Although it has been off the air for twelve years, my favorite show of all time still enthralls, teaches and delights me. Many people, myself included, initially ignored this show because of the premise : A blonde, sixteen year old girl kicking demon butt and saving the world every week. Buffy deals with feminism, girl power and being a role model for young women. I have yet to read anything about Buffy as it relates to personal and societal transformation. A while ago, I wrote about how Joss Whedon and this character saved me for homelessness. Whedoneverse and its most memorable character taught me five wonderful life lessons.
Friends make life Sweet
Friends really are everything. Friends that depend on your insight and clear thinking (love based) are rare and should be treasured. Most of us stumble through life and are lucky if we manage to get one or two who fit this description. It is imperative that we have loved ones around (a second chosen family) who believes in and honestly deals with us on a consistent basis. Friends of this nature enhance our lives and allow us to do the same for them.
Building Self Esteem is an ongoing Battle
Self Esteem is earned not given. Many of Buffy’s battles where waged during a not “so great” personal battle. By facing what life brings with a couple of great friends anything is possible. We can and should have the support we need to take on the world. Taking on things that menace and intimidate(recovering from the death of a loved one, losing a job, turning a financial disaster around) requires a dose of self esteem. If you wage and win one battle you might feel lucky or relieved. Waging ten life or death struggles and winning repeatedly makes you feel great about your abilities and the capacity to take on larger and deadlier foes.
Standing up to Life is Difficult and Necessary
With friends by your side and self esteem, life will test you repeatedly. Every episode of Buffy starts the same way, she loses a major battle. She then turns to friends and past successes to remind herself that she is more than her most recent failure. It is easy to walk away from life’s challenges and justifiably state that we have done enough, have nothing to prove and are too weary to take on one more battle. When you discover how truly capable, resilient and powerful you are, you become brave by admitting that you have had both success and failure and survived and learned from both.
Healthy Egos mean you are great and should be recognized for your Abilities
Remembering our greatness is also about understanding that we all have special gifts that can and will change the world. We may not have super human strength, cute outfits and hot boyfriends or the physical ability to defeat evil and prevent multiple apocalypses and that is ok. We have something that if honed, respected and adhered to can give us a place of power and prestige in our personal corners of the world. Basking in our own greatness means that we will seek out opportunities to use and be challenged with and by our skills and talents. Changing the world starts with changing ourselves. Changing ourselves means rethinking how we see ourselves.
All people screw up and require understanding
Inviting change means accepting that people(in all their humanity) screw up. Monsters, villains and humans taught me that humanity often disappoints, omits truths and causes all sorts of problems despite their love and concern for each other. Redemption and discussions about how to make better life choices allow everyone to grow from their mistakes and continue to support one another without grudges and mistrust.
The role of men is changing in the 21st century. Want to keep up? Get the best stories from The Good Men Project delivered straight to your inbox, here.