Be Your Own Hero
Are you going to be the one to stand up for yourself, to be your own hero or will you leave that duty for someone else?
There came a time in my life, I hit some serious depression. The quarter-life crisis was intense for me. I made a whole lot of poor choices and pursued lousy relationships that never gave me anything in return for the best part of a decade.
I was pushed down in low self-esteem and anger I didn’t really understand, so my choices were often self-demeaning. Also, I was looking for a daddy figure to compensate for the father love I never had.
I was trying to fill a hole in my heart, that void and emptiness that felt like it went right through my body and out the other side. I felt mildly ashamed all the time, like everyone who looked at me could see straight through me because I lacked substance; I lacked a certain kind of happiness. However at the time, I only had a vague idea of what might be at the heart of my pain and even less idea how to pull myself out of it.
Epiphanies can come in strange ways. One afternoon I walked into a room at the university and someone from a previous class had left a few words on the whiteboard. I don’t know who, the context or why those words had been left there, but they hit me:
Are you going to be the hero of your own life or are you going to leave that role for someone else?
I was spellbound. I wrote the question down, mediatated and dwelt on it.
I started to wonder about life as a personal hero’s journey for every one of us. I suspected being your own hero might have something to do with championing yourself, developing your strengths and being kinder and braver.
But it wasn’t until I hit my rock bottom in my thirties — a marriage breakup, the loss of my new love to cancer, and all the attendant nightmares, that a deeper understanding of being the hero of my own life dawned on me.
I understood that we don’t actually know how strong we are until we face up to challenges. Rather than wait for life to inevitably test us with hardships, we can save a lot of time and pain by learning to be our own hero, in good times as well as bad.
Own your decisions.
However painful, mistake-riddled, dirty and moth-eaten life might feel, start by owning where you’re at and acknowledging the choices that helped get you there. It’s the way to begin to make better choices to get you to a better place.
Once you admit your weaknesses and mistakes in a kind way, at least to yourself, you can plan to move on from them rather than staying mired. You can end the dirty little secret of beating yourself up with self-criticism and digging a deeper hole into shame and self-pity.
You can be the best, if you own up to your behaviours and stand up for yourself to make you a better person.