Friday, May 6, 2011

On Being A Hero

I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero 'til the morning light
He's gotta be sure
And it's gotta be soon
And he's gotta be larger than life.

-"Holding Out For A Hero," remake by Frou Frou

Who's gonna fight for the weak?
Who's gonna make 'em believe?
I've got a hero, I've got a hero
Living in me

-"Hero," by Skillet

I can't, but I will
No I can't, but I will
I will sustain you
As long as I can bear

-"Sustain You," by Greenwheel

I've been a hero. It's not easy being one, but it's something everyone can, and should, do. At least once. Done well.

What too many people who haven't done it don't realize it that it doesn't take much. It takes being kind, open, and forgiving. It has nothing to do with money, ability, skill, talent, or luck. You just have to be able to look someone in the eye, help them stare down what pains them, and help them through it. A figurative crutch. 

The best kind of hero helps someone help themselves.

I'm a writer. That's my way. I read, see, view, experience the fringes of other people's struggles and pains. And I write. I write support, empathy, community, peace. I write different points of view, ideas they might not have thought of. I write to help people and to help myself.

That's the other thing: yes, trying to help others is a very selfish thing to do. If Ayn Rand was right about nothing else, she was right about this: to help others in the greatest possible way, you must be selfish.

The most selfish thing you can want is to feel good about yourself and work toward making the best self-image you can. That's not something you can do alone. Well, you can, sure, but not only is that not the only way, it's not even the best way. The best way to make yourself feel good about yourself is to make others feel good about you, and their approval helps invalidate all of the excessive judgments that we bring down on ourselves.

I'm certain I'm not the only one to say that my own greatest critic is myself.

So be a hero, if not for someone else, then for yourself.