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Sometimes You Don’t Have To Be The Hero

sometimes you don't have to be the hero

I’ve spent my whole life trying to be the biggest person in the room. And not in terms of strength or boldness, but biggest heart, biggest soul. I have always tried to fix and to save—a critical flaw of mine—I am always trying to save. I’m not sure how or when, but it’s been hardwired in my brain to be the hero, the rescuer. To always put others and their needs above my own.

But this is toxic.

And I know it is. Yet, I find myself in situation after situation, relationship after relationship, trying my best to put together the puzzle pieces that were never meant to fit. Trying to salvage fragments of hearts that had to be broken in order to learn how to heal on their own.

I am a fixer. But this has become an identity I carry with pride. I am the one people lean on. I am the shoulder, the sound mind, the voice of reason.

I am the person who is there—consistent, like the ocean with its lapping waves—present and unafraid.

But what happens when I run out of fixing?

What happens when the one who is always trying to save needs rescuing?

Life has a funny way of bringing us the lessons we need (or don’t realize we need until we face them). We will be moving through the daily mess of our lives without a care. And suddenly a person, a moment, a voice will shoot forward from this hazy darkness and teach us something about ourselves that we were unconsciously trying to hide.

For me, it is situations out of my control.

As a fixer, I thrive on what I can make sense of. Like a map with a charted destination. Like an answer key with one right choice. Like a sentence that I don’t have to struggle to analyze. What I’m looking for is right there. Or if it isn’t, I can find it. I can create it. I can control it.

Until I can’t.

And so what happens when the person who relies solely on her own strength and voice can’t be led by herself alone?

I’ve always carried an identity of ‘savior’ – but what about the things I can’t save? What about when I’m forced to recognize that the armor I wear is merely a false sense of protection from the inadequacy I feel inside.

What if everything I’m trying to save other people from is what I can’t face?

The past two years have taught me lessons I wasn’t mentally ready to learn, and yet were essential to the framework of the person I’m becoming. I had to be forced out of my comfort zone, forced out of my control to realize that I actually don’t have control to begin with.

I had to recognize my own inability to ask for help. I had to come to terms with the fact that relying on others does not make me weak.

I had to be brave enough to acknowledge that sometimes our strength comes from letting go—not grasping so tightly that my fingers bleed.

I’ve learned, in the past two years, that I can only carry so much. That I can only do so much. That each of us is put onto this earth for a reason, but it is never anyone’s responsibility to shoulder a burden that is not ours to bear.

I’ve learned that just because you want to be strong doesn’t mean you have to be strong alone.

Sometimes you don’t have to be the hero, and sometimes you aren’t.

And that’s okay because you’re not any less powerful in allowing someone else to share the load. Or because someone loved you enough to stand by your side. Or because you recognized the power of letting life happen instead of holding onto your beliefs with a clenched fist.

You will not always be the savior in the story. Sometimes you’ll be the person who gets hurt, or left, or fails. Sometimes you’ll simply be a minor character. Sometimes you’ll be the one who cares, but doesn’t change the entire trajectory of someone’s life—and all of these things do not equate to your value as a person.

Because your value is inherent. It doesn’t change.

So if you’ve spent the better part of your life trying to be big, trying to help, trying to fix and save and be the one who’s there—perhaps don’t stop—but don’t make an identity out of your actions.

Your worth is not measured by what you do, but who you are.

And that’s not something you ever have to prove.

Featured Image Credit: Joel Valve

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