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Be Your Own Hero: three behaviors we see in heros

What do you think of when you read the word “hero”? You may imagine a superhero in a cape, or a shining greek god like figure who saves people, so...

What do you think of when you read the word “hero”? You may imagine a superhero in a cape, or a shining greek god like figure who saves people, some people may even imagine a sandwich (yum). So what is a hero actually? A hero is a person who is admired and acknowledged for their remarkable abilities. It could be someone who goes above and beyond to make positive contributions to society.  Many times we don’t imagine a hero as being just like everyone else, but someone who stands out amongst others. We want to drop the cape and mask and talk about our everyday superpowers. 

Psychologist Philip Zimbardo studies and discusses heroism in great lengths. In an article he presents his findings about heroism. “Heroism is a concern for other people in need—a concern to defend a moral cause, knowing there is a personal risk, done without expectation of reward.”

“One in five—20 percent—qualify as heroes, based on the definition of heroism I provide above. Seventy-two percent report helping another person in a dangerous emergency. Sixteen percent report whistle blowing on an injustice. Six percent report sacrificing for a non-relative or stranger. Fifteen percent report defying an unjust authority. And not one of these people has been formally recognized as a hero.” How does one become their own hero? There are three top behaviors that we see in the heroes among us. 

Be confident in your choices and focused on yourself 

Owning your choices, past and present is hard. Most heroes have regrets, fear and doubt. These are all natural feelings and there is space for them. Once you can take an honest look at your past mistakes or regrets you can truly heal and move forward from them, without them being skeletons in your closet or things that you still obsess over.  

The first step in owning your past choices is acknowledging the feelings of regret or doubt about your past choices, reflecting on the situation. You then evaluate your choice and analyze why you made it. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that mistakes are normal and we cannot live without them. Give yourself time to heal and start making a new set of realistic goals or a plan for the future. Allow yourself to revisit the negative feelings when they arise in the future but do not let them become obsessive. Regret can cause emotional and physical health effects. 

Also, if you’re constantly focusing on other people and comparing your story to the ones of others, you will lose sight of yourself and your progress. It is so easy to overestimate the successes, see only the perfection and underestimate the struggles and failures of those around us.  The one thing you can have a true perspective on, are the choices you make, and the results of those choices that you see everyday.

If you’re still struggling, a mental health professional can guide you in the process of letting go of regret and moving forward from things in your past.  Being your own hero means being confident in your choices and trusting yourself to make better ones in the future, while allowing room for mistakes and failure. 

Be accountable - do what you say you’re going to do!

Whether it’s setting realistic goals for yourself or making commitments to others, being reliable, dependable, and accountable are top heroic qualities. The easiest to break commitments are ones we make to ourselves, and it’s these personal ones that are actually the most frequent and important. 

How many times do we set our alarm early to workout in the morning and then snooze instead? Or promise ourselves we won’t have the late night snack and then make an excuse in the kitchen before bed? These little promises we break to ourselves are sending subconscious messages to yourself that you are not trustworthy, and that your promises are breakable. Don’t break promises to yourself or others. Knowing your “why”, your purpose for doing things and making the decisions you do will keep you focused, and more accountable. 

Be mindful of your inner dialogue

We all talk to ourselves, some more than others, but are we listening to what we are saying? Studies show yes, we have a stream of thoughts going through our heads constantly in an inner dialogue.  Sometimes our thoughts are about rational things and logic and sometimes our thoughts are being run by the emotional side of our brains. While chronic illness can’t always be met with a smile, speak kindly to yourself as much as possible. When your inner dialogue constantly turns to the negative you might be self sabotaging, unmotivated, and unrealistic. 

Overall...

Being a hero is about you using your strengths to make outstanding contributions to society by being strong yourself. You are propelled with your confident choices, accountable nature, mindful inner dialogue or many other heroic qualities.  Be your own hero and a hero to others as a member of our community Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together. What makes you heroic is that you are striving to contribute to the betterment of yourself and others.