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Hero’s Journey – Trials – Part 3: Approach

I like metaphors and I will be using a few in this post. The Approach to a situation that we encounter is the key to many of the development arch of Heroes in stories. Because, the you have to see the Hero fail to learn that some approaches just do not work.  This is how we get sucked into a book or movie or even a well told story as all the ancient myths and legends started out as.

Metaphor 1:- When a person does not have the right approach when parking a car into a carpark at the supermarket, trouble may occur. If the driver does not have the right approach and makes the turning arch too small. The driver must back up and then re-attempt, back up again and then try again, till the driver gets it right. Only with practice does the driver will eventually get it right. The driver must understand the limitations of the car they drive. This includes the width of the car, the length of the car, and finally the turning circle of the car. This is also done slowly.

When looking back over your past, look at the situations that just did not work. We learn more from our mistakes than from our wins. Did you ask your self if you used the right approach? when you needed help, did you use anger to get help. did help come when you got angry? or were you being the joker and putting a smile on peoples face when in fact you needed help. Were you taken seriously in this situation? when all along you should have been the Damsel in Destress.  Using this metaphor when a person enters a situation, take it slow and if you see that you a going around it the wrong way, back up and approach the situation again. People are understanding and will forgive a wrong approach once or twice. After that they will see you as being manipulative. Because you are changing too much in a short time. Just when watching a person trying to park a car for some 20 minuets is painful and we make our mind up and think that person as incompetent in all thinks in life.

Men have an unenvious reputation of not asking for help. It does not mean that we are idiots and do not want help. It really comes down to practice, men have not had that much practice. Men really need help from the right person and will not ask just anyone, but seek out the right person. So to break the myth here, more men that females ask for help to get over addiction putting the risk of not seeing their children for a long time. Where as the fear of loosing their children stop females asking for help, placing a greater risk in guaranteeing the children to being taken away. But I digress. 

Lets look at a movie. Luke Skywalker takes three movies to defeat Darth Vader. He uses his sward in the first two movies and each time he looses, and in each attempt the cost of loosing is worse. Till he changes his approach and where he does not win the fight but wins the war and gains a true father. Even if to is only for a moment. Luke in the arch had to back up time and time again to find that he worked out the right approach.

In real life, a person is so stuck in one way of behaving because it has worked all the time for them. So much so, when things go wrong for that person they will always blame others for their own faults. In the Drug and alcohol world there are two main archetypes that are played by clients that they are stuck in. That is one of the domineering narcissist. The person that wants things done immediately and uses anger when their request in not given timely. Then they threaten to leave if it does not come, then really does leave the Rehab, blaming the staff that they do not know their job. The other is being endearing, lovable, charming and batter their eyelids. But when rules are rules they will always come back to say, “you can do it for me, no one needs to know”. But then the crying and tears and passive aggressive with that staff member and becomes kind to a different staff member to get what they want, or they get the other clients to fight on their behalf. Again that client cannot change archetypical behaviour because that have never used other ways of eliciting obedience.

The battle with in happens when the option for other approaches is possible. Knowing that there are other ways that work in a situation work better that the one they have used for years, brings on regret and sorry. This self-pity is painful but what is gained is so much greater.

Metaphor 2:- When landing a plane onto the runway has more than one approach. There are three legs to the landing with a final approach. This is the type of landing that needs each leg of the approach done with care. Think of the pilot trying to make each leg comfortable. each turn needs to be a smooth 90 degree turn. if one turn is too oblique the next needs to be too acute. The ride with this pilot is not comfortable and the banking of the plane would scare both the pilot and the passengers. The result to the landing may be the end of terror of a ride and a relief to all involved. This is when everyone asks, “Why so much drama, it could have been so much easier.  Likewise if the pilot uses a long and oval shaped landing pattern with constant fine adjustments may seem to be a long drawn out landing that seems to have no end. Because, the down leg and final approach is far longer than needs to be. and the aircraft is in a bank for a long time. So, now that we know about landing an aircraft, how do we land a complex situation without drama.


Often we come upon a problem that we do not know how to handle. For instance traversing a potential clash of personalities is but one thing that we need to plan out and have a longer approach to. This is the prime reason we all fear of entering into a new surroundings with people we do not know. This is because we need to prepare our selves to have the right approach with each person, so we do not scare others, they is our passengers in our life.


Here is a case of facing ones own vulnerabilities, which creates strength and confidence in those things that we face more often. By facing our vulnerabilities over and over again we be come better at handling these events and our confidence grows. in the end people will point out to you, your skills, in statements such as “I could not do what you do”. A person is not bourn into confidence, they must learn it. By giving up and not facing your vulnerabilities, only enhances and makes those vulnerabilities more acute to your thoughts. This in turn drives you to tell your self how hopples you are, and then have that belief cemented each time you run from an event that you are vulnerable to. 


Fear of an event should be a motivation to get rid of that fear. However many of us protect our-selves from fear by not facing it, what ever it may be. In so doing we thing we are protecting the endangered innocence that every Hero wishes to protect. But it is with fear that the innocence becomes paralysed and dyes in the end.


Drug taking or drinking is one way to run from fear. Hide from one’s emotions. Facing the shame, guilt or grief in ones life is a way to face our vulnerabilities, not by running from them.  Our actions in the face of fear give us the tools to approach a situation with confidence, even if we need to back up once or twice, we do not give up on our self by running from our vulnerabilities, we face them. This is how we protect our selves in protecting that we think is our endangered innocence. Hence we control our reality. By removing our self from that which we fear and removing our emotions from the thought of fear, the cause of that fear does not exist. Lets unpack that.


Lets say we have had such an impact on our emotions, like a death of a loved one. We do not want to deal with the terrible emotions that are associated with that, furthermore, we have a deep belief that we cannot live without that person in our life. So the attraction of Drugs and or Alcohol becomes a great way to deal with the grief and loss that we do not wish to face. Hence we protect our self so much that our life falls apart from the protective measures that we put into place. This enhances the feelings of worthlessness and uselessness, and we do look for feedback from the world around us to re-enforce those beliefs.


The take away message to this post is that you need the practice other approaches with others and your self to discover the best way to face your vulnerabilities. All the archetypes that we can use are tools to use for different situations. If all we know to use well is a hammer, every situation looks like a nail. 


Please leave a comment. If you think I have not thought this out well, let me know. I too am willing to learn from you. 

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