Oh, no! You again?
You might have met this demon as early as a Guardian at the Gate, the moment you stepped over the Threshold. Then it popped up again in one or more of your Tests and Trials. Now it’s there for a big blowout. Is the Ordeal? Will this demon ever truly be defeated?
When I say “demon” I mean the situation, not necessarily the person bringing the situation: Your dad tells you again you would make a good accountant instead of that “graphic design thing” you do now. Your mother makes “that face” when you slide a few more pierogi on your plate at dinner. Your boss wants you to develop a report that you don’t think anyone will use – and wants it by next week. You bought a giant muffin along with your coffee again today, even after you swore you would stop. Your co-workers just… can’t… push… the break room chairs under the tables so people can walk by.
Again and again, your response to the situation stops you on your Journey. You’re right and they’re wrong. It so unfair. No one appreciates your sensitive, creative nature. You are going to win this one, no matter how much scorched earth you leave in your wake. F-em all!
“Nothing makes your hero more heroic than a worthy opponent.” https://jerryjenkins.com/what-makes-a-good-villain/
I will add “no one is a more worthy opponent than I am…”
The Hero’s Journey is about accomplishing a goal, but what makes that goal a Journey is self-transformation. Luke Skywalker evolves from farm-boy to Jedi Master. Boadicea evolves from widow to rebel warrior queen. Harry Potter evolves from tormented orphan to Wizard who defeats the most powerfully evil Wizard of the day.
Along their Journey, each of these people/characters meets the same antagonist many times.
You shouldn’t be surprised when your own special demon shows up again; it’s your Hero’s Journey after all.
To defeat this demon, you have to recognize one more factor. Who else is always there when you meet this antagonist repeatedly? Right. You/me. You have to be able to say, “I am the common denominator in all of these fights.”
Sigh. This demon is part of me and that’s what I actually have to defeat. The only way to get past her once and for all is to acknowledge my part and own it. I have to answer these questions honestly:
From her point of view, what is she trying to accomplish?
How can I put myself in her shoes?
In what ways are we alike?
What is she doing? How (or where) am I doing that same thing?
What am I doing that feeds this fight?
How can I let go?
I’m not saying this is easy. It is a grueling ordeal, but it must be endured willingly to complete your Hero’s Journey. Believe me, I know.