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From The Vault: Get To Know Your Inner Hero

The Victorians called fairy tales “wonder tales” and it’s easy to see why. These profound fables are filled with magic, and symbolism that resonates within the soul. More than simple stories of good versus evil, they use archetypes that are not only embedded in our subconscious but also evident in the universal subconscious, conjuring up feelings that we can all identify with on some level. They help us tap into our primal nature and rediscover the latent power within. These tales can deliver salient lessons and trigger the subconscious mind into action.

At the heart of every fairy tale is a journey. Whether it’s a physical journey covering distance and time or something more emotional, it’s still a path with a start and a finish and lots of adventures in between. Usually this journey is undertaken by the central character – the hero or the heroine, or both, as in the case of Hansel and Gretel. Almost always that character grows and changes as they face their fears, find their fortune or win the heart of the beautiful princess. But before they can do any of this they must take that first step. They must make a leap of faith and step out into the wide blue yonder. Like Dick Whittington off to seek his fortune in London where the streets were reputedly paved with gold, the hero must strike out into the unknown.

To get to grips with your own heroic nature, you must first discover what the hero means to you on a personal level. Experience and background will shape your viewpoint on this.

Consider the role of the hero in fairy tales. What sort of qualities do you associate with this character? Make a list of the first five words that spring to mind.

Look at the words you’ve written and ask yourself if you have these qualities or if you’d like to have them. Next to each word write down an action – something you can do in your everyday life that would help you develop this quality. For example, if you’ve chosen the word “adventurous”, then think about how you’d integrate that trait into your life. For example, you might take an alternative route to work or try something new such as eating a different type of food or going to the opera if you’ve never been. Create an action plan to bring out your inner hero and pin it to your notice board. Every time you do something from the list, tick it off and add something new so that it becomes an on-going process.

The hero isn’t a passive role. He makes decisions, sometimes on the spur of the moment, and he doesn’t withdraw. He goes for what he wants and reacts to circumstance.

Now ask yourself these questions:

Am I active or passive?
Do I give up easily or do I rise to the challenge?
Do I make the best of a situation or do I walk away?

We often fail to act because we’re scared. We fear the unknown and prefer to stay safely lodged in the status quo, even if it means we forego our dreams. But if you look at the narrative pattern of any story, there is always a moment of change – a point of crisis that turns everything on its head. This is the catalyst and although it can be uncomfortable and even scary, it’s a necessary part of any escapade. So, if you want to turn your life into an adventure, you need to face your fears.

If you want to turn your life into an adventure, you need to face your fears.”


If you’re struggling to feel heroic about life, try these top tips and you’ll soon have a spring in your step.

  • Go for a walk. Doing something physical naturally lifts your spirits, but you can take this a step further by focusing on your movements. Notice the rhythm that you’re tapping out with your feet as they hit the ground, and increase the speed. Feel the soles of your feet connect with the ground. Know that you’re supported by the earth and by moving in this way you can go anywhere and achieve anything.
  • Create your own theme tune. Pick a song that makes you feel like dancing and play it in your mind whenever you’re feeling low. When you hear the song, think of a happy memory – a time when you felt really positive and inspired. You’ll instantly associate that memory with the tune and this will give you a boost.
  • Repeat this affirmation: “I feel inspired, rejuvenated and ready to take on the world!” To reinforce this powerful message add an action, such as punching your fist in the air or jumping up and down. No one else needs to see this, but it will help you “feel” the message in the words.

Edited extract from Fairy Tales Can Change Your Life by Alison Davies is out now. Published by Watkins, priced £12.99.