TLC’s “What Not to Wear”: A Hero’s Journey

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Whenever I happen to catch TLC's What Not to Wear, I find myself fascinated by the dramatic impact of a one-week style makeover (no weight loss, no plastic surgery, just a makeover) on my perception of the guest contributor (as the makeover–ee is referred to), and especially on the guest contributor's perception of herself.

I must confess, however, that as the now-stylish, newly confident guest contributor returns home and I get a glimpse of her interacting with her loved ones, I wonder….

…not at whether her transformation is sustainable (apparently, they typically are), but at how her loved ones, the swans in her pond (those that nominated her) will, over the long-term, respond to this ugly duckling-turned-swan.

Said another way, now that her family and friends have encouraged her to dare to dream, will these same relationships become the source of difficulty on her Road of Trials?

Definition: The Road of Trials, which comes after the hero has accepted the Call to Adventure (her friends nominating her, and her agreeing to the What Not to Wear makeover), is always a succession of experiences, which if we survive, amplifies our consciousness, allowing us to find new strength and power.

Do her supporters intentionally become detractors?

In most cases, I would say not.

But, the fact is, that every one of our relationships has a unique dynamic to it — a symbiosis, or an equilibrium. When we dare to dream, and to act on our dreams, we upset that equilibrium. Just think back to how Andie's friends reacted to her in The Devil Wears Prada. (This is not to say, that former ugly ducklings never become preening Miss Swans, but for today, let's assume this is not the case.)

When our loved ones start to complain about how we've changed, do we discard them like trash out the car window as we race down our dare-to-dream highway?

I certainly hope not.

But because difficulties are — well — difficult, here are some thoughts on what we might do:

1. Pause for a moment (could be a very long moment), and be grateful to our friends and family who have encouraged us, who gave us a grand send-off as we began to dream.

2. Consider the possibility that, after so many weeks, months, even years, of a loved one being our hero of support, it is now time to return the favor.

3. Persevere. If we knew it was right then, and we still know it's right, we continue to do. We just know that it's hard. And then we observe: how we feel, how we respond, and what we are learning. As we face difficulties, we ready ourselves to achieve our dream.

Because we will.

If you are currently daring to dream, has it already happened that someone who was initially a supporter has now become a detractor? Does he/she even realize it?

Is it possible that you are exacerbating the situation when your loved one may simply need to be reassured?

What can you do to express gratitude, and possibly become a hero of support as your loved one now dares to dream?

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