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How to Be Your Own Hero

August 21, 2023 Sammi Caramela

I realize I need to be my own hero, but it's hard. As someone with a highly self-critical brain and a history of trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), I often struggle to take control of my own healing. In my experience, it's tempting to turn to others during difficult moments (which is completely okay and necessary sometimes) rather than turning inward and finding my own resilience. Self-sabotage takes merit over self-love and self-care, and before I know it, I'm spiraling into anxiety and grief, looking elsewhere for someone to do the work for me — to be my hero.

Why We Don't Look to Ourselves to Be Our Own Hero

It's human nature to crave support when we feel scared, sad, or alone. This is especially true when it's our own brain that's causing the inner turmoil. I often think, "Why would I want to rely on myself when I'm the one causing all this self-inflicted pain?"

If your mind is feeding you terrifying or self-loathing thoughts, it can feel impossible to be the one to save yourself. It's an internal battle that we're often too tired to win. We're too tired to be our own hero.

For example, throughout my own healing journey, I have endured times when I felt as though I was regressing. In the midst of my panic attacks and overwhelming sadness, I told myself over and over how weak I was. I ridiculed myself for falling apart and needing support. I went on about how I would never be able to lead a normal life — how I would never be good enough or worthy of love.

Stepping back now, I can realize those thoughts are not helpful. However, while I was spiraling, they felt like the truth. I couldn't seem to silence or debunk the notions. I didn't have it in me to fight back, so I reached out to loved ones to do it for me. It was through those conversations with the people I trust the most that I learned only I can save myself and be my own hero. However, while they couldn't be the ones to do it for me, knowing they were there to hold my hand throughout the process was enough to inspire action.

How to Be Your Own Hero

Becoming your own hero begins with accepting all parts of yourself — even those unhealed parts. It's easy to preach about the importance of self-love, but putting it into action is no simple feat. That's why it's better to start with self-acceptance and self-compassion.

Any time you get a negative thought about yourself, rather than fighting it — or worse, adding more fuel to it — simply accept where you are on your journey. You don't have to agree with the thoughts, but you can say, "I accept myself anyway."

This helps stop you in your tracks and prevents you from continuing to ruminate or find "facts" that either support or disprove your brain's claims, both of which can end up exhausting you.

Accepting yourself, regardless of where you are on your journey, is the key to becoming your own hero. If you accept yourself, you likely won't feel the need to find anyone else to do it for you. You likely won't have as strong of a desire to seek that validation elsewhere. (However, again, it's okay to do that sometimes. It can be beneficial to receive validation from loved ones when we're struggling. Accept that part of yourself, too.)

Additionally, if you are your own hero, you likely will feel more empowered to heal. You might be more willing to get help from a professional, do the work in therapy, and believe you are worthy of love and support. It all starts with you — no one can make this decision for you.

The moral of the story is this: Sometimes, becoming your own hero looks like showing yourself grace even when you feel you don't deserve it. You can't shame yourself into someone you love. You deserve to heal. 

APA Reference
Caramela, S. (2023, August 21). How to Be Your Own Hero, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, February 28 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/traumaptsdblog/2023/8/how-to-be-your-own-hero



Author: Sammi Caramela

Sammi Caramela is a freelance writer, fiction author, poet, and mental health advocate who uses her writing to help others feel less alone. Find her on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and her blog.

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