Harry Potter and the Lies I Tell Myself
There are few things I know better than Harry Potter. I have loved and wept for this story since I was 5 years old, and things haven’t changed much since then. Harry Potter has played a big part in my upbringing and much praise has been given over the years for the good lessons and well-packaged advice that the books contain.
So you’d think that, as a relatively smart reader, I would know better than to repeat so many of the trio’s bad decisions. But no: I found myself in spectacularly stupid situations in spite of all the magical advice. Let’s make a top 3 of the things I tell myself but really shouldn’t.
#1. I know best
One of the disadvantages to being the teacher’s pet (or, in Gryffindors’ case, the Headmaster’s House), is that after hearing you’re the best/coolest/smartest over and over, you get cocky.
They say: “Students mustn’t wander around the halls at night.” You say: “Hmm I’m pretty sure it’ll be fine if I sneak out at night with the Invisible Cloak, if it’s for a good cause.” LOL.
They say: “The Mirror of Erised is fucked up and you’ll end up emotionally scarred if you look at it for too long.” You say: “Hmm I’m sure I’ll be just fine if I go look at my dead family every night.” Ha, ha, ha.
I’m all for learning from your mistakes… But let us not forget that, just like Harry, you are but a young Padawan that has yet much to learn. Even at 26 years old. Even at 45. Even at 63.
Harry and the others have a knack for ignoring every trustworthy adult’s advice in order to meet their own agenda—which largely revolves around doing something reckless and cool.
How about you take a breather, listen and learn from your loved ones’ mistakes, for a change?
#2. This can’t wait
Harry and his friends are Gryffindors: they’re brave, yes, but they really don’t think things through. What’s that you say? Get past a three-headed magical dog in order to stop a crazy fanatic from stealing a potion that would revive the most powerful Dark wizard of our time?
Sigh, sigh, ALL OF THE SIGH. Some facepalms too.
If you run after every loose troll without asking for help, you’ll probably end up with a few missing limbs.
The thing is, I get it. You’re excited to start this new/crazy/exciting project and if you stop to consider the details, you might end up discouraged or too nervous to start it. But if you run after every loose troll without turning to the experts for help, you’ll probably end up with a few missing limbs.
I’m not saying you should plan out every single aspect of your life. Not only would that be boring, it would also be stupidly unrealistic. But ya know… A little bit of self-restraint can be pretty helpful.
#3. I can only rely on myself
When you’re deep into a negative situation, it’s easy to turn to shame—and then to pride. What does it say about you that your boss treats you like crap? What does it say about you that you feel angry/stuck/unhappy and you don’t know why?
Well, if you asked Harry Potter*, he might say something annoyingly Gryffindor, along the lines of “You make your own destiny. If you’re unhappy with something, change it”.
*Actually, Harry probably wouldn’t say that since he is notoriously bad with words. But he’d probably think it. In pictures.
And, you know, SURE! By all means, change whatever makes you unhappy. But sometimes (well, often), that’s not so easy.
You need a support system, people that will listen, give advice, offer help. Locking yourself away in the “I’ll just fix it myself” mindset hardly ever works, unless we’re talking about doing the dishes.
When your professor mutilates you, the obvious response is to report it (looking at you, Harry). The next step is possibly to seek psychological support (though, to be fair, that wasn’t really an option at Hogwarts. But I bet Madam Pomfrey has a great potion to help ease the trauma).
Looking back on this glorious list, I can definitely recognize these faults in my own mindset. When I find myself in times of trouble, the Harry Potter books find my fingers… and in return, I find myself in their characters—flaws, mistakes and all—and they help me realise that the things I tell myself… aren’t all true.