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We All Have the Power to Fight Our 'Inner Voldemorts'

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When I was little, I had an intense phobia of being kidnapped. Every evening, I had a routine I had to complete before I would feel safe enough to get in bed. Then, once I was under the covers, I could not and would not even consider getting up before morning. I’d lay awake, convinced I heard sounds of an intruder, quivering in fear.

Eventually, I grew out of it, and now I often find myself joking, playing it off as immature paranoia. However, I can still remember the fear I felt every single night that I could not overcome until the sun came up.

These days, I often experience anxiety in waves. I have a “worst case scenario” state of mind when it comes to new experiences. I tend to get overwhelmed in certain social situations. However, I’ve been working hard over the last few years to overcome the fear that bubbles inside me. Recently, I found inspiration in perhaps the most unlikely of places, the mouth of Albus Dumbledore.

Now, if you’ve read any of the “Harry Potter” books you’ll know Dumbledore had a knack for inspirational quotes. He liked to drop them on Harry and walk away, like the wizard equivalent of dropping the mic. In doing so, he often left the reader speechless and Harry confused and longing for a straightforward answer.

If you’ve never delved into the “Harry Potter” world, in books nor movies, then let me give you a minor background before I continue. Harry Potter is a wizard whose parents were killed by another, evil, wizard named Voldemort. Before he was born, it was foretold that Harry would become Voldemort’s greatest threat.

Just after Harry’s 1st birthday, Voldemort hunted him down to prevent the prophecy from coming true. Voldemort killed Harry’s parents. However, Harry survived and it blew everyone’s mind, including Voldemort’s. Oh and Dumbledore is the head honcho at Hogwarts, a school for young wizards and witches. He’s the only other person Voldemort has ever feared, and he’s a low-key badass who has a pet Phoenix.

OK, now that we’re all caught up, back to Dumbledore’s mind-blowing rhetoric. In the second to last book of the series, “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,” there is a moment when Dumbledore is explaining to Harry how the prophecy affected Voldemort, how his fear of defeat got in the way of his quest for victory. He explains that Voldemort himself created the enemy who was now equipped to defeat him. After hearing the prophecy, he had taken matters into his own hands, assuming he could vanquish its foretellings by killing Harry before he had the chance to grow up. In doing so, he unknowingly set the prophecy into motion.

In our everyday lives, an assumption or a rumor can present itself as a prophecy of sorts. We hear of something that might happen or we take a guess based on the circumstance, and we send ourselves into a frenzy of panic and anxiety. This works for any emotion that controls our actions: anxiety, fear, addiction, sadness or low self-esteem. They all act as our own personal Voldemort living inside our heads. They react quickly and rashly, neglecting to pause and let other opinions be heard. They look at the smaller picture, the one stop solution. They act to prevent bad, while also deflecting the possibility of good.

Luckily, we all have the power to be our own Harry Potter. Granted we don’t have the whole wizard thing going for us, but Harry learned magic wasn’t the biggest weapon he had against Voldemort. Love, selflessness, bravery, trust, joy — these are all qualities Voldemort could never possess. These are all qualities our own Voldemorts shy away from when times get hard.

In the “Harry Potter” series, Voldemort is the most feared wizard of them all. The things he can do, the way he uses people to get what he wants, the horror he inflicts upon entire cities at the mention of his name. Anxiety, fear and addiction all have the power to do the same to each of us if we give into their grasp. While our attempts to grapple with our own Voldemorts might be feeble at times, it’s the resistance that counts. No tyrant lasts long when the resistance starts.

I encourage you to fight, in whatever way best suits you. If it’s simply taking a moment to breathe or seeking a doctor, then take the steps necessary to start your own fight against the dark wizard inside your head. You never know what you’ll find within yourself when you take the time to start digging.

Image via Harry Potter Facebook page.

This post originally appeared on Kimberlee K.

Originally published: September 6, 2016
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