Life Lessons Learned With “The Walking Dead”
By Viral Awesome Staff
An apocalyptic situation strikes, turning the world into a very brutal variant of the Twilight Zone. Except, instead of pig-faced nurses smoking in hospitals, zombies are eating people, and humans are reduced back to their hunting and gathering roots. When watching and reading The Walking Dead, you might find yourself garnering more from every chapter than what you immediately see. In fact, there are many life lessons to be learned from The Walking Dead.
People are the problem, and they are the solution.
The “walkers,” the name the story has given the zombies that plague this post-apocalyptic world, may be frightening and vicious, but 9 times out of 10, they are not the real threat. It is the people. Unlike the mindless walking dead, the living people in the television show are complex. Many of them have ulterior motives that are not easily discovered—and oftentimes, the discovery happens at the cost of someone’s life. Cruelty is a human creation. Cynicism, deception, and avarice are not displayed by the zombies, but by the people.
However, while the fan base sees horrifying acts—such as Negan bludgeoning beloved cast members to death—there are moments that also warm our hearts. Since the first season of The Walking Dead, many have seen a group of survivors banding together to overcome impossible odds. Despite the darkness, there are always people out there who can be trusted and loved. Even when your biological family is gone, others out there will fill up your heart.
Look for the best in everyone.
One of the admirable traits of Rick, Michonne, Glenn, and Sasha, amongst others, is the ability to see the good in everyone. Despite everything that has happened to the cast, many of them continue to give those they encounter a chance to prove themselves. The fan base falls in love with these characters, because they show the warm of kindness of humanity.
While an overall lack of negativity bias might be perceived as many as naivety, we would all do well to remember that compassion and kindness gets us farther than nastiness and selfishness. Fearing the world and the people in it only puts you at a disadvantage.
Moreover, using Daryl as an example, being able to trust in the goodness of others often brings out their strengths. Rick and the others gave Daryl a sense of belonging that he did not have as a loner in the beginning of the story. Overtime, Daryl adjusted, left the shadow of his older brother, and became one of the strongest members in the group.
Abraham Ford said it best: “You find some strong, like-minded comrades and you stay stuck together like wet on water. We need people. The more the better. We need each other, partner. Even with all that gear on your shoulder, you won’t last a night. Not by yourself.”
Do not lose your moral compass.
As Daryl put it, “The longer they’re out there, the more they become what they really are.”
The ability to judge between right and wrong and act on that is what separates good from evil in The Walking Dead. Sometimes, characters falter on what is right, like saving someone from certain death, even though that person may deserve it, or vice versa. When people steer away from the azimuth in their hearts and minds, they become much like the walkers—devouring anything in their paths to satisfy the need to survive. That is why there is such a difference between places like the Kingdom and Alexandria from where the Saviors operate.
Fear, uncertainty, and hatred are emotions that, when coddled, turn people into something less than animals. Rick and his team, however, give viewers and readers constant hope that goodness can prevail.
Still, even Rick loses his way sometimes, because he is human. No one can deny how bad-ass those parts of the show are.
Emotions are complicated, but it is okay to feel.
“Anger makes you stupid. Stupid gets you killed,” Michonne said to Tyreese back in season four.
The broad range of emotions displayed by the characters of The Walking Dead have proven time and time again that shutting down what makes us human is a one-way ticket to unfortunate ends. Trauma, for example, is one thing that The Walking Dead has portrayed exceptionally well. Some characters will eventually break from the stress. Others wind up going psychotic, like the Governor. A couple may be traumatized by the loss of loved ones, like Maggie, but they find solace in those around them. For a while anyway.
Upon the group’s arrival to Alexandria, Sasha and Carol both display examples of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While Carol only sees reprieve in running away, trying to remove the burden of having killed others, like Lizzie. Sasha, on the other hand, finds a strength inside to keep living on for those in her past that did not make it.
Yet, one thing that calls out to everyone is that, despite everything the characters have gone through, such as witnessing brutal deaths, deception, and injuries that should have been fatal, they continue to dwell with some form of hope. Though society is nowhere near utopia, these people try to build lives by using the connections they have made with one another. It is no wonder that viewers feel a sense of anger, discontent, and upset when facets of their achievements are unjustly stripped away.
You are stronger and braver than you think.
In the end, the main lesson that The Walking Dead teaches us is that courage and bravery are not something many of us are born with. These two traits are something that must be summoned from some of the deepest, darkest pits of our souls. Only when you are down on your hands and knees, praying for the strength to continue on and survive, does something inside you click.
Many of the characters find themselves compelled to think and act in ways that they might not have done had there never been a zombie apocalypse. Take it from Glenn, who once yelled, “I’m supposed to be delivering pizzas.” But then we see him fighting off zombies, saving people from certain death, and strategizing plans.
When you think about it, The Walking Dead is the perfect device for developing empathy towards our fellow man. The heart-wrenching situations we find our favorite characters in aids us in tapping into our emotions. The Walking Dead may even indirectly aid some people in opening up about their own experiences. Many of us may never face a zombie apocalypse, but thousands of people every day fight for their lives in some way. You may not think you are going to survive, yet you do.
Apart from a bizarre interest in zombies and dystopian worlds, The Walking Dead has honed in on humanity’s desire to watch others fight for survival and succeed. Many life lessons can thus be gleaned from the show, such as empathy, looking for the good in others, and how emotions and morality are what separates us from the walkers. So keep on cheering for Rick and company during the next season too.