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How Rudolph Became Psychologically Flexible and Saved the Day

My all time favorite holiday story is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The best rendition is the 1965 stop motion animated TV special. It is still going strong and shows us what we need to know to be psychologically flexible.


Rudolph of course is the young reindeer with the shiny nose. He wants to be like the other reindeer but his shiny red nose appears to be getting in the way of things. So what happens? His parents try to cover it up so he can fit in .  It doesn’t work and the herd is not kind. Even Santa does not want to stamp his ticket.


It doesn’t get much worse than being rejected by the herd, Rudolph sets off on a journey. He is joined by Hermey, an aspiring dentist trapped in an elf’s body. They form a shared purpose and Hermey declares , “Let’s be independent together!”. They are two outliers out on an adventure, both realizing they want to be who they are. They go on a hero’s quest, meet up with prospector Yukon Cornelius, tangle with the abominable snowman, and end up in the land of misfit toys (my favorite part). Here they meet others just like them and their shared purpose grows. While Rudolph wants to help, fear and self-doubt continue to show up inside of him. His journey continues until he chooses to return home. His travels have helped make him grow and  with the help of his fellow outcasts he rescues his family and saves the day with the same shiny nose he was previously ridiculed for.


Rudolph knew he had to be himself. He learned to accept himself, even if it meant being judged weird by others. He also had to notice his own self-judgements. Along the way he developed a shared purpose with other fellow “weirdos” and together they discovered the secret that we are all a little weird and that it is okay, even catchy once you get the hang of it.


In these difficult times, we are all feeling a little weird, maybe a lot. We can notice and even accept that it will continue to be part of us. We can also notice that we a part of a shared purpose of doing our best to help each other through the fog. Let’s be weird togeth

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