As we grow up, we often look to others for behaviors we would like to emulate. This can be helpful in our development when we then adopt these positive traits as our own. However, hero projection can stall our growth when we refuse to see these golden characteristics in ourselves and, instead, only see them in others as this keeps us from shining our own lights. Thus we disempower ourselves when we don’t accept our own greatness and instead project it onto our heroes.
Martin Luther King, Jr was instrumental in changing the tide for race relations in America. We can look to his peaceful actions and speeches while thinking to ourselves that we would not be able to be a fraction of the human that he was. On the other hand, if we were to use the peaceful activism work as an example, we could find ways in each of our days to be more kind and compassionate to people in our lives – irregardless of race – just because we want to be the change we wish to see.
Yet so many of us hide behind our heroes. We choose to remain small while we pile our greatness onto others. This helps no one. Instead, the hero is placed on a pedestal and set up for a fall. After all, heroes (and even superheroes) have shadows. Furthermore, we give away our power when we fail to accept our own greatness.
I encourage you to look at your heroes today. What traits do they have that you most admire? How can you begin to share those traits (which are within you) with others and the world today? Think baby steps. Then take them, we each need ourselves – and the entire world needs us – to be our own heroes!