There are times when the world we inhabit seems to be quite a scary place. We are, sometimes, presented with a continuous streak of horrible days that just seem to get from bad to worse. There are some days where we can’t find even one reason to smile. It becomes worse when we turn to some people with the hope of getting cheered up and, instead, end up getting our spirits dashed down and completely crumpled. As a fan of the Harry Potter series, I use the term “dementor” to explain the existence of such people. I am aware that J.K. Rowling devised the concept of “dementors” as a metaphor for depression, but I am going to exercise some creative liberties and go ahead to use them as apt metaphors for people who bring us down through their toxicity, negativity and other tools like gaslighting.
For people not familiar with the series, according to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban:
“Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk the earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope and happiness out of the air around them…Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy feeling will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself…soulless and evil. You will be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life.”
Have you encountered such people in your life? There are some people who shove us towards the shores of our own fears and limiting beliefs far away from the uncharted territories of our true, inner self. We strive enormously to live up to their expectations but no matter how hard we try, we never seem to be good enough. It is in those moments of anguish that we start questioning ourselves. Such people create an atmosphere in which nothing good can thrive and you seriously start believing that life is over. The horrifying part is that such people are not rare in number – there are so many of them that it is difficult to completely wipe them out.
There are times when I believe that I am the most bizarre and the most flawed person alive. It usually happens when I turn to these dementors in order to get a reality-check. Instead of showing me the mirror, these dementors validate my negative beliefs by accentuating my faults. At the end of every meeting with such creatures, I am left feeling completely empty, depleted off all my energies. I cannot seem to reason with them because they only hear things they want to hear. What do you do with these dementors who just feed off your happiness?
Luckily, the world is not inhabited by such creatures alone. In the course of our life-time, we come across some people who always bring out the best in us. They put their arms around us and love us even when we aren’t really very lovable. They accept us totally and love us unconditionally to such an extent that we feel all our shortcomings have been washed away into obliviousness, thanks to their care, support and concern. These people stand by our side, conjuring up the amazingly effective Patronus charm to protect us from the vile dementors. The Patronus charm conjures a magical guardian that is a projection of all of one’s most positive feelings. Usually, the guardian that is produced by this charm takes the shape of an animal with which it shares the deepest affinity. According to the books, it is extremely difficult to master this spell and when I reflect on this, I can understand why. It is very difficult to show a ray of light to someone who is immersed in a world of darkness. The light at the other end of the tunnel starts petrifying them – they were once a part of it until everything was shattered. They know what it feels like to lose everything that caused them bliss and are now at peace with their pain. They fear travelling down that road again.
It is extremely difficult to love a self-loathing person. It is even more difficult to accept people who have rejected themselves. I am fortunate to have a few people in my life who have never given up on me even when I showed no signs of getting better. I am sure all of us have such wonderful people in our space – we just forget to count our blessings and we often fail to give these people the credit they deserve.
You may have only a handful of them in your life but you know they will not hesitate in pulling out their magical wands to conjure up the Patronus charm to protect you when you are in need. With such people in your life, the dementors can never dream of occupying even a tiny corner. And if you are into specificities, remember that the book says that you need just one specific happy memory – just one – to defeat hordes of dementors. That’s the power of the Patronus!
Life is beautiful and it has its fair share of ups and downs. You will always encounter people who will try to bring you down but you will also have those keeping a lookout for you ensuring that no matter how rough things get, you don’t break. We are all human beings and, unlike machines, it isn’t that easy to fix us when we are broken. But with a little help from such stunning people, we all get by. Today, make it a point to thank those people for trusting you when you had no one by your side and let them know that you would do the same for them.
Let’s make our lives and the lives of our near and dear ones dementor-free!
P.S. If I had an actual Patronus, it would be a silver unicorn with purple hair neatly set in place with pink tic-tac clips. What would your Patronus look like?