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How Marvel's 'Moon Knight' teaches us to embrace all our selves

It's also a compelling and compassionate portrayal of mental illness

moon king dissociative disorder

Sometimes the biggest battle is in loving ourselves

The great thing about Marvel is: even if you're exhausted with superhero movies (it’s okay, I am too) the franchise often sprinkles their mega fights and formulaic plots with thought provoking, empathetic character studies.

In the recent limited (or maybe not so limited) series “Moon Knight”, the hero Marc Spector has Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), a mental condition where a person has at least two or more distinct personalities. As with any piece of art made public, there has been criticism of the show, in particular of the accuracy of its portrayal of DID.

However, the negative feedback misses Moon Knight’s ultimate success: Marc’s story not only inspires compassion for mental illness, it also shows us that sometimes the biggest battle we face is simply loving ourselves entirely.


Warning: Spoilers for the series below!



For most of the show, Marc’s alternate personality Steven Grant is the primary protagonist. Until the penultimate episode, when we learn he was created by Marc to help escape his painful childhood.

After the tragic death of his younger brother, who drowned in a cave while the two were playing, Marc’s mother blamed him for the loss. Her resentment forced him to endure severe neglect, abuse, and cruelty while internalizing his own guilt.

Giphy

While in reality DID is much more complex, “Moon Knight” does faithfully capture the healing made possible through opening up about our trauma and mental illness. As both characters face the truth together, both Marc and Steven are able to reconcile. In the end, they are no longer at odds—they become brothers.

In the final episode’s emotional climax, we see Marc, a man bestowed with magical fighting abilities, turn to Steven, the creation forged by his own suffering, and whisper:

“You are the only real superpower I ever had.”

In this hard won victory of self-acceptance; Marc’s heart becomes whole again.

In my personal life, I'm a practitioner of EFT, a healing modality that blends aspects of both psychotherapy and acupressure. In EFT, there’s a concept of “bringing love to the pain." In a session with a coach, or by themselves, a person visualizes a traumatic memory from childhood. As they tap on their body—where trauma often gets stuck—they repeat phrases like “even though this happened, I still love and accept myself.”

The idea is that by repeating these positive phrases out loud while simultaneously releasing stored negative energy in the body, we can rewire our brains to stop repeating the same story associated with those memories. It might sound a little woo-woo, but there’s quite a bit of scientific evidence showing how effective EFT can be. Sometimes all it takes is genuine love and forgiveness for ourselves. It’s simple, but not always easy. Even Marc had to go through Egyptian Hell to achieve it.

Regardless of a mental health diagnosis, this is a universal challenge. How many of us can look into the mirror and truly love everything that we see?

For some, perhaps even for most, this is a lifelong process. But "Moon Knight" teaches is that self acceptance has profound benefits on our character.

Education

12 books that people say are life-changing reads

Some books have the power to change how we see ourselves, the world, and each other.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Books are powerful.

As a participant in the Amazon Associates affiliate program, Upworthy may earn proceeds from items purchased that are linked to this article, at no additional cost to you.

Out of all human inventions, books might just be the greatest. That may be a bold statement in the face of computers, the internet and the international space station, but none of those things would be possible without books. The written recording of human knowledge has allowed our advancements in learning to be passed on through generations, not to mention the capturing of human creativity in the form of longform storytelling.

Books have the power to change our lives on a fundamental level, shift our thinking, influence our beliefs, put us in touch with our feelings and help us understand ourselves and one another better.

That's why we asked Upworthy's audience to share a book that changed their life. Thousands of responses later, we have a list of inspiring reads that rose to the top.

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Joy

Bus driver comes to the rescue for boy who coudn't afford outfit for school's Pajamas Day

“It hurt me so bad…I wanted him to have a good day. No child should have to miss out on something as small as pajama day.”

Representative Image from Canva

One thoughtful act can completely turn someone's day around.

On the morning just before Valentine’s Day, school bus driver Larry Farrish Jr. noticed something amiss with Levi, one of his first grade passengers, on route to Engelhard Elementary, part of Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) in Louisville, Kentucky.

On any other day, the boy would greet Farrish with a smile and a wave. But today, nothing. Levi sat down by himself, eyes downcast, no shining grin to be seen. Farrish knew something was up, and decided to inquire.

With a “face full of tears,” as described on the JCPS website, Levi told Farrish that today was “Pajama Day” at school, but he didn’t have any pajamas to wear for the special occasion.
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Terrified, emaciated dog comes to life as volunteer sits with him for human connection

He tries making himself so small in the kennel until he realizes he's safe.

Terrified dog transforms after human sits with him.

There's something about dogs that makes people just want to cuddle them. They have some of the sweetest faces with big curious eyes that make them almost look cartoonish at times. But not all dogs get humans that want to snuggle up with them on cold nights; some dogs are neglected or abandoned. That's where animal shelters come in, and they work diligently to take care of any medical needs and find these animals loving homes.

Volunteers are essential to animal shelters running effectively to fill in the gaps employees may not have time for. Rocky Kanaka has been volunteering to sit with dogs to provide comfort. Recently he uploaded a video of an extremely emaciated Vizsla mix that was doing his best to make himself as small as possible in the corner of the kennel.

Kanaka immediately wanted to help him adjust so he would feel comfortable enough to eat and eventually get adopted. The dog appeared scared of his new location and had actually rubbed his nose raw from anxiety, but everything changed when Kanaka came along.

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via Imgur

Memories of testing like this gets people fired up.

It doesn't take much to cause everyone on the internet to go a little crazy, so it's not completely surprising that an incorrect answer on a child's math test is the latest event to get people fired up.

The test in question asked kids to solve "5 x 3" using repeated addition. Under this method, the correct answer is "5 groups of 3," not "3 groups of 5." The question is typical of Common Core but has many questioning this type of standardized testing and how it affects learning.

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Image from YouTube video.

An emotional and strong Matt Diaz.


Matt Diaz has worked extremely hard to lose 270 pounds over the past six years.

But his proudest moment came in March 2015 when he decided to film himself with his shirt off to prove an important point about body positivity and self-love.

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There are over 30 years between these amazing before-and-after photos.

"It's important for me for my photography to make people smile."

All photos by Chris Porsz/REX/Shutterstock.

Before and after photos separated by 30 years.


Chris Porsz was tired of studying sociology.

As a university student in the 1970s, he found the talk of economics and statistics completely mind-numbing. So instead, he says, he roamed the streets of his hometown of Peterborough, England, with a camera in hand, snapping pictures of the people he met and listening to their stories. To him, it was a far better way to understand the world.

He always looked for the most eccentric people he could find, anyone who stood out from the crowd. Sometimes he'd snap a single picture of that person and walk away. Other times he'd have lengthy conversations with these strangers.

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