A traumatic event that affects your family balance can be incredibly hard to bear. Getting through these events can be challenging especially when you feel like you are burdening others around you with your struggles. This reminds me a lot of a story about a boy who lost his bother at a young age and made action out of his anger and grief for losing his brother. The movie is titled Brother Bear. There is a lot to be learned from Brother Bear. Let’s us look through Kenai’s eyes at how anger can, and grief can change your perception.
Kenai Losing his Brother
The story starts out with three brothers on the way to a ceremony for their youngest brother to receive his totem. The totem symbolizes a boy becoming a man. The totem Kenai receives is a bear and he is a perplexed as he does not fully understand the essence of the bear nature and how it relates to him becoming the man he is supposed to be. Anyway, after the ceremony the brothers go to check the tree, they hung their fish catch is right before the ceremony. Once they realize a bear had dragged away their fish the youngest wants to find the bear and the others follow him to protect him. They find Kenai, the youngest brother, and the bear on a glacier fighting. In efforts to protect Kenai as the ice begins to break the oldest brother, Sitka, risks his life to push the bear from the glacier into the lake below. To his demise Sitka passed away while the bear freed itself from the water.
Losing their eldest brother sent Kenai and Denahi into a deep state of grief and anger. They both shut down and needed help finding a way to build their relationship and lives with one another now that their brother was gone. As much as Kenai blamed himself for what happened to his brother he wanted to blame the bear. His anger and grief made him believe that without the bear in the picture this would have never happened.
Kenai’s Change of Perception
Once Kenai has decided that things would not have been the same without the bear he decides to seek revenge on the bear. He hunts the bear in pursuit of justice. But when he is faced with the opportunity to take this bear’s life and chooses to do so his existence changes. Kenai then turns into a bear himself. In a confused state Kenai knows this was the plan of the spirits and that the only way he can become human again is by reaching the northern lights.
Along the way he meets a bear cub. This cub, Koda, seems immature and very stubborn which is very reflective of Kenai himself. As Kenai and Koda continue to venture to the northern lights with one another, Kenai learns that Koda is the cub of the bear he killed in revenge for his brother. He learns the cub is all alone and has been searching for her. He hears from Koda about the hunter that followed them the day Kenai’s brother died, and Kenai realizes Koda is talking about him. Koda expresses how scared he was and what his mother felt she had to do to protect him. Kenai begins to realize the how anger and grief can change your perception. He sees how killing the bear not only hurt Koda, but it did not bring his brother back.
How Kenai Ignites Healing
Once Kenai realizes what he has done his guilt begins eating away at him. He knows he has to tell Koda the truth. Meanwhile his other brother Denahi becomes overcome with the sames feelings that took over Kenai and he believe the bear that is now Kenai killed Kenai and Sitka and is seeking revenge. Not only does Kenai have to explain to Koda that he was the hunter that took away his mom, but that the man hunting them is his brother that is overcome with anger and grief for both him and their oldest brother. When Kenai begins explaining this to Koda he is left to relive the same grief and anger that he felt when his brother left. He realizes to truly earn the trust of Koda and show him who he truly is he needs to reach the northern lights before his brother Denahi finds him.
When Kenai finally reaches the northern lights and becomes himself again he is able to see the spirit of his brother and Koda’s brother again. Sitka speaks to him and Kenai knows in order to truly heal he needs to care for Koda. Here he finally realizes what his totem truly meant and that nothing in life is by accident. Everything has a purpose and you may not be free from hurt but you are meant to learn something to grow and help others. Kenai becomes the man he was meant to be even if that means becoming a bear to care for Koda. Denahi can witness everything and recognizes what Kenai must do to heal their family.
What Can We Learn from Brother Bear?
Losing someone is painful, as well as going through many traumatic experiences, but recognizing it is something that cannot be changed is the first step. Acting through your anger and grief could have bigger consequences then you will realize at the time. Kenai had to learn this the hard way. Recognize early what thoughts are developed out of your own inner grief and anger and seek help to change those thoughts to actions that support your wellbeing as well as those around you. Never be afraid or ashamed to ask for help, we recognize how hard going through certain life events can be. We do not want you to feel alone in these events or feel like a burden to anyone else. Remember that as scary as it seems life does go on. You will be able to find happiness again and learn to share it with those that have passed on.
A self-described geek, Maria Laquerre-Diego is a CEO and Owner who is committed to increasing access to mental health services and breaking down the stigma surrounding therapy services. As a therapist turned CEO, Maria has developed a unique perspective when it comes to mental health and the barriers surrounding mental health treatment. Influenced by her time at New Mexico State University in the Family and Consumer Science department, and University of New Hampshire’s Marriage and Family Therapy department, Maria has turned her dedication to giving back and supporting future generations of therapists. In addition to supporting mental health providers, Maria takes an active role in addressing the continued stigma of mental health services through the use of pop culture – everything from movies and television shows to superheroes and Disney characters. Maria has spoken about mental health at several local events, has served as an officer on professional boards and has provided training to clinicians all over the country while maintaining her and her family’s roots as Aggies! Outside of the office, Maria can be found spending time with her family and loved ones, exploring the world through travel, and creating cosplays for herself, her husband and their two little ones. Maria is always happy to talk about Star Wars, Marvel and mental health and can be contacted through her practice website www.anewhopetc.org