4 Signs It's Time to Be Your Own Hero


Add textThis post on signs it's time to be your own hero is adapted from Section 2 of Be Your Own Hero, the course that provides the tools to connect to your courage, live your values, be true to yourself, act with integrity, and do good deeds on your own terms. With a 100+ page workbook, meditations, templates and a weekly email series, you'll learn how to cultivate healthy boundaries, live courageously and be the best version of yourself.

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We are lucky in so many ways. Lucky to be born into this world, lucky we have this amazing technology that most of us take for granted, and lucky to be alive during a time where things are evolving so rapidly.

We're also lucky to be complex human beings and lucky to have an early-warning system that tells us when we're straying from our needs and values—the things that make us "us."

Here are four important signs it's time to be your own hero.

1. You feel resentment, frustration or sadness around a particular situation or commitment.

In behavioural economics, there’s something called the “Yes…Damn!” effect, which describes those situations in which we agree to something then end up thinking “Damn!” later when we realise we’ve over-committed or agreed to do something we don’t really want to do.If you’re feeling resentment, frustration or sadness around a particular commitment, that’s a sign that there’s something about this commitment that’s not really aligned with your values or priorities. Maybe you feel sadness because by honouring this commitment you’re missing out on something else that you’d really rather be doing. Maybe you feel resentment towards the person you’ve made the commitment to, or maybe you feel frustrated that you’ve said yes when you know that in your heart of hearts, the authentic response would have been “no” or a conditional yes.These feelings are uncomfortable but they’re so important to pay attention to as they show us where we’re living in alignment with our values and taking care of our needs, and where we’re not. When this happens, it's time to be your own hero. Sometimes we tell ourselves that we shouldn’t feel this way if we’ve agreed to something or if we didn’t speak up when we had the chance, but the fact is that we do feel that way, so rather than punishing ourselves for our natural responses to situations that don’t serve us, we’re much better off thinking “So what can I do about this now?” Remember that it’s not over until it’s over. You can revisit the conversation or agreement and re-negotiate.

2. You want to blame other people for things you’re doing/not doing

I used to be friends with someone who had a lot of unfulfilled dreams, ideas, and ambitions—and so many reasons why she hadn’t followed through on them yet. Most of the reasons concerned her partner; he was unsupportive, he micro-managed her, etc. In reality, she had always played the role of the less successful/stable partner in the relationship and that of the partner in need, and making excuses felt more comfortable than changing that dynamic.Recognise that it’s your choice to do or not do something, whatever that something might be. Even if someone is difficult to negotiate with, that doesn’t mean you can’t do the things you want to do (nor does it mean you should give up trying to negotiate with them entirely). If you have an unsupportive partner, friend, parent, boss, etc., negotiate. Hear their reasons, try to understand them, and also stay anchored to what's important to you.

3. You’re compromising your integrity/key values to keep other people happy

I've had a couple of people ask me to lie for them in the past. And not just tiny white lies, but big porky "massive -repercussions-for-me-if-this-comes-out" kinds of lies. It took me a couple of harsh lessons to realise that is is never a reasonable request. No one should ever, ever ask you to compromise your values for them, no matter who they are.If they do, it's time to be your own hero. You have every right to refuse and view that request as a big waving red flag.

4. You use language like “have to” when actually you mean “choose to”

Out of everything we do in life, very few things are “have to”s. A few of these include basic functions like breathing, sleeping, eating, and using the bathroom. The rest is all stuff we choose to do. Yes, that includes going to work, laundry, and taking your kids to football practice. You have the freedom to turn around and say “I’m not going to do that.”True, you’ll face consequences, like losing your job, having stinky clothes, and having unhappy children, but that doesn’t mean you have to do those things. You choose to do them because you like the consequences of doing them; you like having money (and hopefully get some kind of fulfilment from your job too), you prefer wearing clean and nicely-fragranced clothes to soiled and people-repellant garments, and you prefer seeing your kids burn off some energy and have fun on the field rather than get upset and tear up the house.This is a subtle but important distinction; it’s the difference between feeling resentful, frustrated and victimised and feeling grateful, liberated and empowered (We’ll talk more about this distinction in Be Your Own Hero).What are your personal signs that it's time to be your own hero?If you'd like to discover what being the hero of your own life is all about, I invite you to find out more about the Be Your Own Hero e-c0urse. If it feels right to you, I hope you'll join us!Further reading: Let's all stop apologising for these things & do you want to be the hero of your life or the victim?Image: Chris Sardegna