Lessons Learned from This is Us

posted in: Grief Recovery 0

We are watching and loving the series, THIS IS US. The drama has been brilliantly written and acted. If you have not watched it I highly recommend it!!! It must be watched in order and the first season is found on Netflicks.

My name is Tammy and as a coach I am always looking to learn and understand. I continuously search for methods of expanding my current knowledge and for different ways of demonstrating this learning to my clients.  So much of the plotline to our lives has been dictated to us when we were young. Too young to cognitively decide if these were beliefs we wanted to embrace about ourselves or the world around us. The acquired misunderstandings, pain, rejection, loneliness, and perceptions can write a script to a story much different than the one we would have chosen for ourselves. After time we come to believe we are victims of fate rather than co-creators of our reality.

THIS IS US is a not only a vehicle for learning but a great platform for discussing topics, that to date, have been buried or labeled untouchable. There are so many lessons hidden within the scripts of this series. Here are six lessons I have identified.

Associative Memories

The series demonstrates how experiences of our childhood can be so easily misinterpreted because we are young and unable to cognitively process what we were learning. We embrace and carry these associative memories as a part of our identity without questioning if they were true for us.

For example things our parents said to us could be misinterpreted through our personal filters and personal bias, embraced from those around us. Each misunderstanding builds upon the next until we are no longer able to simply the hear the words from our parents without a hidden meaning. We can miss our parent’s positive intentions.

Our personal sense of self-worth can be shaped by how our parents, siblings, or friends valued the time they did or did not spend with us. How they communicated with us. How they showed appreciation. How they disciplined us. As a child we assume that those in power are providing us with truth and right or wrong we accept it as truth. We can adapt a negative view of ourselves by the way others treated and spoke to us.

Unresolved Grief

Unresolved grief can definitely limit our capacity for happiness. Grief is almost always about things we wished had been better, different, or more; unrealized hopes, dreams, and expectations; and finally not feeling we have been heard or have missed the opportunity to say what we needed to say. The show demonstrates clearly how grief accumulates and if we don’t go through the pain how it can interfere with living a fulfilled life.

Wounds from childhood can become the blueprint on which we build our lives. Without addressing the pain it accumulates until the pain becomes too much. In order to present a vision that we are fine we become busy and distracted in order not to feel. The greater the pain, the greater the distraction.


Much of healing from grief is forgiving the actions of another. Forgiveness is not about right or wrong, it is not about letting the other person off the hook or minimizing their actions. Forgiveness is about choosing not to let someone else hurt you anymore.

The characters demonstrate the price of not forgiving. The characters also demonstrate the benefits of forgiveness and of expressing emotions and understanding that forgiveness sets us free of pain that has the potential to destroy us.

Sacrifice and Appreciation

It reminds us that our parents were young once. It shows the sacrifices couples makes for each other and for their children and the importance of discussing these decisions with honestly and appreciation for what the other has given up. Relationships always involve two or more people and open and honest communication builds trust on which a solid foundation can be formed.

Childhood Dreams

We knew what we wanted to be as a child. Childhood dreams can come true but they may not happened in the timeframe we expected or appear exactly as we had planned. Life is about taking the opportunity when it presents itself, without self-judgement. It is about pushing through doubt and insecurity to follow our heart. Sometimes we must give up what we have to get what we want.


Finally, THIS IS US demonstrates that successful parenting is a partnership. It takes two to create a child or to make the decision to adopt or foster and it takes more than one person to carry the load and responsibility.

No one does it alone and it a reminder that single parents need support too.

I am thoroughly enjoying this show and I’m sure there other lessons I still have to recognize but I wanted to share to date what I have noticed. If you have ever thought you have no control over the direction your life I encourage you to watch this program. Our lives are simply a series of small, accumulative steps, and the direction can be changed at any time.  We must become aware of the direction we are traveling and decide where we would like to go instead.

Our experiences are just that. Experiences. As adults it is our reasonability to revisit these associative memories and clean house. Throw away what no longer serves us and embrace the messages that are OUR truth.

Our lives are created by our thoughts, emotions, and habits. Once there is an awareness we are able, with support and encouragement, to consciously shift the experiences we have. While I have touched on six of the lessons, by watching the series you will be able to form you own conclusions of how, if at all, the storylines correlate with your own. I will not go into any more detail for I want you to form your own conclusions.

About the Author

Tammy has spent over 30 years in the field of education and as a Certified Coach Tammy teaches individuals to challenge and conquer their limiting beliefs and insecurities to create the life of their choosing. As a Grief Recovery Specialist Tammy understands that unresolved grief can limit an individual’s capacity for happiness and is gifted at supporting individuals through the pain and isolation cause by an emotional loss, of any kind, to a place of happiness they believed no longer existed.

Website: www.intuitiveunderstanding.com
Email: tdadams@rogers.com