On Monday night, many of us experienced the end of an era: the series finale of How I Met Your Mother. It was a highly anticipated evening, as we looked forward to seeing those first few moments between Ted and the eponymous Mother (finally revealed to be named Tracy McConnell), and learning what would happen among the other characters over the next 17 years. Although I only started watching the show a few years ago, I was quickly hooked, especially as protagonist Ted navigated his way through failed relationships and substantial life changes to which most viewers could relate.
Watching the series finale, I loved the first 50-some odd minutes. It was those last few that completely ruined the episode for me – and my perception of the series as a whole. Without diving into the spoilers, I felt personally betrayed by the writers that I had put my trust in over the years (as did many fans), and I was heartbroken by the way the writers decided to end such a beautiful story. But then I took a step back, remembering how much I had loved the series and the impact it had on me, and realized that in spite of those last few moments, the series still taught a lot of valuable lessons when we needed them the most.
This week, in honor of a show so many of us fell in love with, I would like to share five of those lessons that How I Met Your Mother taught.
5 Lessons Learned From How I Met Your Mother
1. You can choose to express your anger, or you can choose to let it go.
Throughout the show’s nine season run, Ted endures more than his fair share of #singleguyproblems. He says “I love you” to a woman (later revealed to be “Aunt Robin,” future girlfriend) on the first date. He falls for a married activist whose latest protest interferes heavily with his work. He even gets left at the altar on his wedding day! Ted has plenty of reason to feel downtrodden and even angry. But in one episode, when he has the chance to approach Stella (the woman who left him at the altar) to give her a piece of his mind, he ultimately decides against it, and lets his anger go. It is a teachable moment for many of us (not just his children) when Ted tells us that we can only move forward from the difficult situations in our lives by giving up on our grudges.
2. The ninth step to the Platinum Rule is coexistence.
In one episode, Ted’s friend Barney illustrates The Platinum Rule, which discourages people from dating coworkers, neighbors, etc. His eight “steps” to The Platinum Rule go through the different feelings the characters will encounter after engaging in one of these relationships, ending in awkwardness and negativity. But Ted creates a ninth step: coexistence. Sometimes, when a relationship ends, we are fortunate enough to separate ourselves from the other person, but sometimes, the circumstances require you to still cross paths on a regular basis. Ted’s ninth step teaches us to coexist – to smile and remember the good times, and much like the previous step, let go of any anger we once felt.
3. Suit up!
Ted’s friend Barney is well known for his catchphrases. One of his most famous? “Suit up!” While his catchphrases are generally silly, we can definitely all benefit from suiting up once in a while! I’ve always believed that it is important to present yourself well, and that includes investing in a good wardrobe.
4. Life turns up.
There are times in the series when Ted feels pretty hopeless when it comes to love and life. He is convinced that The One is not waiting for him in New York City, and he nearly leaves his entire life behind because of that. Little does he realize that the future mother of his children and love of his life lives only a few blocks away, that they have crossed paths before, and that their first moments together are just around the corner. It teaches us that we mustn’t give up on the things we want, and that things will get better when we least expect it. Ted spends the entire series searching for that love, but he does find it, and it is more than he ever imagined.
5. You may not appreciate the way something ends, but you can still learn from it.
This can be applied to many aspects of our lives: relationships, jobs, even series finales. 🙂 After the HIMYM finale aired last week, my friend Rachel and I were discussing the ending, and came to that very conclusion. The show may not have ended the way we preferred, but we still enjoyed the series as a whole, and learned a lot of valuable lessons over the years. Similarly, you may experience a difficult breakup, but that doesn’t mean the relationship wasn’t worthwhile — after all, you may still have positive memories, and you likely learned what you don’t want in your next relationship.
What are some of your favorite lessons/memories from How I Met Your Mother? Did you enjoy the finale? Share your thoughts in the comments section!