We all need a hero don’t we. We’ve fantasied about it our whole childhood. Disney and comic books are structured around heroic acts. Every movie has a hero of some sort and they are the basis for every TV show. People over come, it’s what they do, and usually they save someone else in the process. These days, in the real world however, it’s hard to look around and see where the heroes are hiding. Sure you will see news stories about heroic acts performed by first responders and every day people, but where is your hero? Maybe you have your own personal hero, if so you are incredibly lucky, but there is a danger of becoming too reliant on our own personal heroes. Inevitably they will, at some point, let you down. It’s not their fault. We tend to put unfair expectations on our heroes, even if we don’t voice them out loud. Its human nature, we all want to feel safe and our heroes make this a reality. Are we being fair to them however? It’s a lot of pressure on a person to fill this role 24/7. So, why not become our own hero? I’m not saying that we should shut the door on the heroic acts of the people in our lives, I’m saying that instead of expecting them to fill the role, we need fill it ourselves and appreciate those amazing acts from others when they occur.
What does it mean to be your own hero? It means that you help your self in every challenge that your life throws at you. Take responsibility for that challenge and for your role in creating it. I guarantee that you will never have a situation occur in your life that you have not had some role in creating or in its continuation. Even if it is your emotional reaction to the situation and how you process it, there is something that you have the ability to manipulate and change for the better. Sometimes the best role you can take on is to sit with the situation and feel all the feelings. There are certainly times where being your own hero means simply making the space to feel, love and enjoy all life has to offer.
Here are some dos and don’t for being your own hero.
- Be honest, respectful and reliable. Communicate with your people. Let them know what is happening to you and how you are fixing it. Ask for input and advice, be thankful even if you don’t agree. They are opening up to you at your request which can be a difficult thing to do, reciprocate by being thankful. It is amazing what a little gratitude can do for a relationship, those bonds are instantly strengthened every time you are openly and expressively thankful for the people you life. Additionally while you are being appreciative of your people you can trust that you are not isolating them while you are dealing with your stuff.
- Be courageous! Surprise yourself with the courageousness of you. Briefly reflect on times in your life where you have been courageous and it has paid off. You need to trust in your ability to stand up and do what needs to be done, to do what is right.
- Look at a situation objectively to determine your role in it. It’s so easy to blame someone else for negative situations, but the reality is you probably had a role in creating it and you absolutely will have a role in resolving it. If you have the courage back up your own decisions, actions or inactions you will gain belief in your ability to handle yourself as you work through it. Once you take responsibility for your role you can take responsibility for creating the situation that you really want to be in.
- Problem solve the situation and generate solutions. I love using mind maps to problem solve and generate. It allows me to see the situation from all angles and generate creative, outside of the box solutions. Acknowledge that you are human and will make mistakes, that it is ok to screw up. This is how you learn, grow, develop and become unstoppable. Mistakes are never a problem, it’s how you react to the mistakes that turn them into problems. My vote, is that you make lots of mistakes as frequently as possible so that you can become better at what you are trying to accomplish.
- Practice kindness for all beings and your self. Why not try committing a random act of kindness? Make a ritual of it and see what kind of reactions you get. Focus primarily on how good it feels to be kind for kindness sake.
- Practice gratitude. Gratitude can reprogram your brain and change your negative outlook on life to a positive one in just a few weeks. That is the power of gratitude. Expressing real, heartfelt gratitude toward others strengthens your bond and encourages them to be supportive. A person who feels appreciated is a person who will have your back.
- Take care of yourself (Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) It’s ok to seek out support but it’s up to you to take that first step. No one else will do that for you. Make it a priority to develop your resiliency. It will help to deal with problems head-on and resolve them quickly.
- Be a leader; take control of the situations in your life that require work. You do not need to be in a position of leadership to be a leader. Lead by example, take initiative, be the problem solver and just jump in to get stuff done.
- Be consistent and follow through. This builds trust in your self and generates trust from others. I’m particularly guilty of not following through on what I start. It is something I have to work at every single day. Knowing this I can recognize when I’m letting followthrough slide. This doesn’t mean I won’t procrastinate, but it does mean I have fewer unfinished projects.
- Place blame, on anyone. Simply analyze how to improve the situation. Placing blame doesn’t fix anything and tears down the relationship you have with the person. You will need put in at least twice the effort to start rebuilding your relationship than you did to point that finger and tear it down. Why make more work for your self, every one makes mistake, have compassion and carry on.
- Alienate the people who care for you. People need to feel needed. They need to take care of the people they love. By robbing them of the need to care for and help you, your are disrespecting the relationship you have. Heroes are not disrespectful.
- Say no to help. Help is a gift that should never be turned away unless you are certain that it comes with a price you are not willing to pay. If it’s genuine then take it.
- Dwell on what you should have done, focus instead on what you can do. Dwelling keeps you in the past and will snow ball any negative feelings you already have. Nor should you focus too much on the future either. It is good to have a plan and goals, but living in the now keeps you present enough to focus on the situation at hand.
- Seek praise. Real heroes are unsung. If your spend all your time seeking praise then you are acting out of self-centredness. I’m sorry but it is true. This is a character weakness and will not hero behaviour.
- Avoid your battles. Tackle them head on and follow through to completion.
- Don’t become complacent. Inaction is the choice to remain stuck in your situation, you will have no one to blame but your self if you allow the situation to continue to take control of how you live your life.
If something is not adding to the value of your life, who you are as a person and what you want to accomplish, then it is up to you to change it! It’s not anyone else’s responsibility to make you happy, content or satisfied with your life. That responsibility my friends is yours alone. If you receive the incredibly generous gift of help along the way, be grateful for it, for in that moment you are being appreciated and cared for by another human being. That is a beautiful thing! Perhaps while you are being your own hero you can reach out, commit a random act of kindness and be a hero to someone else. You have so much capacity for greatness and the world needs to see it. The world needs more real heroes to balance out the negativity that creeps in. I’m a firm believer that the good heroic natures of the human race far outweighs negative acts that we are inundated with every day in the media. Why not fight that negativity by being your won hero and a hero to others. So dust off that cape, get out there and kick ass!!!