I’m a little late in discovering the Ted Lasso school of human behaviour. Not being one influenced by the multitude of awards bestowed upon the actors and writers of the show, I finally paid attention to the softened voices and smiles of kindred-spirited friends as they talked about the latest episode. The impact of the stories and the characters and scripts, recounted along with the messages imprinted as the credits rolled, piqued my curiosity. And gave me a sense of hope that Hollywood might be delivering an understated series about reviving the goodness inherent in all of us.
During a dismal rainy afternoon, I settled in to watch the first episode. Taking a break for a quick bite of dinner, I managed to make it through most of season one before yielding to my need for sleep. I was enwrapped in a losing football team, a cruel divorce, a motley pair of coaches, and numerous raw and immature demonstrations of ego, talent and sexuality. I spent the following day, which happened to be too sunny to justify screen time, pondering the doctrine of Ted Lasso.
I was initially skeptical of Ted’s seemingly simple and naive optimism. Ironically, his eternally positive attitude was mentioned by his wife as a contributing factor to the dissolution of his marriage. However, as his character unfolded, and he faced challenges by ego-maniacal young men, a duplicitous and bitter boss, and the headwinds of being an outsider, my skepticism morphed into respectful awe. Accompanied by a surge of peace and well-being, my insides were smiling.
I am a fan of the number three. I see it as a powerful odd number. Three candles, better than two or four, proclaim my decorator friends and design magazines. Three children, my own asymmetrical family. Three Christmas trees, my beautiful festive forest. And so it made sense to summarize Ted’s ambitious trifecta of human potential; connection, ego reduction, and radical kindness. In my morning writing, as I unpacked the lessons, examined the dialogue, and basked in the aftermath of each chapter, I found morsels of wisdom throughout the series. I couldn’t help but notice the parallel themes Ted Lasso tackled in his new leadership role with those so many of us encounter in our own lives.
When I am disconnected from myself I am avoiding feelings that I need to own and process. I am avoiding and resisting truths. I am untethered. The vicious cycle of doing and detaching spins faster and faster. In my younger years, my oversized ego kept me fuelled. And apart. I thought doing something nice for someone else was a means of gaining praise. Or to get something back that I wanted or needed.
I wholeheartedly agree with the teachings of Ted Lasso. My schooling in the principles of relationships, right-sizing the self, and learning the art of generosity and giving back came gradually and imperfectly through sobriety and recovery. And the classes are never over.
Building self-awareness, reaching out to others, and admitting vulnerability creates connection for me. Noticing my ego-padding words and behaviours, my critical comparing and measuring affords me the opportunity to be humble and practice acceptance. I have learned that random acts of kindness, sensitivity and generosity bring me inner joy. No strings attached.
The Ted Lasso series is an affirmation of the resilience of humans. Of the potential for all of us to grow and become better citizens of humanity. Of the power of kindness to build bridges and soften hard edges.
At least, that is my experience.