Coach Beard stares Ted Lasso in the eyes. “Pain is like carbon monoxide. Expressing it to the person who hurt you is like opening a vent. Holding it in will poison you,” he tells him.
Profound as Shakespeare, the show demonstrates its depth once more. It’s the reason the internet buzzes each week with new discussions about its many layers.
This week’s episode is no different, asking us how do we react when we are angry, upset or hurt about something? Convinced that Ted ought to confront Nate who betrayed him, Coach Beard sets up the messaging at the start of the episode.
But it’s not Nate who Ted is upset with. It’s his ex-wife Michelle who he feels he needs to confront. And that’s how a sweet little comedy teaches us about managing our emotions and speaking up for ourselves in a positive way.
“I understand me saying this might be the wrong thing to do,” Ted says to his ex. “I just feel that not saying it, wouldn’t be the right thing either.”
And so he gets to say what he wants to express in a calm, careful way that is heard by Michelle. When we want to be heard, we are more likely to be successful if we stay calm and simply express our needs and feelings. Violence, by contrast, is not a useful tool, and of course, the show demonstrates that too.
When the team learns that it was Nate who tore up their precious ‘Believe’ sign, they are angry about it and decide to lash out physically on the West Ham team who Nate is now coaching. It gets them nowhere but shows us neatly that we have a choice in how we react when things hurt and upset us. We can behave in a calm but assertive manner as Ted does with his ex, or we can let our rage turn violent, like the team does.
Anger is “an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage,” according to Charles Spielberger, PhD, a psychologist who specializes in the study of anger. When you get angry, your heart rate and blood pressure go up, as do the levels of your energy hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline.
Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive—not aggressive—manner is the healthiest way to overcome it, he says. To do this, you have to learn how to make clear what your needs are, and how to get them met without hurting others. It means being respectful of yourself and others.
People who can’t control their rage, end up with their rage controlling them. That’s when it turns destructive and comes at a personal cost.
And that’s the genius of Ted Lasso. Never preachy, always considered, it shows us, in Ted’s own words that we’re all ‘works in progmess’. (sic).
Lucy Broadbent is the author of What Would Ted Lasso Do? How Ted’s Positive Approach Can Help You, which is available on Amazon here.
Ted Lasso is streaming on Apple TV+