Calling out the Voldemort in Your Life: The Power of Naming Your Fears

I’ve just started reading Harry Potter — yes for the first time. Even though I’ve only just finished the second book (no spoilers please), I’ve already pulled out a few metaphors which I think can be really useful in life.

In the first book, I noticed the absolute fear of mentioning ‘He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’. In a funny way, this gives Voldemort even more power than his reputation has earned him. No one (except for Harry) will name him because they are afraid of the power he might then have over them, or that he will somehow magically appear. We do the exact same thing with our fears. We hold our fears close to ourselves and don’t share them with others because we fear they will laugh, let us down, or not support us in the ways we want to be supported. The fear continues to hold the power… just like Voldemort in the second book.

Having finished the book just an hour ago, it’s still fresh in my memory of Harry meeting Voldemort presenting himself as Tom Riddle. Harry was one of the few brave enough to say Voldemort’s name in book one, (or at least he’d make it through “Volde—–” before being interrupted by his friend’s fears stopping him). I suspect this is what led him to be able to think clearly enough when he came face to face with him in the Chamber of Secrets. Harry was able to think through his dismal options and take steps to protect himself while with Voldemort.

There are fears and dreams you are keeping secret. Fears no one knows about except you. It’s possible that just like Harry by simply naming the fear you will then be able to make small choices towards controlling your fears. Through taking these steps, this fear now loosens it’s control over you.

This doesn’t necessarily mean shouting them from the rooftops — I do think we can all take a lesson from Brene Brown, in her book “Daring Greatly” where she speaks of sharing our vulnerabilities with those we trust. We want to set ourselves up for success. Sharing fears and dreams with someone who you are quite sure will be supportive is important.

Try it for yourself. Share something small with someone. Show a bit of vulnerability and see how they respond. Poorly? Move on to someone else. However, if they responded well, maybe the next time you see them you share a little more — and a little more, and then you find yourself building patterns and habits which help take the fear out of whatever your Voldemort is.

Karyn Zuidhof, Calgary Psychologist

As a Registered Psychologist, I have experience helping people with a variety of concerns including, but not limited to stress, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, parenting, and relationships. Together, we will use cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), and collaborate to find the thoughts and actions creating obstacles in your life, test them out, and combat them to decide if they’re helping or hindering you. Most of all, I want to help you reach your potential, and make the way there a little easier.


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