What "Boy Swallows Universe" Teaches Us: In Four Quotes | The Indigo Project
About Life, Hope & Trauma

What "Boy Swallows Universe" Teaches Us

Netflix mini series Boy Swallows Universe, based on Trent Dalton’s 2018 bestselling novel, is a dark and nostalgic story set in suburban Australia in the 80’s. The series doesn’t shy away from highlighting the painful reality of crime, addiction, domestic violence, divorce, estrangement from family and parentification. As the plot unfolds we watch a young family navigate trauma after trauma but despite their difficult journey through life, they can teach us a lot about hope and overcoming.

Here Are our favourite pieces of wisdom from the series:

“Things Are Going To Get So Good, You’ll Forget It Was Ever Bad.” 

This is probably the most notable quote throughout the series, it is repeated multiple times by different core characters and at times is the only thing that is keeping them going. Even in the midst of dark times, these words connect them to the healing power of hope. Depicted on screen is a real truth, hope is a protective factor and has a large role to play in trauma recovery. Expressing hopefulness towards the future supports not only the characters in this mini series but real life humans to navigate their difficulties in the here-and-now and to approach uncertain futures with motivation and trust.

Holding the belief or expectation that things can be better than they are or have been creates distance from past wounds, negative core beliefs and allows us freedom from subconsciously reinforcing them. Imagery can be a fantastic way to connect to hopefulness and visualise positive future outcomes for yourself. A personal favourite is ‘The Golden Future’ from Darkness Is Golden: Audio Experiences, you can give it a listen here. 

“If It Doesn’t Hurt, It’s Not Real Life, It’s All Part Of Being Human.”

An important existential truth is normalised in this quote. Discomfort is part of the human experience. When you are resisting your emotional pain, it persist and manifests itself in other ways. Of course none of us move through life without some form of challenge and adversity. It is the way you either resist or embrace those inevitable discomforts that largely impacts how you handle them. It’s important to remember that leaning into acceptance and sitting with discomfort doesn’t necessarily mean you are letting go of, or are okay with such adversities.Just that you are no longer resisting the reality and impact of those experiences.

This allows you to connect to greater psychological flexibility to process heavy emotions and commit to necessary healing and change. As depicted in Boy Swallows Universe, these transformative internal shifts are fundamental when it comes to navigating life and overcoming trauma. Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) is one approach to Psychotherapy that encompasses this concept. You can find our Indigo practitioners who practise in this modality here. 

“You Can Spend Years Thinking About Shitty Parts Of Your Life Or You Can Find A Way Back To The Good Bits.”

This quote hits with abrasive honesty and is grounded in the notion of choice and free will. No matter what happened in the past, humans have the incredible capacity to choose a different possible course of action. The freedom to choose to stay stuck or the freedom to choose to do the inner work and re-focus energy, attention and action back into the parts of life that inspire direction, meaning and purpose.

Are you feeling fixated on the ‘shitty’ parts of your life? It might be time to connect with your inner child. One aspect of inner child work is understanding and healing your emotional wounds and the other is a creative re-discovery of playfulness. Both are important in supporting you to navigate traumatic experiences, get unstuck and find your “way back to the good bits”. You can find our Indigo practitioners who practice Inner Child here. 

“Maybe We’d All Be Much More Effective Communicators If We All Shut Up More.”

How often do you really listen? How often do you really feel heard? This quote from Boy Swallows Universe highlights that being a better communicator often has less to do with actually communicating and a whole lot more to do with really listening. Being a good listener means to listen to understand rather than just response. When interacting with others we are all guilty of at times thinking about what we want to say while the other person is still talking. When we do this, we aren’t actively listening and therefore not truly hearing another persons perspective. This can create one-sided conversations, relational conflicts and ultimately blocks us from having more meaningful connections.

Learning to really listen without interruption, assumption or judgment can have a profound impact on the dynamics of your interpersonal interactions. Booking in a therapy session can be an incredible way to make space for your need to feel heard and truly listened to. At times people in your life might be quick to offer suggestions but therapists are trained to get curious, ask the right questions and actively listen to what comes up for you with non-judgment and understanding, before providing further guidance. Take our Get Matched quiz here, to meet a therapist on your wavelength.

Boy Swallows Universe is about as raw and real as it gets. It doesn’t shy away from depicting the painful reality of the human experience, while ultimately being an inspiring story of hope, imagination, connection and overcoming. And when you’re done watching or reading it – check out the soundtrack. It’s great.


annia baron, Clinical Psychologist


bre elder, Senior Psychologist


nekiyah dharshi, Registered Psychologist


dr navit gohar-kadar, Clinical Psychologist


maja czerniawska, Senior Psychologist


eunice cheung, Psychotherapist & Counsellor


ayanthi de silva, Registered Psychologist


tayla gardner, Psychotherapist & Counsellor


katie odonoghue, Relationship Coach & Couples Therapist


lorna macaulay, Senior Psychologist


shuktika bose, Clinical Psychologist


deepika gupta, Clinical Psychologist


dr emer mcdermott, Clinical Psychologist


nicole burling, Senior Psychologist


natasha kasselis, Senior Psychologist


dr perry morrison, Senior Psychologist


gaynor connor, Psychotherapist & Counsellor


shauntelle benjamin, Registered Psychologist


liz kirby, Psychotherapist & Counsellor


sam barr, Clinical Psychologist


darren everett, Senior Psychologist


jamie de bruyn, Senior Psychologist

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