Ever since human beings have existed on this planet, people have enjoyed listening to stories. Stories always have a hero or heroine – a person whom the events of the story unfold around. As the story moves along, the hero overcomes problems which develop him or her into a better, wiser person.
As children, we all grow up on tales of super-heroes, like Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Catwoman. These heroes often use super-natural powers to overcome problems or fight conflicts.
We always want them to win, to master their problematic circumstances, and in doing so, help make the world a better place for us too.
But heroes and heroines aren’t always people with super-natural powers and they aren’t always people in stories.
Have you ever looked-up to a real person in your life that you think is just fabulous because they have a character trait that you deeply admire? What is that character trait? Is it courage in the face of something frightening? Is it kindness or goodness? Is it physical strength? Maybe it is mental toughness?
Whatever it is, think about why you admire that person so deeply. Sometimes we admire traits in others because we feel that we do not have that particular trait ourselves.
In actual fact though, we often feel admiration for someone when what they do is something we wish we could do too. That feeling indicates a value we hold very dear.
Heroes in stories trigger our admiration because what they can accomplish, especially in the case of super-heroes, is so obviously remarkable (e.g. Superman can effortlessly fly around the planet and can halt planes in mid-flight).
Here on Planet Reality though, the remarkable things that people achieve are usually not as dramatic. One of the character traits that makes Superman act super is his tendency to always want to protect people. Protectiveness is something we often feel toward people whom we love, and it is a heroic trait that lives within us.
The next time you find yourself feeling an intense admiration for someone, whether it is in real life or in a story, think carefully about what the traits are that you admire so much.
Heroes point us to character traits that we strongly value and would like to have too. We can cultivate those traits in ourselves, which can result in us becoming a hero – either to ourselves or to someone else!