There’s a recurring theme that I’ve noticed in several of the anime that I have watched over the years. The main characters always seem to have an internal source of power that can never run dry. Digimon always have a new digivolution to reach, Goku can always reach a new level of Super Saiyan, Beyblades that should have stopped spinning a long time ago are suddenly spinning at full speed again, etc. If you never watched those anime as a kid, then you probably don’t know what any of those words mean, but it basically boils down to this: anime characters can always keep going. They never have to stop. Whether they are fueled by their emotions, friendship, or by sheer willpower, they are unstoppable. Many anime portray this by showing the protagonist being dealt a lethal blow and facing certain defeat. Then, right before the villain is able to claim victory, the lead character simply “decides” that he has to keep going. He can’t let his friends down, so he has to get back up in order to save them. And he does. Somehow, despite all of his injuries he gets back up and defeats his enemy. This message is not unique to anime as it occurs in other media, and is a common theme in our society.
I’ve been thinking recently about what we can gain from this message and how it can effect us in the real world. On one hand, it is inspiring to watch our heroes keep pushing forward despite the odds. It can inspire us to face the obstacles in our lives head on, no matter how difficult they may appear. We’ve all had days where we have to keep going. For example, there have been times when I’ve had to go a few days on minimal sleep in order to complete a project for a class. And many parents push themselves to limits that they never thought they could reach in order to care for their children. In fact, many times it is only by trying to push beyond our limits that we realize we are much stronger than we ever thought we were.
On the other hand, however, we have to be careful not to expect too much from ourselves. As much as we would like to think that we are unstoppable, the truth is that as humans we have very real limitations. I can function while sacrificing the sleep I need, but if I keep it up for too long toxins will begin to build up in my body in addition to several other harmful effects. Sometimes this is necessary, but other times we expect too much from ourselves because we feel like “I can handle it.” There have been times in my life when I’ve reached out to others for help, whether with school or in my personal life and I’ve been asked “Why didn’t you ask for help sooner?” I’ve gotten better at managing this problem as I’ve gotten older, but there is still that voice in the back of my head that says “I need to be able to do it by myself…I SHOULD be able to do it by myself.”
And that’s where I think the danger is. It is important for us to have the discipline to push ourselves harder and to keep at it when the going gets tough. But every good thing has a dark, twisted side that can rear its ugly head if we aren’t careful. It’s important for us to remember that there is no shame is asking for help when we need it. We also need to remember that we should rely on God more than on our own abilities. Trusting in His love for us takes a lot of the pressure off of our shoulders. He is the only one Who actually has limitless power so we should rely on Him if we want to have the strength to complete the tasks He asks of us. There is nothing wrong with having confidence in the abilities and strengths He has gifted us with, but keep in mind that we have very real limits and it is only with God’s help that all things are possible. He has promised that He will be there for us. The only question is whether or not we will let Him help us.
I’d like to thank my cousin Cherrie Ali for encouraging me to keep writing. I highly recommend reading her blog. You can read it here: possibilityandlight.com