I confess, my husband and I still watch Frasier reruns on television at night, and though we know many of the episodes by heart, we continue to enjoy them.
What is fun about the show is that we are witnessing people who are human, and delightfully flawed. We laugh as we identify with them, and therefore, laugh at ourselves in the process. Many of the episodes are not only funny but educational as well.
The video above is from one of those shows with a very poignant message. It is the one where Frasier is going to be receiving his ‘life time achievement award.’ In spite of this honor, however, he is struggling with feelings of emptiness.
On the surface of things, his feelings don’t make any sense because by all accounts he should be feeling excited about receiving this award but he doesn’t. So, he decides to visit his old mentor and they explore what could be causing his discontent.
As this video clip begins, Frasier returns to the office after initially receiving an interpretation from his mentor that he didn’t like, and tries to defend what he thinks the real problem actually is; a mid-life crisis.
That leads to a counseling exercise where Frasier is instructed to be both the psychiatrist and the person calling into his radio program. Two empty chairs are used as he attempts to counsel and diagnoses himself. During this revealing conversation, his is instructed to keep dealing with the feelings and not bury himself in psychiatric exercises.
In the full episode, it was powerful to learn that he felt empty because he had created distance with people by intellectually connecting with them instead of emotionally.
It is tempting to explain away and bury our own feelings underneath intellectual explanations in order to ‘fix’ ourselves as well. A lot of us feel it is unacceptable to feel empty or upset because we shouldn’t feel that way, with all we have to be grateful for.
It is true, that gratitude is a beautiful way to go through life and we do have much to be grateful for, including our feelings. They are definitely a wonderful gift, and contain a lot of good information if we listen to them.
They can bring us healthy awareness, if we allow ourselves to have them, not judge them and express them.
For the Frasier character, by realizing he has kept himself at an emotional distance to avoid being vulnerable with others; he can now use this awareness to make some different choices as he goes forward.
Funny how a comedy can make such good sense!
Try the empty chair exercise as it is done in the video, (preferably with a guide) and see what revealing and helpful information you experience from it.