“To have already claimed the right to think for yourself, to question, to deviate, to refuse to be controlled, exploited or manipulated, to refuse to be subjected to any more abuse, to be willing to give up all you have known, to give up home (even family) and strike out alone on your quest for selfhood, are the actions of a hero. It matters not that you are afraid or perhaps laden with wounds. Heroes do not take their leave and make their quest for freedom without acquiring wounds and experiencing fears along the way. The beauty of these heroes is that they are not gods – they are not perfect nor invulnerable. Heroes are sensitive, susceptible humans willing to take up the challenges and bear the wounds life places at their feet.
Perhaps you never imagined that the title of this article applies to you. Perhaps for the moment you are a tentative, reluctant hero. Perhaps you still find it challenging to embrace the whole truth of who you are. Perhaps you imagine that heroes should be impervious to wounds. Perhaps, you think that ‘real’ heroes don’t suffer as you are suffering now. That’s understandable. But this book will hopefully disabuse you of those notions. By the time you finish reading it, reflecting on the hidden treasures buried in suffering, reflecting on your core values and your right to a life of your own making, reflecting on new ways of thinking and acting, and learning simple strategies for self-care – you, too, will see the hero that you are.
To leave a high-control group or an abusive relationship of any kind is a truly heroic act. To actively look for ways to understand what you have been through and how you can recover from any wounds inflicted by those who would have preferred that you remain enslaved, is to be a hero. The hero’s path is partly a spiritual one and there are few maps to show us the way. Psychiatrist, Mark Epstein says, “The spiritual path means making a path rather than following one.”
“To do the best you can, for yourself, for the moment, while simultaneously knowing and feeling pain, without becoming cynical, helpless, or paralyzed by fear of the pain, is the task of the hero.” -Susanna McMahon
When I view myself as the heroine of my own story
I no longer complain about the conflicts in my life and in myself.
I am no longer a victim of circumstances.
Instead, I am full of anticipation for my journey into the unknown.
I am a protagonist in a world of unending dilemmas,
Which contain hidden meaning that it is up to me to discover.