Personal growth and achieving one’s dreams no matter how hard or long they have to struggle for it are things that Naruto preaches endlessly from the very beginning. Naruto’s titular protagonist has been an outcast from day one. Naruto’s perseverance goes on to inspire many others into either accomplishing their goals, like Hinata, or figuring out what their goals are to begin with and start striving towards them, like Gaara.

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But Naruto himself couldn’t have gotten to the point where he stands proud — as a husband, a father, and as the Hokage of the Hidden Leaf — without all of the support he receives along the way. When he first starts out, he’s been alone all his life and all he can think to do is act out in any way possible to garner attention from others — even if the attention is negative. However, other people steadily begin to believe in Naruto and help propel him towards his dreams.

9 Iruka Is The First One To Notice Naruto’s Pain & Cares For Him In A Time Where He Desperately Needed Someone

Naruto never would have developed into the person he is today without Iruka’s support. Iruka is a harsh-but-caring teacher who always tries to push Naruto to do his best in the academy days. Iruka starts making an effort to connect with Naruto outside of class when he realizes just how alone Naruto really is at the time.

The bond between Naruto and Iruka is so strong that Naruto begins to see Iruka as a father-figure. Naruto tells Sasuke this during their bout at the Valley of the End. Iruka, more than anything, teaches Naruto how to truly believe in himself and start working towards his proper goals.

8 Kurama Shows Naruto That Even Evil-Seeming Powers Can Also Be Used To Do Good

Naruto and Kurama’s relationship in the beginning is rocky at best and absolutely destructive at worst. Kurama plans to manipulate Naruto into allowing him to break free; meanwhile, fans see Naruto taking a greater strain upon using the fox’s powers, harming both his own body and those close to him.

Over time, though, Naruto and Kurama become inseparable partners and Kurama is even recognized as an official ally of the Hidden Leaf as well as Naruto’s friend. Kurama allows Naruto to grow by showing him that even powers feared by everyone can be used in a helpful way instead of solely for destruction.

7 Jiraiya Teaches Naruto How To Move On From True Grief

Jiraiya is potentially Naruto’s closest relationship — they go even further back than the orange-jumpsuited shinobi realizes. Jiraiya the one who gives Naruto his name, making the child essentially Jiraiya’s godson. Jiraiya was forced to leave the village for the first twelve years of Naruto’s life, so he was unable to properly help parent Naruto.

Jiraiya more than makes up for this after becoming Naruto’s mentor following the Chunin Exams. Naruto holds Jiraiya in high regard despite his perverted side. It’s noted that Jiraiya’s passing is the first time Naruto feels true grief over losing someone and it’s this pain and loss that ultimately helps teach him how to let go and move on while keeping someone important who’s no longer with him in his thoughts.

6 Hinata Taught Naruto That Believing In Oneself Despite Personal Doubts Is Enough

One of Hinata and Naruto’s most defining moments from back before their romantic feelings are brought to light is during the tournament arc of the Chunin Exams. After Hinata’s defeat against Neji, Naruto confides in her that he’s worried about their match and has his doubts.

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Hinata reassures Naruto that it’s simply because he never gives up that he has the strength to overcome his failures. She single-handedly helps him out of his funk and teaches him that believing in oneself can be all the strength someone needs to keep pushing forward despite their fears — something Hinata actually learned by watching Naruto.

5 Hiruzen Teaches Naruto The Importance Of Caring For & Protecting The Village’s People

Hiruzen didn’t always make the best choices and there were a lot of matters involving the Hidden Leaf that he could have handled better. However, one thing that he got right is the mindset that he had while ruling as the Third Hokage — that every person within the village is family and should be protected.

This was Hiruzen’s ultimate ideology that was passed onto Naruto. Hiruzen helped Naruto learn that everyone in the village is family and deserves to be protected, which is not only a mindset Naruto takes to heart, but one he makes sure to pass onto the next generation of shinobi after him.

4 Sasuke Teaches Naruto That True Bonds Of Friendship Can Never Truly Be Severed

Naruto and Sasuke’s relationship starts out rocky and only gets worse. Naruto sees Sasuke as a rival, and later a brother, and Sasuke actually does deeply respect Naruto until after the Chunin Exams. He defects after seeing that Naruto had begun to surpass him in strength.

Throughout the years Naruto and Sasuke are apart, as well as the many near-death fights the two have, their bond never fully breaks. This is evident after their final battle when Sasuke admits that he was simply jealous of Naruto and they rekindle their friendship. Sasuke teaches Naruto that no matter how turbulent a friendship might be or how much they may fight, a true bond can never be broken.

3 Sakura Teaches Naruto The Difference Between A Crush & Genuine Love

Sakura and Naruto’s relationship starts with unrequited feelings and relative apathy on Sakura’s part. She sees him as annoying, but his courage and determination inspires her over time and the two grow to become close friends.

Sakura teaches Naruto the difference between his crush on Sakura and the genuine love that Hinata felt for him. She goes even further, stating that Naruto merely saw Sakura as something he needed to ‘win over’ in order to beat Sasuke since he’s the one Sakura has true feelings for.

2 Kakashi Teaches Naruto What It Truly Means To Be A Ninja

Kakashi is Naruto’s first true sensei after Iruka and the lessons he imparts upon him are invaluable. At the start, Naruto believed that he could disregard his teammates and rush in by himself without any aid.

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Naruto is quickly proven wrong; Kakashi shows him just how easily such recklessness can cost him his life — or the lives of his teammates. Kakashi teaches Naruto how important teamwork is and to never abandon one’s comrades.

1 Shikamaru Helps Teach Naruto How To Endure The Pain Of Losing A Loved One

Shikamaru befriends Naruto during their academy days and the two become quite close. They’re both seen as “dead last” students at the academy, with Naruto being far more interested in causing trouble and Shikamaru preferring to slack off. Shikamaru is also one of the first people to see Naruto as more than the Nine-Tails’ host.

Naruto struggles with the pain of losing Jiraiya. While Naruto was grieving, Shikamaru was also dealing with his own grief — he had lost his dear sensei Asuma. Shikamaru helps Naruto through his grief and teaches Naruto how to move forward with the pain of losing a loved one.

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