February 15, 2017

What Soap Operas Have Taught Me About Life

I’m dramatic AF. Longtime readers know this, close friends and family will also agree. I can make a mountain out of a molehill and turn a regular conversation into a ‘come to Jesus’ moment.

Because of my flair for dramatics, I have a pension for television shows who love over the top drama and angst. It’s why I’ve had such a long love/hate relationship with soap operas. For someone who loves to see drama played out on the screen as much as I do, soap operas give quench that thirst.

Great soap operas have been a companion to me for the past 15 years or so. I’ve had super couples to root for, villains to hate, storylines that made me throw my shoe at the television screen and love that promised a lifetime. While soap operas are among the most over-exaggerated offerings TV has to offer, it actually serves as quite the learning tool. I recently watched a TED talk by Kate Adams about the larger than life lessons she learned from soap operas and it got me to thinking.

When I think back on all of my years watching soap operas, I realized that it actually has been quite the teacher. So in honor that, here are three things soap operas have taught me about life:

 

Love is fickle but when you find the one, it’s worth it.

No super couple in soap opera history has stayed together for the duration of the show. They get together and then break up just to do the same thing over again. People get in the way, mistakes are made, and your favorite couple is always left playing catch up for lost time. Throw betrayal, scandal, and a near death experience or two and you have described the soap opera super couple to a tee. However, when it comes to love in soap operas, the really great couples don’t stay apart for long. Look no further than my favorites: General Hospital’s Sonny and Carly Corinthos. They’ve been through the storm and back for a little over 17 years and they still find their way back to each other. Not convinced? How about the famous Luke and Laura Spencer or Days of Our Lives’  Bo and Hope Brady.

While no one wants to be in dysfunctional and heartbreaking relationships like this in real life, it does remind me that true love takes a lot of work. If you are in it for the long haul, you have to be willing to make sacrifices and you can’t be afraid of a little hard work.

 

Forgive; not for you but for them

As much as soap operas are about betrayal, secrets, crazy schemes, and love; it’s about forgiveness. For as much shit that goes down in these fictional towns, the characters have to forgive each other in order to co-exist. Yes, there are some people and families who are sworn enemies for a lifetime but that’s the exception and not the rule.  On General Hospital, Sonny Corinthos has forgiven Carly many times for the insane number of things she’s done including keeping the fact that he had a daughter a secret from him in 2004. Let’s not forget that he is indeed the infamous Sonny Corinthos so she, along with half of Port Charles, has had to forgive him for A LOT.  One Life to Lives Jessica Buchanan forgave Antonio after he broke up with her and lied in order to protect her, even though she didn’t know that at the time. Did I mention that his lies caused her to marry his half-brother?

Now I’m not saying that you need to just forgive and forget large discretions like our soap opera characters do. What I am saying is that soap operas have shown us that there are a lot of people worthy of forgiveness, especially if their true intentions were good. For the characters I mentioned above, they forgave because they wanted to and decided it was the right thing FOR THEM.

Soap operas have taught me that I can’t be too quick to judge, and too quick to leave someone behind. We all should make a conscious effort, when we’ve deemed necessary,  to evaluate a situation and determine if it or the person is worthy of forgiveness. If they are, forgive them; not for them but for YOU, so that you can be at peace.

 

Resurrection is possible

Now I know you saw this and your eyes probably bugged out and you think I may be a bit crazy. If soap operas have shown us anything, it’s that no one’s ever gone forever. Hell, they didn’t call Days of Our Lives’ Stefano DiMera the Phoenix for nothing. While our beloved soap opera characters would rise from the dead after a car accident, or explosion, or disease; real life doesn’t quite happen that way. However, resurrection is possible in the sense that we can always reinvent ourselves. We don’t have to stay in the same career, place, or mindset for too long. If something is getting to be too much for us, we have the freedom to leave. It’s never too late to reinvent the wheel, although we probably shouldn’t go to the extremes that soap characters do. It’s never too late to change your story, and resurrection (and redemption) is possible.

 

 

Soap operas aren’t for the easily overwhelmed or those who don’t like to deal with a lot of angst. It’s over the top, it’s showy, and can be slightly ridiculous. However, long time soap opera fans will attest that if you remain committed for even just a short period of time, these daytime shows can teach you quite a few things about life; even if it’s that you’ll never put up with half of the mess that they do.

 

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Natalya Muncuff

Natalya Muncuff

Natalya is an Account Manager by day and writer by night. When she is not adding to her enormous book collection or stationery supply, she is somehow keeping track of 55 television shows. You can follow her rantings and occasional sparks of brilliance on Twitter @NatalyaMuncuff.
Natalya Muncuff

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