Most of us wake up each day, wash our faces and bodies, make ourselves presentable and go out into the world. Often, despite what is going on with us, fights with children or partners, mounting bills, a challenging boss or colleagues, problematic neighbors, or physical ailments, we smile at others, nod acknowledgment, say excuse me, and in general behave in an amicable manner with whomever we encounter. If this sounds like you then you are a hero, and it is important that you acknowledge that daily, despite the numerous things that come at you, you shoulder them and act in an heroic manner.
Of course there are gigantic heros: a person who runs into a burning building and saves lives; someone donating one of their organs for a stranger; a teacher who does not give up on a student who is failing, but keeps encouraging and giving him the extra helps he needs; a single mother who works two jobs, goes to night school all while raising three children; the woman who is afraid of heights, yet climbs on the roof to rescue her cat. They are all heroes. So why don't we recognize these people? Why don't we recognize and acknowledge our own heroic deeds?
At some point a hero was stolen from us. We were made to believe that a hero was a knight, someone larger than life doing larger than life deeds. But, truly what act is larger than life? That daily, each of is being a good human being by loving and taking care of the big or little people in our lives, by being polite and courteous to everyone we meet, doing what is necessary to maintain our health and going out each day to meet life with optimism, is heroic. In these economic times, when so many have lost jobs and IRAs, when so many have lost homes and alternatives, when so many are hungry and schools are closing, that we continue in a civilized manner is heroic.
It is time for us to reclaim the hero in ourselves, to look at our lives and our daily acts, and say with pride, even haughtiness, I am a hero today. I dropped my kids off at school. I told them I loved them. I thanked my husband. I smiled at the clerk at the supermarket, asked him how was his day, and listened attentively to his response. I went home and cooked dinner. I ate with my family. Yes, I had some awkward moments: I shouted at one of my children, but apologized. I gritted my teeth when my bossed made the eight demand at 4:15, but I breathed through it and got it done anyway. I switched lanes without signaling, cutting off a driver, but waved and hoped he understood and forgave me for not paying closer attention. Yes, I had some moments, but mostly I was decent so I was heroic today.
If daily we began to see ourselves as heros, how might such a shift in perception grow us? If daily we acknowledged the heroism in our colleagues, children and others, how might such honor empower them? If daily we saw our world, the earth, as heroic for sustaining us, how might that cause us to care and respond to her more tenderly? Be the hero that you are today and every day for yourself. Allow the hero that is inside of you to step forward for the world. Live your life from the point of view of a hero and watch how you help to make your community a more nurturing place. I applaud the hero in you. I salute the hero that I am. We are everyday heroes.
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