18 June, 2010

Believe it or not, It's just me

Over the past few months, I have pondered the idea of “greatness.”  What is it to be “great?”  What is it to be a “hero?”  Perhaps even, what is it to be “brave?”

There are professions that are associated with being heroes – police, fire, medical, military… Those professions that are about stepping into harms way to protect and defend.  They are often professions that put the life of another above their own – or those who are willing to risk their lives for others.  These are brave people who are often called “heroes.”

While considering these ideas, I read Jay’s “Hero” last week.  The post immediately spoke to me in that I found myself singing the theme from a television show of the past “The Greatest American Hero.”  Reading Jays’ words helped clarify my own thoughts on what it is to be a “hero” or to be “great” or even to be “brave.” 

I have come to realize that people choose to do amazing things with their lives.  Some are called to the military or to serve in the police force or to perform to their highest potential in emergencies on a daily basis.  They save lives.  They defend the common good.  They put their own lives on the line. 

Other people are called to live a different life – they walk a different path.  There are people who risk for the environment.  Others devote their lives to children or to protecting animals.  Still others are all about peace.  Different lives; different paths, different choices. 

Books and movies and some of the people I know might suggest that prince charming or princess gorgeous is a hero – someone who saves them personally from *swoon* a life that they would rather not have.

How do we determine who is a “hero?”

It is a concept that most likely is defined differently by everyone – subjective in its nature.  We each probably have a general definition for “hero” and then we have a definition that is just ours allowing us to point to individuals and say “That is my hero.” 

I do think it is wonderful that we have people willing to risk their lives for others – willing to put themselves on the line saving people and providing a sense of safety and order to the world at large.  I do believe that there are other heroes – and they don’t wear uniforms nor do they take oaths.  They often don’t receive special training or any particular education. 

A few years ago I remember talking to a man who suggested that people often believe his grandparents to be heroes or to be great because of their lives during the depression and how they worked their way from that – pulling themselves “up from their boot straps.”  He questioned whether this was “great” or whether this was “life?”

I have been noted as a “hero” by people from my past because of all that I have done and accomplished despite my visual impairment.  Was I doing anything amazing?  Yes… I was living my life.  I made a choice to be myself and live my life vision challenges or not. 

So is a “Hero” someone who does what we believe we could not do ourselves – thus that person is heroic in our eyes?

When a person lives a life that scares us, risks fulfilling their dreams when we are afraid to do so, or pulls themselves up by their boot straps… Are these heroes?

In other words, given that we define who is and is not “our hero,” do we base that definition on our own experiences and beliefs?

For me, a hero is a little different.  As my life evolved, I have come to define hero as someone who does take the risks, someone who faces their internal fears and comes to terms with them, and someone who follows their own path over relying upon the expectations of society or others.  My heroes are those  who accept the conflicts and the challenges – and come out  of them with head held high and lessons learned or with the recognition of the opportunities that exist as a result of the conflict.  It is the person who is afraid of public speaking, yet works and risks and moves toward making that fear powerless.  It is the person who leaves the corporate world to pursue a dream or live in alignment with their integrity.  It is the person who lives consciously – with the understanding that we make our own choices and create as we go.  It is my dad who risks his job to stand up for his crew – who uses his voice to ensure that he is true to himself and his care for those around him.  It is my mom who has to face the fear of being alone at some point – with eyes open over hiding behind rose colored glasses.  It is my daughter who chooses to overcome her anger and emotions to speak her thoughts out loud even when those thoughts and feelings are the ones that scare her.  They are the animals who share our lives, love us, and teach us. 


People who look at themselves and make choices to live with integrity.  People who risk the love and companionship of others in order to be true to themselves and their paths.  Those who let go…

How ever one defines it, there are “heroes” in our midst.  They come in so many forms and colors and packages.  They are big and small, stand on two legs or four, or more.  They are often heroes to us without ever knowing how they have touched our lives or that they have done anything heroic.  

I have many heroes for many different reasons... and I am my own hero as I am just me.





Wilma Ham said...

OH TE, becoming who you are, knowing who you are, yes I love those heros.
And how great that you declare yourself one. How you describe heros is a lovely image I can aspire to, it is a lovely way to encourage me to live in my greatness.
And for me that is what life is about. Love Wilma

Tess The Bold Life said...

There is a new wonderful book out called "Heroes for my son." It's amazing and I'm getting a couple of them for my grandsons. This is what we need more of ordinary people doing the right thing...real heroes.

The Exception said...

Wilma – It is a wonderful thing to live as closely to your honest self as possible – and it can be quite a challenge. But I think we are all a hero and hope that we can be our own heroes somewhere along the way. It is like someone wrote a few posts ago – be your own friend… why not be your own hero too.

Tess – I have five nephews. I might have to check out that book. I never realized how difficult it is for people to choose love and that choosing this and walking in integrity is heroic until my life took its own turns and changes. I till take a look at the book!

Robin Easton said...

Oh my dear beautiful Exception!!! This is soooooooo touching. Do you know, as I was reading and you were asking who do see as a hero and why, I instantly thought of YOU as a hero. I KID YOU NOT!! I did not think that because I know a lot about your life and what you've been through. I know only a little of your life, through your blog and comments on mine. But I thought that because of WHO you are choosing to be. I recognized in you, right away, someone with a high level of integrity, courage, honesty, compassion, boldness, gutsy-ness, and a deep ability to love and protect those whom you love, those who are part of your "tribe", family, clan etc.

I have always felt such a kinship with you I guess because you reflect to me and model great strength of character. I feel safe in your presence.

My husband is another person who is like this. He is a hero in my eyes, for all the same reasons. He is brave even when he is scared, he cares deeply and watches out for those he loves. He is willing to face change and grow and be honest with himself and me. He doesn't run from life or himself or me, he doesn't abandon life or himself or those he loves. That is such a hero for me. Like you, I guess I could also say I am a hero for the same reasons.

ANYWAY...as I was reading I INSTANTLY thought of you as definitely a hero. This post is as beautiful as you. I can honestly say that I feel heartened that you are in the world. I am grateful for the hero's path that you choose to walk, even when it's not easy.

Thank you for being you. I am sending you a huge hug,


Jay said...

I really like your definition of "a hero". I think you really hit the nail on the head. I think anyone who lives in faith and courage is a hero. It can be extremely difficult to just be yourself, or to live your life according to *your* beliefs and desires instead of anyone else's, so the people who do that are definitely heroes.

Hmm. I may have to rethink myself to consider myself a hero based on that definition. Thanks for the promotion to hero status! :D

Mark said...

You are a hero! I enjoyed your thoughts on what constitutes a hero. I beleive a hero is defined by our own experience. I remember an episode of the old Dick Van Dyke show where Rob and Laura had the neighbors Milly and her husband Gerry over for a visit. Somehow there was a hypnotist at the gathering. When the hypnotized the neighbor Jerry, they asked him to describe the life of his hero. He began giving the biography of his hero, no one could recognize who he was describing and then his wife realized he was talking about his own life, he was his own hero. I saw that episode when I was 8 or 9 and it has always stuck with me. The greatest hero you have should be yourself!

The Exception said...

Robin - I have goose bumps! I have been on vacation for the past few weeks and am just reading the comments here. What a beautiful comment you have written. Thank you. Thank you...
Jay - Redefining "hero" is something I probably do fairly often as I grow and learn and find more of myself. You are a hero - and I beleive we are all heros as we evolve.
Mark - THat sounds like an episod worth seeing. We all can choose to be our own heros and live the lives we are meant to live - choosing our highest potential.