I’ve been noticing increasingly that I’ve been able to relate to shows on a more personal level. I started thinking, why. What’s changed? When I was younger, I could watch things with so much ease and I still can, but many shows today help me reflect in ways I never thought I could. Based on my reaction to certain things I’m watching, it’s helped me realize just where I was hurt in my life.
One simple example is my connection with animals. In any scene where animals are mistreated, I’m left feeling angry and sad almost immediately. I grew up with dogs and they have always provided me with unconditional love and joy daily so, on those days where life just felt too overwhelming or hopeless, they were there to help me get through the day. To me, they represent hope and love.
Of course, the more dogs I’ve lost in my life, the heavier that sadness and pain become. And as we get older, we experience more loss in general, whether that be a pet, a parent, a child, a friend, a job, a marriage, a home, etc. I’ve learned to lean into that pain as a way to heal. Oftentimes I don’t allow myself to approach those feelings. Watching shows that resonate with me gives me a place to channel all of those unprocessed emotions and embrace the journey of healing. It’s not an easy one but it’s much needed when looking to achieve a happy, harmonious, and peaceful life.
I’ve listed some of my top favorite shows that have left me feeling more connected with my emotions, open wounds, and scars. If you’re looking for shows that can help you release some complex, blocked, or dissociated feelings from the past, these three recommendations will have just that effect.
Just a heads up, if you binge-watch a show, it may leave you feeling more exhausted and drained than after watching one or two episodes. That’s because you have been confronting some of your baggage. This is very normal. Learn to listen to your body and your heart.
The first step is to accept that you may still have some open wounds that need healing. This doesn’t mean that you’re a bad or good person. This simply means that you are human.
Below I’ve listed 3 shows that may help you feel less alone and more connected. You may not relate to all of the characters, but I’m confident that you’ll find one that resonates with you.
1. Couples Therapy
This Showtime docu-series follows Dr. Orna Guralnik, a well-respected clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst who teaches at the National Institute for Psychotherapies. Four real couples based in New York are filmed over the course of six months. The only thing that isn’t real is her office. It’s a bigger replication of her office in order to fit the camera crew who were all enclosed behind a 360-degree one-way mirror.
There’s something interesting about seeing other couples deal with their problems. Relationships are complicated and this show allows you to see and even personally identify with them. Making that connection can be very healing. There’s comfort in knowing that other couples are struggling and also fighting for their relationship. Dr. Guralnik helps the couple understand their partner better as well as themselves better. Change must come from within the person who needs to change. Understanding how improving yourself could significantly change the dynamic of your relationship, helps motivate personal change but it could also reveal a lack of willingness to change. You’re left with the philosophical question of what does that mean? What does that mean for you and what does that mean for the relationship? This show gives you some insight and the many ups and downs that come with this process.
2. This is Us
This drama series initially focuses on one couple and their experience raising triplets. In later seasons, you’re invited into the lives of the triplets. Three children who share the same birthday, the same parents, the same home experience three very different lives. This show exhibits just how our individual identities and belief systems start to form during childhood. How we start to translate the world and relationships is based on those beliefs.
Each person develops a “role” in their family dynamic. Sometimes this role is chosen by us, sometimes it’s given to us and sometimes it’s a little bit of both. What we discover as we age is that we also have the ability to challenge these belief systems and those given roles. Self-awareness and self-reflection can help you discover your authentic self.
3. A Million Little Things
This drama series centers on the death of a one-person who helped a group of friends get through life-challenging events such as cancer, substance abuse, and career failures. The big twist is that he left without any reason. After taking his own life by surprise, you see just how it brings this group of friends together and how it tears them apart. Everyone tackles his death by suicide differently. They look for answers and blame themselves for not knowing.
The most impactful message this show gives is the power of lying. So many of us lie thinking that it will protect our family and/or friends but what’s revealed is that truth is less painful than finding out that someone lied to you. It leaves you thinking though. What if we were more honest with ourselves and with each other, could that help prevent future emotional turmoil and preserve the trust in relationships? It’s the constant dilemma of knowing whether your lying is actually protecting or harming someone.
So, in summary, I leave you with this challenge. If you find yourself liking a character, as yourself why. If you find yourself disliking a character, ask yourself why, as well. There’s always a reason and it might give you a little more insight into yourself.