13 Lessons I learned from watching 13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why, Netflix, lessons learned, Zach Dempsey, Hannah Baker, Clay Jensen, Justin Foley

13 Reasons Why, Netflix, lessons learned, Zach Dempsey, Hannah Baker, Clay Jensen, Justin Foley

Not really a Netflix series fan here coz I barely have time to binge watch all of them but when 13 Reasons Why’s first season came out, my friends were hooked and so am I. Thus, the first ever Netflix series I have ever watched.

If you still haven’t watched any of the episodes, you may not know what exactly I am talking about. You may also read along spoilers and sneak peeks about the story as you scroll through my post so don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.

Nevertheless, this series, although short but heavy, left a few lessons in my head.

1. Not everyone can be as nice as you are

You may be the kind of person who apparently gives everything, sacrifice, and compromise. You are a people person and you think of other’s welfare more than yours. Good for you, but not everyone around you is created the same. And you can never expect them to be. And that’s the bad nature of being kind, to be able to give everything you have regardless of nothing in return. But it shouldn’t stop you there. Be kind, still.

2. God moves in the most extraordinary ways

Referring to the last episode of season 2, it was a touching twist to know that the Jensen family is adopting this homeless kid, Justin Foley. I mean, who could’ve predicted it would happen in the entire storyline? Clay wasn’t even close to Justin and they weren’t on the same circle either. It’s just adorable how they end up being stepbrothers in the end.

3. We all have a Hannah phase

No matter how much we all hate her, love her and annoyed with her oversensitivity and flirtatious approach, we can’t deny but compare ourselves to her. Com’on, we all have been teenagers (or currently in, or about to be). We may not be as liberated as the students in Liberty High but sure we have experienced getting huge crushes on hot guys in the school, got rejected and craved for attention. We all have that phase where we are still developing our confidence or identifying who we are or trying to figure out where we’re going.

4. Intention over wrongdoing

If there’s one thing the trial has proved most of all, is that mistakes doesn’t necessarily define your whole-being. We commit mistakes everyday and even if the whole world (including ourselves) are convinced that it’s never right, we failed to accept the truth that most of them have reasons behind and the bad outcomes weren’t really part of the plan. The trial revolved around the characters being blamed for the possible contribution to Hannah’s suicide. But as they attest each of their sides, you may really notice that their mistakes weren’t really intentional. And while we fail to notice, I guess it applies in reality. We are offended by how people around us throwing shade almost every day of our lives and end up getting pissed off to the world but we never realize the reason behind doing it. Zach Dempsey’s situation for example on episode 6 where we all went giggly over those hot guy moves. Clearly, we can really see that there was a thing going on with Hannah and Zach during that time but they cut it off short. Not because Hannah is overreacting, not because Zach is an asshole, but Zach just wanted to protect Hannah. He is placed in a situation where he is friends with the greatest bullies in school even before he met Hannah, that will eventually harm their relationship. He knew for sure that when everyone knows about them, Hannah will be the target instead of him.

Obviously, most characters have made mistakes that may end up getting worse in the future, linking to more mistakes of others. But as you see it, it wasn’t their intention to hurt anyone in the first place. And in order for us to have a better world, we need to revise our understanding that the people who made wrong to us may not really want to hurt us, hence we fail to accept it.

5. It doesn’t mean Zach don’t love Hannah any less

Referring to Zach’s part also in Episode 6, Zach was just trying to protect Hannah, in ways she clearly cannot understand or worse, misinterpret. And while we are quick to judge that, we often miss the reasons behind it. Sometimes the person actually cares for us in ways he cannot show and we need not to see. Our questions left unanswered and we often assume things incorrectly.

6. Our parents are always there

Common for most Asian families but I’m amazed how Western culture portrayed that families should bind together during hard times. It’s good to see how parents try to reach out with their kids (especially teenagers) and talk to them from time to time. We all need to someone to talk to whether during happy moments or hard times and while we often deny it, our parents are one of the few people who can understand us the most.

7. We tend to find out things on our own and most often, we get disappointed, and that’s okay

There are a lot of times when we tend to figure things on our own and when we fail, we lose hope. In most episodes, we see Clay as the one who exhausts all the means to finds justice for Hannah’s death or even answers. And he often ends up being disappointed. But that’s okay, there are things in life that no matter how hard we try, we are bound to fail. And that’s not because we are a failure, but we are meant to learn a lesson, and it teaches us how to be stronger.

8. Justice isn’t really for everyone

Welcome to the reality. It may be hard to succumb but it is, and the sooner we accept it, the faster we get to move on with our lives. We may not get what we want at the end of the day, there are better things ahead.

9. Long-term friends can sometimes turn out to be toxic

Just because we spent years with a person, doesn’t mean it won’t end. There are certain ties that we need to cut off. And spending more years with them isn’t enough reason to stay with the toxic relationship. Sometimes the new friends we find are even better for us. Or worse, make us realize that we deserve it.

10. An end is a beginning. Hannah’s death is a turning point for a budding friendship

Is it just me or this is one of the most unforeseen twists in the story. Who would have thought they will all unite for Hannah’s justice? Despite their differences, they held hands for the sake of saving everyone becoming Hannah.

11. Those littlest blueprints have the biggest impact

And while this is often true in movies with mystery storylines, we still often neglect the littlest details that affect the whole story.

12. Hannah’s story isn’t the main story

It is everyone’s. We all see ourselves in some parts of the movie. Not literally because we also wanted a suicide or being bullied, but at some point in our lives, we were weak and helpless. We are clueless and too naive to decide when confronted with worst situations. But at the same time, we are strong. Strong enough to fight for what we think is right. Strong enough to be alone and keep the pain inside.

13. We are on our own

At the end of the day, no one’s gonna save us but ourselves. Who’s gonna do it anyway? Rest if you’re tired but there’s no room for giving up. If you’re reading this, I hope you can find time to reach out to a friend, a colleague, a family member or a stranger and tell them that the world has better plans for them.

-Cham