The Story of Your Life: What If You Have Been a Hero the Whole Time?
One of the greatest fears of a human is that they didn’t, don’t, or won’t matter.
Every now and then, a thought or two will pass through your mind.
“What if my life is not special enough? What if my abilities are just average? What if I haven’t achieved anything remotely great so far?”
We all strive for significance. It’s a fundamental need of every person. Often, we hide this need behind a seemingly more noble cause, such as leaving something behind for future generations or making the world a better place. Yet, it’s rarely the case.
Even people who act, and possibly think, as sheer altruists, do get something out of their selfless behavior.
Suppressing my needs in order to fulfill the needs of others can, indeed, bring me pleasure, which may stem from the sense of some kind of personal achievement and/or from comparing myself to those who (unlike me) are by far not that disciplined.
By this, I’m not trying to say that feeling good by doing good is wrong. Not at all. I’m trying to say that we all need to matter somehow and one of the better ways to attain that is by contributing to our society and environment, even if on a moderate scale.
When someone is gifted with a special ability, they should share it for the benefit of other people, otherwise such gift loses its purpose altogether. Now the question standing in front of you is: “What is your unique ability?”
I firmly believe that every person has one. At least one ability or skill which makes them special and which gives them an opportunity to be a superhero every once in a while.
Our image of superheroes has been distorted by popular culture, where we see such individuals wearing a crafty costume and doing feats beyond what any average human can do. But when we look closer, all superheroes share much more common traits:
- They use their skills and abilities to help other people.
- Those other people rarely thank them for it.
- The other people often fear them, hate them, or mock them for standing out.
- They get hurt all the time, sometimes pretty badly.
- There are moments when they feel very lonely.
- They consider it to be their obligation to put their powers into use every time it’s necessary.
- They struggle (socially and psychologically) for being different.
- They often wish to be just like everyone else, to avoid the pain of constant fighting.
- Their story is never an easy one.
You never meet a superhero (whether on the movie screen or in real life) who has had the luxury of following a straightforward and comfortable journey since they were born. Most of you who are reading this probably feel the same way.
Now, regardless of what you think of your knowledge, skills, and abilities, do you recognize yourself in more than one of those? Have you ever felt that you are doing your absolute best in life, but you’re receiving quite little in return? Do you feel tired and unmotivated to go on at times?
Being a superhero is not a glorious job; however, a genuinely special person doesn’t ask themselves if people deserve the good they can offer.
And that’s possibly the major sticking point for most people. The fact that we like to be admired and respected for our good deeds, which prevents us from exploring and cultivating our special abilities should they not be adequately recognized.
What is it that you’re truly good at?
If you feel like replying, “Nothing extraordinary,” then think harder.
What do you know or can do at least a bit better than the others around?
What type of issues do people approach you with?
In what areas are you usually able to provide help?
What are you known for?
What activities give you pleasure even if you’re not rewarded for them in any way?
It can be something that seems tiny, or even banal, in your eyes, but which can mean a lot for other people, even though they rarely say that out loud.
Try to identify that one special ability you have and cherish it. Use it whenever you can, despite not being seen. And don’t forget to remind yourself that the boomerang of positive energy you’re sending out to the universe will one day, sooner or later, come back to you, with multiplied force.
Real superheroes don’t wear costumes. On the first sight, they look just like anyone else. What sets them apart is that they care enough to share (a small) part of their time, energy, and sometimes even money with others while asking nothing in return.
Next time someone saves your day or does something truly nice for you, don’t forget to say thanks. Such people rarely hear those words and it will mean the world to them.
And if you do something good for others and they ignore or outright reject it, don’t give up. As long as your intentions were pure, your job is done. Wearing the skin of a superhero never carries the prospect of immediate returns.
Maybe they don’t write about them in the news, nor do they make movies about them. But they matter. These people really matter.
You matter as well. It’s not for other people to decide. Whether or not you matter to the world is utterly in your hands, regardless of anyone’s approval.
And if you feel lonely here and there, take a couple of deep breaths and do something nice for yourself for a change. You will never be able to care about other people if you are not able to care about yourself. If there’s no one available to share a few nice words with you, comfort you, hug you, or help you, then don’t complain and just help yourself.
You’re the sole author of the story of your life. Make it an inspiring one to read.
Art by: Jason Ratliff