This week it’s time to return to ‘what we can learn from anime’. Over the weekend I caught up on one of my favourite anime’s Fairy Tail, and it had a very touching moment. Fairy Tail is an epic about a guild who’s members play an integral role in shaping the future of the land around them. Basically it is wacky, fun, and often very touching, but also has awesome powers, and amazing battles. It touches on themes of family, friendship, loss, and overcoming all odds. It was in a heartfelt scene near the end of the current season that Natsu, a main character of the show, teaches us what to do in times of sorrow.
The show is over 200 episodes, and since the beginning Natsu has been searching for Igneel, a father figure who raised him as a boy only to disappear
when Natsu was still young. In the last arc of the show Igneel finally reveals himself during an intense battle and is killed before he can truly reunite with Natsu. After the battle, Natsu, devastated, kneels before Igneel’s body, and we hear his ethereal voice speaking to Natsu. Igneel tells Natsu not to cry and asks “what do you do in times of sadness?” Natsu stands and through tearful eyes yells, “I’m gonna keep livin’” I’m gonna get stronger!..” the then lists his goals for what he wants to still achieve. “That’s right. Speak of the future. That is the power to live.” Replies Igneel. That exchange really spoke to me. When we are sad, or times are hard, too often we are focused on the past rather then looking to the future. There is nothing we can do about the past, but we can work towards a better future.
Two things come to mind when I think on sadness and depression. The first is a lack of mental health awareness and the ill-founded stigma that still lingers regarding these disorders. If you are showing signs of depression open up to someone and get help from a professional.Here is a link to check out if you think you may be depressed.
“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”- Brene Brown.
The second is a lack of resilience training. We are never really taught how to cope in times of sorrow, so lets take one tactic from Fairy Tail. Next time you are feeling down, grab a piece of paper or your phone and write down things you still want to do, achieve, or even what you are looking forward to. For a few moments purely focus on the future because as Igneel stated “that is the power to live.” Often times when I am feeling down I do this because I know that as I go through these feelings I am learning something and will come out the other side stronger than I was before. Future thinking and small steps forward will lead you out of sorrow. I will leave you with a quote from another awesome anime Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers:
“If you want to be strong, smile! He who can smile, even when he’s so sad that he wants to die, when it’s so painful that he wants to give it all up and run away, is the one who becomes strong. Smile more!”