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Avatar: The Last Airbender is a favorite show of mine that I find myself watching over and over again. There are so many things to learn from the show and the growth of the characters throughout the series is inspiring. One of my favorite characters is Uncle Iroh. Throughout the series, Uncle Iroh continually gives troubled Prince Zuko advice. This is necessary as Zuko makes some pretty questionable decisions due to anger and pain from unresolved trauma.
Below are some of my favorite words of wisdom from Uncle Iroh.
This quote from Iroh really is like a punch to the gut, but in a good way. I spent years pursing things that I didn’t want to because people told me I had to. I spent years doing track even though I hated it and the sport caused me serious anxiety. I spent 3 years of college in a major I couldn’t stand because people told me it was a good career path.
At the end of the day, you are the one who lives with the decisions you make. You can create your own destiny. You do not have to pursue a destiny that someone has forced on you. I promise you, you will be miserable.
The key takeaway from this is it is okay to ask for help. It might seem weak to ask for help, but there are just some situations and things that are just too heavy for one person to deal with on their own. In the past, I was that person that never wanted to ask for help because I didn’t want people thinking I wasn’t capable and I also didn’t want them thinking that I am a burden. I now realize it is okay to ask for help and it is also okay to accept help from others when they offer. You do not have to do everything alone.
In the series, Zuko spent so much of his time being angry and taking it out on the world around him. But really, he did have light and peace inside of him, it just took a lot of growth for him to see it and use it.
I used to let my depression and past traumas consume me. I was angry at the world and honestly, there was a bit of comfort in the darkness because it was really all I knew. It took me years to finally let go of the anger and the pain of what happened to me. But, in the process, I was able to let out the light and peace inside of me.
You might feel like you’ve lost your light permanently, but I promise you it’s still in there. It might take some time to find it, but it will come back.
When you’re in a dark place mentally, it’s easy to feel stuck there. It’s hard to imagine life without the weight of your depression and anxiety on your shoulders or whatever other stressors you might have. But, there are better things ahead, you just have to keep moving.
There were so many times in my life where I felt trapped and consumed by my mental illness. There were times where I was ready to give up and just call it quits on life. Eventually, I did get to a better place. Things aren’t perfect, but I am not where I once was. If I had just stopped because I couldn’t see things getting better, I would have missed out on so much.
You have so much more strength than you know. Allow yourself to have hope, even when things seem grim. Hope is what keeps us going even when things seem like they’ll never get better. We all have the inner strength to give ourselves hope.
These are just some of the wise things that Uncle Iroh said throughout “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” If you haven’t seen the show, I recommend you go watch it!
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