I have just finished watching the second season of 13 Reasons Why on Netflix—my heart feels heavy and I can’t help but wonder: why are we doing this to each other? This show, as controversial and annoying as it might be, gets us to talk about many of the problems we have as a society: being ignorant to others’ wrongdoings; or being the wrongdoers without thinking how it affects others. Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why opens a passionate discussion on topics such as bullying, sexual assault, suicide.
It was hard to watch, and harder to think that’s the reality we live in. We judge, we point fingers, we put labels and we rarely reach out. Here’s the question that’s been bothering me—how many times have I ever reached out to someone who’s clearly in need? It doesn’t cost a thing, to just be there for someone and say ‘hey buddy, it’s going to be alright’. So why not do it?
Here are three life lessons I have learned from 13 Reasons Why.
Be kind to everyone, always
Words have the amazing power to build or destroy. Use them wisely. Sometimes saying a joke you don’t consider offensive or spreading a rumor to protect yourself might turn out to be more poisonous than you think. You never know what is going on in a person’s life. Be kind to everyone, always.
Don’t be ignorant when somebody is hurting
A classmate of mine committed suicide a few years ago, and to me – it came out of nowhere. I’d never really tried to talk with him, to get to know him; to understand that troubled and hurting boy with a punk hairstyle. Because I’d been more focused on my own shit, and I guess that’s the thing—we rarely look at one another, and beyond our own pain. That’s just not right. Don’t be ignorant when somebody is hurting.
Focus on the 13 reasons why not
Although I have never considered suicide as an option—not even for as brief as a second, I do know what it’s like to feel that life’s just not going to get better. When everything is going wrong, it is so freaking difficult to find things that are going right. Remember, there is always a reason why not. Hell, there are so many reasons why not—the people who DO love you, the endless opportunities that lie ahead. Whatever you are going through, it will pass. As difficult as this might be to believe right now… something great is always just around the corner. Focus on the reasons why not.
If you are hurting, don’t hide your broken. Keeping it in only makes it worse. And if you have any clue that someone around you is struggling, be brave and take the first step. Start a conversation. And now, that I’m writing this, I know I’d be a hypocrite to say I’ll always do the right thing. I probably won’t. But if you and I make the effort to notice and be a little bit more involved with the darkness in our society, maybe we’ll help somebody else see a light.
What has 13 Reasons Why taught you?