I’ve already confessed in an earlier blog how much I love the Harry Potter series. After seeing the last movie in July, I went back and reread all the books.
What was fun about this go-around was seeing some great analogies for addressing obstacles that come up on our path to creating the life of our dreams.
One of these has to do with our Gremlin—that inner critic that tells you that you’re not good enough, will never amount to anything, and certainly shouldn’t feel good about yourself.
Our inner Gremlin is a lot like a boggart—which Harry and his friends get introduced to during a Defense Against the Dark Arts class being led by Professor Remus Lupin in a scene from Book 3, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
“So, the first question we must ask ourselves is, what is a boggart?”
Hermione put up her hand.
“It’s a shape-shifter,” she said. “It can take the shape of whatever it thinks will frighten us most.”
This is very much what the Gremlin does. It often assumes the voice and countenance of the person whose criticism might frighten or hinder us the most. One moment it might sound like your mother, the next like the bully from 7th grade, and the next like your first boss.
“So the boggart sitting in the darkness within has not yet assumed a form. . . But when I let him out, he will immediately become whatever each of us most fears.”
Regardless of whatever form your Gremlin takes in any situation, it’s important to remember that your Gremlin is not any of those people. It is, in fact, a part of you.
It is the fearful part of you, the worrying part of you, the part of you who believes you are less than you truly are. But whatever the Gremlin is telling you—it is not Truth.
Because it is a part of you, you can’t kill it, beat it up, threaten it, or destroy it. Any attempt to do those things will just make it stronger. You must treat it with respect.
But that doesn’t mean you have to respect your Gremlin’s opinion. The best way to handle it is also the best way to handle a boggart.
“The charm that repels a boggart is simple, yet it requires force of mind. You see, the thing that really finishes a boggart is laughter. What you need to do is force it to assume a shape that you find amusing.”
The charm that works that magic is “riddikulus!”
The “riddikulus” shape that I gave my Gremlin is that of a baby alligator dressed up in baby clothes. I chose an alligator because even as babies they can be a bit frightening and they have sharp teeth that hurt when they bite. But in reality, the bite of a baby alligator isn’t fatal and it really can’t hurt me. Add some baby clothes and it’s even something I can laugh at.
To take that “riddikulus” image even further, I actually found a plush toy that came very close to fitting my mental image and Gabby, as I call it, is currently sitting on my desk.
The funny thing is that toy representation of my Gremlin is so cute that I actually kind of love it. And loving your Gremlin is truly the key to taming it–just like in Harry Potter, love is the ultimate magic.
Today, think about what “riddikulus” shape you can make your Gremlin take. Make it something you can laugh at, and ultimately love.
Together we can do it!