a long time to get his hot dog ready.
Going Forward More In Tune With The Value Of Perception
Thanks to 13 Reasons Why, I’m going to be going forward with a greater awareness on the importance of perception. Especially when it comes to happiness.
I may not always know when someone is perceiving me in an ugly way. But, I will know that if someone is upset with me, they must have perceived me or my actions in a way that was upsetting to them. And instead of taking things personally, I will either talk to them and clear up the misperception or move forward with a clearer understanding of what happened.
Watch 13 Reasons Why For More Insights
The importance of perception is just one of the things I’ve started thinking about since watching this show. Even my husband woke up the other day thinking about the show and some lessons he had taken from it.
I recommend watching 13 Reasons Why. I think it has the power to help many people see things in a different way and act in a different way.
If you have kids, you may want to talk to them about the show and help them see the messages that they could miss. It could be a real teaching tool in a world of bullying, trying to fit in, and struggle. And if you are older, I suggest watching the show with someone else. You will find yourself in a valuable conversation (we all have our own perceptions!) that could impact you in a very positive way.