Definition of hero from Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
1 a : a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability b : an illustrious warrior c : a person admired for achievements and noble qualities d : one who shows great courage
Since I have been involved in coaching over the past six years, the term, hero has come up constantly. Before coaching, heroes were just mythological characters to me, or those who made the press with saving lives. Today I see them in a much more personal light. I would suggest today that you are no less a hero than the ones of myth or the ones we read about in the papers or online.
How can this be true you ask? I am not suggesting that we diminish what heroism is by saying we are all heroes, yet the longer I live, the more I find it true that indeed we all have opportunities laid before us to rise to hero status. I see countless examples of how this is true.
It may be because of the age that I am, that I see heroes everywhere. I have a friend whose spouse has been diagnosed with a difficult, chronic illness. She retired not long ago and instead of whining about how her life has changed and is not what she expected, she takes each day as it comes, meeting the challenges that arise and taking the joy in as it shows up. Looking from the outside, her life could look discouraging yet as she lives this life that has shown up, she is meeting it with cooperative acceptance.
I have watched my mother for the past twenty years caring for her mother. It is not an easy task on many days, being the support for a woman of 102 who is lucid a great deal of the time and blind. My grandmother gets bored, and frustrated and my mother handles things in a loving and understanding way. No one would have guessed that my mom would spend her retirement years caring for her mom. The joy filled side of this challenge is that my mom loves to spend time interacting with other residents at the home where my grandmother lives. She enjoys entertaining people and uses some of her time there to do just that.
I could give countless examples of people rising to difficult circumstances. So, now think of yourself. What is going on in your life right now, or in the past? Give yourself some credit here and acknowledge the hero in you. Remember where you have risen to the difficult occasion, to be more than you have ever been or dreamed of being, doing the right and sometimes the only thing available to you in meeting an enormous life challenge. This challenge may be one you are now facing personally with an illness or a tough circumstance within yourself.
If you have not yet been tested, don’t worry, a challenge will arrive some day and ask you to find the hero in you. You will rise to that test and grow to the depth of that challenge. You probably won’t enjoy going through the experience most of the time, but in the end you will benefit from it in some meaningful way.
When we look closely at these challenges, and do not resist, we discover the gifts hidden there for us. For me it was finding an inner strength that I did not know existed in me. I also found another side of my loved ones – the vulnerable and most dear parts, which I might otherwise have never been given the privilege of seeing. I can remember in the midst of the darkest moments, finding such sweet gems of joy and love, which I will hold dear for the rest of my life.
Dropping resistance to “what is” is an important piece to surviving our hero’s journeys. Allowing things to be as they are is the kindest thing we can do for ourselves in difficult times. Wishing things were different puts us is a state of stress which can cause us to suffer and possibly to become ill. Byron Katie (www.byronkatie.com) is a writer, teacher and creator of “The Work” – a method of inquiry into the thoughts that cause us to suffer. According to her, when we resist “what is” we suffer, but only 100% of the time. When we drop the resistance and come to understand our thoughts we can elevate our lives above suffering. We can find ourselves in a place of acceptance and even to a level where we can find joy in spite of life’s rough spots.
We can do this. In fact, we must do this. We are here on this life journey of learning and loving, as tough as it is at times.
So, welcome to this terrible, awful, wonderful, insightful experience of being human. Hello you hero.