Do you remember?
Fairy tales and myths can help to better understand inner resistance that hinders change processes. After heroes have felt a call to change in fairy tales and myths, inner and outer resistance first appears. These prevent the heroes from daring their way into the unknown.
Because of a famine, Hansel and Gretel were left alone in the forest by their stepmother. Gretel was very scared. Hansel, however, marked the way home with pebbles. “Be brave, Gretel,” said Hansel. “When the moon shines, we can see the white pebbles I have scattered on the way. and we’ll be back home by morning.” Hänsel and Gretel go back to their parents’ house before they have to set off again into the unknown.
You probably know the experience of resistance too:
- Do you remember moments in your life when you already knew which way to go, but you kept dodging?
- Do you remember that you were aware of the need for change, but you always found reasons not to follow it?
- Do you remember situations where you didn’t act when everything spoke in favour?
Your refusal is important for your future change processes
In the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel, the pausing of the flow of action makes it clear that saying goodbye and letting go of the familiar are not without risk. The future is uncertain and looks dangerous. The abandoned brothers and sisters wander around the forest to find their way. When they are physically exhausted, they lie down and sleep.
Hansel said to Gretel,”We’ll find our way.” But they didn’t find him. They walked all night and another day from morning to evening, but they could not get out of the forest and were so hungry, for they had nothing but the few berries standing on the ground. And because they were so tired that their legs didn’t want to carry them anymore, they lay down under a tree and fell asleep.”
And how is the resistance embodied in you?
- Could you take time to pause during change processes to become aware of the reasons for your refusal?
- Could you meet your ambivalent feelings with patience and understanding?
- Could you accept that you are not yet able or do not want to follow your call immediately?
- Could you resist the temptation to”settle down” in the resistance?
- Were you finally able to reopen to your impulse for change?
In fairy tales, Hansel and Gretel have to go the way to change. The bread crumbs, which were later to show them the way home, are eaten by birds. At the end of the fairy tale it becomes clear that Hansel and Gretel would not have made any progress without this first refusal. They courageously pass many tests. As a reward they receive a treasure and find their way home strengthened and matured.
When you look back at your change processes:
- Can you see that without your refusal there could ultimately be no progress either?
- Did your resistance already show the first steps of your implementation?
- Have you perhaps been able to further strengthen your reputation by refusing to do so?
Maybe you’d like to read another favourite fairy tale or myth from your childhood. Take a look at how your hero’s refusal shows up and how the hero’s journey finally evolves from his refusal.