While the episode is titled “Toby” and we learn a lot about his background and childhood, Beth is also highlighted as a point of interest. Characters that were once seen as supporting roles to the Big Three are making their way to center stage. Both Beth and Toby have been seen as the anchor in their relationships. Toby has been Kate’s number one fan and helped her through her weight loss journey, conflict with her mom, and a miscarriage. Similarly, Beth has had to be the “strong one” as Randall has suffered from anxiety attacks and feeling lost as he searched from his father and where he belongs.
These people exist in our daily lives as well. These are the people you are convinced can weather any storm, always have an encouraging word to share, and are always there to help. Sometimes we forget that these people have emotions too. Sometimes they forget they have emotions too. I’m glad we have gotten to see a more human version of both Toby and Beth.
Often, people like Toby and Beth hide behind this helper role. They probably don’t realize they do this, but they feel most strong and alive when they take care of others. Instead of confronting their own emotions they would rather help others deal with the rough patches in life. For a while this role is a great bandaid to their own hurts, but eventually a bump in the road catches up to them. Sometimes, because of the role they have created for themselves and the way they have portrayed themselves to others for so long they find it even more difficult to reach out for help. We saw Toby frantically trying to get in contact with his doctor when he has finally realized that he can’t handle his depression on his own anymore. Beth has a very hard time opening up to Randall about losing her job and comes to the difficult realization that she has not processed her emotions in the middle of an interview.
No one is immune. We all feel. The sooner we can accept this truth the better because then we can let our emotions do their jobs. When we let ourselves grieve, hurt, fear, celebrate, or get mad these emotions give us direction on where to go next and then start to dissipate. If we ignore them they create tension inside of us. So whether we are more of a Kate that enjoys being taken care of and finds herself stuck in her sadness or more of a Toby that loves taking care of others and ignoring his own emotions - we all have work to do in feeling.
Some Things to Consider:
1. Do you know someone who appears to always have it together emotionally? How can you communicate to them that you are a safe place to share how they are really feeling?
2. Are you one who likes to keep their emotions tucked away and focus on others? How might you challenge yourself to share your emotions with someone and let go of the “strong one” role?