I was watching one of my favourite TV shows tonight…you may have heard of the popular emotional drama called “This Is Us”. Of course it’s full of great lines, witty comebacks and impromptu heartfelt conversations that rarely go so smoothly in real life. One of the character’s line’s really resonated with me though. “She doesn’t need a hero, just be there for her”.
I feel so often that in relationships (with men especially), they feel the need to be the woman’s hero. To fix her problem. To figure it out for her. To offer the solution they see fitting. To tell her where she went wrong. Iv’e never really needed a hero, at least not in my adult life. I’m fully capable of figuring things out on my own. Every time someone distrusts me to figure it out – it shows me that they don’t trust my capability. That creates resentment. As children, our parents are our heroes because we depend on them for survival. Somewhere along the way, they let us down…because they are human beings and make mistakes too (because of their own unhealed trauma but that’s a different topic).
As we come into adulthood, we start to rely more on ourselves. We learn to become our own heroes. We face challenges, overcome obstacles, make hard decisions, fail and try again. We learn and we grow. Sometimes we make the same mistakes over and over until we are so exhausted with the same outcome, that we choose differently. When someone tries to solve our problems for us, it takes away our innate power. It send us the message that we are not trusted – that our loving adult self doesn’t have the tools to care for our own inner child. Nothing could be more upsetting than someone telling you that you don’t know how to take care of yourself.
This isn’t to say we can never offer advice or support. Asking if someone would like to hear a suggestion is often a way better alternative to blurting out “shoulds” and “shouldn’t haves”. Support – being there – for the experience, the journey – is EVERYTHING. It goes back to us as children, when we start to seek out our own independence. When we take those first few steps toward the playground but then look back to make sure our parents are watching us. We WANT to do it ourselves, we need to know we can do it. It’s vital to our survival skills. We ALSO need to know someone’s watching. That’s survival too. We need to know someone has our back. Someone will be there if we fall. Not to tell us we did it wrong, but to offer us their hand if we need it to get back up.
I see this with my dog Luna all the time. She’ll be running ahead through the forest trails but every so often she’ll look back, checking to make sure I’m following her. Or at the dog park – she’ll be busy romping around with other dogs, but every few minutes she’ll look around to locate me. To make sure I’m there as her grounding post. We all need that. We need to be witnessed – for our struggles, our pain, our joys, our triumphs.
I don’t need a hero – because I already have one, and She’s Me. I am the one that makes sure I get up every morning. I am the one that makes my bed. I am the one that takes my dog out for exercise and play even when it’s pouring rain. I am the one that feeds myself healthy, nourishing food. I am the one that cleans my body, dresses myself and gets myself to work. I am the one that makes others feel good about themselves at work. I am the one that is responsible for me, my happiness. It’s not luck, it’s dedication. Loving yourself or others doesn’t just happen. It’s work. It’s a choice. It’s consistency. It’s an everyday thing…and it’s in the little things. The little moments.
It’s funny because whenever I go through a breakup it’s interesting the things I miss about someone. It’s never usually the big things, but the little, everyday moments. The shared tea in the evenings, the funny glances, the shared inside jokes. That is the stuff that makes a life. It’s not in the grand gestures that we show love, but in the day after day; choosing actions and words that show care.
I will admit I’m not always the best at this, but I’m working on it. Let me tell you it’s a hell of a lot easier to love a dog for the simple reason that they don’t talk back to you. An animal’s needs are simple, and as long as we meet those needs they tend to love us without hesitation. Maybe a human being’s needs aren’t so different though. Maybe we just let a whole lot of garbage get in the way; our own pain and suffering and attachment to our story and the way we think things should be.
The story to me is simple: we are all just human. We all have the same needs. To belong and to be seen and known and loved. Let’s just try our best to remember that.