"Your past is not your future; you have the power to make new decisions for your life starting today."
- Deb Sofield

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Sometimes You Have to Be Your Own Hero

As I am winding down these weekly newsletters and podcasts, I have been looking through the past five years of files of the online version of my writing and reviewing all the themes that I have written about. As I scrolled through week after week of posts, one thing that struck me is the fact that I am drawn to a few themes. This is interesting since so much of my writing has been, in a very real sense, random–thoughts that just happened to pop in my mind (after a prayer for guidance) and then five, six or seven pages later, Shazam, and a newsletter appeared.

For those who have asked how I come up with a new thought weekly, I wish I had some magic formula, but alas, all I can tell you is that I sit down, say a prayer for wisdom, perhaps look through some files of quotes and then start writing. Sometimes the theme reminds me of stories from my childhood or my current life and work. As you know, I have tried many things, and those whacky ideas have given me fodder for the files of life that I fill with hope, laughter and a bit of wisdom (if I may be so bold to claim it).

I noticed that I like to write about

  • not giving up,
  • believing in yourself,
  • trusting your intuition and
  • knowing that you have value (no matter how you feel about yourself in this moment).

I’ve written over and over about the idea that you matter and your personhood is not only one-of-a-kind but also needed in the world today. Yes, against all odds, you have great value, so work through the pain, fight through the process and allow the journey to polish you into the bright star that you are. I know that may sound cheesy, but it is true. The more you go through the battle, the more you know what not to do next time and who to trust for your next adventure. If you didn’t fight through to success, you would never know the thrill of the victory lap even if you are running alone.

I also have a file of the responses that people have written me about my posts and newsletters; most every one of them is positive. A few swear I am talking/writing about them–how dare I put their foibles out in the open–but I don’t even know them. The majority of the notes are a simple thank you for a reminder that tomorrow will most likely be better or at least a bit clearer as they travel in the direction of their dreams.

All this reminiscing brought to mind another simple truth that is so important to remember, and it is this–no matter what you are going through, sometimes you have to be your own hero.

Yes, sometimes you have to be your own hero.

I’ll admit, there is a part of me that really hates that this is true for so many good people. When did the world and our friends and family fall away so much that they cannot or will not cheer you (or anyone else) on to victory, or at least to the finish line?

If that is where you find yourself today, let me remind you that it is that singleness of purpose that has made so many of you, my readers, into the amazing people, or should I say, heroes, that you are today.

Yes, many good people bore the scars either inwardly or outwardly, or both, but they kept pressing on because they knew that they had to be their own hero for their kids, for themselves or for the company because no one else would be showing up at the finish line with a trophy.

When I admit I detest that this has become such a part of the world we live in, I am not sugar-coating the hard truth. Finding, keeping and growing old with loyal, kind, loving friends and family is not easy in today’s hyper-sensitive, self-absorbed, opinionated, domineering, pompous, inflexible, self-important, broken, hot mess world. (Those are all the words I could think of.)

That being said, the way to survive and even thrive is to face the fact that in this life sometimes you have to be your own hero. And you know what? There is nothing wrong with that ideal if that is what it takes to keep you going forward.

Heroes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and people and pets and times and seasons. We’ve probably overused the word so much that we don’t have a good explanation of who or what exactly a hero is in today’s environment.

When I was a kid, Wonder Woman with Linda Carter was all the rage with my friends. She was smart, pretty and strong, and she upheld the ideal of truth and justice (and had the power with the bangles on her wrists to stop a speeding bullet) all the while wearing a bathing suit outfit with white heels. Seriously, who wears white heels to the battle but Wonder Woman?

Now, I’m not sure what characters my brothers looked up to (I know they sneaked a peek at Wonder Woman), but for them, heroes looked like Superman or Spiderman or some other buff hero who saved the day by the last frame of the comic book.

Ah, the good old days when you could spot a superhero by the cape they wore. Today’s heroes rarely wear a cape; most go by names like Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother, Teacher, Officer, Nurse and many others, and if you believe the ads, heroes now include Pizza-Makers.

Well, whatever visual picture comes to mind when you think of a hero, let me remind you to add yourself to that photo. A while back I posted a quote on Facebook that said, “If I asked you to name all the things that you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?” Ouch!

The truth is, I doubt anyone knows all you do to make life better for those you love and care for, and that is fine, but don’t be discouraged by lack of recognition. As long as you know what you’ve done, that should be reward enough.

The idea of being your own hero goes to the simple issue of belief–belief in yourself that you have what it takes to make life better, belief that you are prepared to handle what comes your way, even when it hurts, and the belief to know, as my history professor would say before a test, that this too shall pass away, so you can move on to the next chapter of your life.

In our social-media-obsessed world, we don’t have time for heroes. We have the twitter mentality of time for sensations, but they usually flame out by the next season of America’s Got Talent, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire or Dancing With the Stars. No, a hero is someone who stays until the job is done, who provides a shoulder to cry on when the breakdown happens, who by their presence says all that needs to be said without saying a word. Those are the heroes we need now more than ever.

What I find so interesting is that most people would never consider themselves a hero until the opportunity presents itself for them to act. I think of Sully Sullivan who landed the plane in the Hudson River safely or Kyle Carpenter who was cited for his bravery while on a tour of Afghanistan and so many others who had a day or two of recognition and now go on quietly with their lives.

We can all think of great people in history who by their actions made our lives better, but to bring it closer to home–your home–no matter what the outside world says about you or your position in life, let me be the friend who reminds you that sometimes you have to be your own hero so others can see a welcoming light and find their way to safety.

There is nothing wrong with being your own hero, in fact, it just might be the best thing you can be since it will fully encompass all you are and ever will be.

Let me close with this quote from the Disney movie, Hercules, “A true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart.”

And, frankly, if you were to ask me, that is the essence of being a true-blue hero, someone whose heart is in the right place beating for the betterment of others and themselves.

Remember, sometimes you have to be your own hero, so put on your cape and go save the world.

Thanks for reading. If you have a friend who needs to hear today’s message please forward this email and suggest they sign up! I am reading this week’s podcast in the link below – it is a 13-minute listen. You can listen now or download for later. Download all my podcasts from iTunes, Stitcher, Podkicker or Soundcloud. I am now publishing on Medium – please follow me here

Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts. - Winston Churchill