The longer I’ve been out of college the longer I have had time to wish I hadn’t lost a copy of my thesis paper. I really wanted to expand on it because I felt excited about it and felt that not only would it be helpful for others, it would help me. Call me selfish if you want, but part of the inspiration was trying to understand what made me tick more. However, to connect with others effectively, I am a strong believer in understanding yourself at some level. First of all, the basic idea behind my thesis was that, you could use fictional characters in fictional stories as a catalyst for personal long term positive change. By understanding why you admired certain characters you could learn more about yourself and spur on long term growth. However, I think I made a big mistake in how I was looking at it. I tend to think bigger than is best for my project. I tend to self totalize and make mountains out of molehills. When you try to account for everything in your study or paper, you weaken the overall project. However, understanding how I think about it I realized that to satisfy that part of me, I would include ways of referring clients to other types of useful therapies and tools that would suit them personally. This would mean acknowledging weaknesses but not letting them stop you, as a mental health professional from being helpful. Understanding my own biases, I think, will actually be my greatest strength in terms of helping others. Weakness is the shadow of your strengths. But anyways let me spell out my thought processes as concisely as humanly possible. First of all, what in fiction inspires me and how does that help me? How will that be useful to other people? Is simply comparing yourself to fictional characters in itself a positive? How does one figure out whether to refer a client to someone else? What characters inspire me and what do I learn about myself through them? This is part 1 of my deep dive into my own psyche. First thing is first, my inspirations were both Superhero therapy’s own Janina Scarlet and the many many books I’ve read. But what about my fictional inspirations?
Albus Dumbledore is the wise old man in the Harry Potter series and I admire him a great deal. The things I admire most are actually all things that you, as a reader, learn after his death in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. In fact, the character development that matters most to me from him and another happen in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Albus Dumbledore is built up as the greatest wizard of his age and an invincible and wise teacher. He is the second surrogate guardian for the main character and for us through his eyes. He doubles as mentor and as our guide through the trial and tribulations that befall Harry. However, the entire 7 books are also about growing up. Yes, growing up and facing trials that normally one doesn’t but still it is worth noticing. At the end of the Half Blood Prince, Harry is alone and now must face off against the evil Voldemort alone. He has his friends but in many ways the final volume is actually a time of intense growth for both Harry and his friends. And it is intensely linked to his connection to Albus Dumbledore. Harry is slowly learning more and more about the man Dumbledore and a lot of it contradicts his image of him as the wise and good mentor. This also is interpersed with Harry having to learn to actually work much more closely with his two best friends. Some will say that he has always trusted and relied on both Harry and Hermione but that in truth, the dire situation and problem solving are being done in situations that are very different. Harry is used to being at death’s door and both of his friends have not totally gotten used to that. This creates conflict as Harry has two conflicting desires, protecting those he cares about and getting help from others. The fact that Harry is conflicted regarding his late mentor and that he partially resents him for trusting the man, Snape, who he now feels he is justified in hating, compounds it. However, when Harry finally understands the full plan he has also accepted that, he must choose to make his own path and that his link to Dumbledore must be severed in order to well, be the hero Dumbledore wanted him to be. When Harry is in limbo after his near death by Voldemort, he has a conversation with his dead mentor. This of course, allows him to confront him as two adults. The remarkable part about this is that Dumbledore talks frankly about his own moral lapses and failures. His mistakes as a younger man are talked about frankly with Harry as a peer. Dumbledore is no longer a mentor but in fact a respected teacher and friend. Harry has grown up and learned the difference between himself and Dumbledore. He needed to trust others in order to be a good leader. His willingness to do so made him a better leader in many ways than Dumbledore ever was. Dumbledore taught Harry what matters in a leader and Dumbledore understood that he wasn’t somebody who could handle leadership. He said his reasoning for declining the post of Minister of Magic was not because he was modest, but because he felt he wasn’t able to trust himself with power. I like Dumbledore because he embodies the coming together or different generations and of understanding the importance of communicating across them. It shows us that the mistakes of the past can be learned from and that, in fact, they make you more admirable. Dumbledore’s role as a teacher was perfect for him because he understood his own flaws.
Part 1 End