Everyone has experienced the feeling when they are watching their favorite show, often season two or three of said show, and they are super into it. You’re digging it. Wrapped up in the plot and then they do the thing, the thing that you didn’t ever want them to do. They kill someone off (looking at you GOT Red Wedding) or they make someone get amnesia (Seven Deadly Sins, man seriously) and you want to throw things. You seriously want to launch things at the screen. In that moment you don’t understand why you like the damn thing in the first place. And its actually really uncomfortable.
Well if you are anything like me, and many others that I have worked with, this is often the point in the show where you stop watching. Thanks to Netflix and other streaming services this is a consistent reality. Now often times a few weeks or months later you will go back and finish the season with some hopes of resolution but for a while, you’re out. Done. You will find another show in the meantime, one that doesn’t make you twitchy.
But have you ever wondered why these shows make us feel so damn uncomfortable, I mean not just like eww killing or bad writing, but sincerely uncomfortable on a deep enough level that we actually avoid them?
And its not just shows, this can happen with books and movie series and comics. Hell, I still haven’t read the second book in the Girl with The Dragon Tattoo series and I read the first one years ago.
There is a reason for this very odd and specifically nerdy phenomenon. And that is because we are programmed to want to avoid anything our monkey mind deems as uncomfortable because uncomfortable is different and different is scary. This should not come as a surprise.
However, the things that make you feel this profound feeling of discomfort are different then the things that make your boyfriend uncomfortable or your sister or your bestie. And that is because of something even deeper than your monkey mind.
The stories and characters that we are attracted to are the ones that appeal to something within us that connects with their journey. So when something happens to those characters or in their stories that hits a part of us that is feeling the same pain or is traumatized by the same concepts that we are seeing visually it can cause this visceral action of avoidance.
The world is a mirror inherently, the things that you are attracted to and the things that cause you discomfort reflect things about yourself that you like or that you don’t want to face necessarily. And at this point you might be thinking, hmmmm, what shows have I stopped watching because of this?
Well, as you drudge up those memories, let me elaborate. Sometimes, as soon as you think of an example of this occurring you can easily identify the reason. For example, if you perhaps stop watching something after the second to last episode, it could easily be because you fear endings or have had many very painful endings occur in your life and you associate endings with pain.
Other times, you might have to really think and dig for the reason for your avoidance. Like int the Seven Deadly Sins example I mentioned above, spoiler alert, I stopped watching when Diane lost her memories. It BOTHERED me A LOT. And for me this was because it reflected back to me my own fear of not being in control of my own thoughts. If you don’t know what I am talking about, watch it. You will get where I am coming from.
Now the beauty in this realization is that the journey the show or character takes can often mirror your healing journey as well. Which means, it can often be very comforting and actually help you to heal those wounds that you naturally want to avoid. So, continuing to adventure into the story can help you to see what things you can address in your life that will help you connect your own dots.
And make sure that you personalize this journey to yourself. You very well may have a different block to the same thing that your boyfriend does. But each time you hit that avoidance you have your own personal reason and own personal event or events, that caused that pain that you are avoiding. Its yours to own and yours to learn, so it is open to your own interpretations.
The characters and stories that we love have such a magnificent impact on our life but if viewed consciously can also empower us to impact our own lives. It is through stories that we connect and also through stories that exist. So take stock of the stories and characters that you love, why is it that you love them? What in you do you see in them? Or better yet, what part of their journey is reflected in you?
So watch the shows, absorb the books, and love the journey.