What Defines a Hero?
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, a hero is “a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability.” The Cambridge Dictionary defines a hero as “a person admired for bravery, great achievements, or good qualities.” Both definitions are correct but what about you, what comes to mind when you hear the word hero being mentioned? Do you think of Spiderman, Thor, and Captain America or does your mind think of mere mortals who are doing tremendous work in spite of their limited strength? When children are growing up, parents often read them stories which most of us take as the gospel truth. It is only after one starts going to school and it becomes clear that what you heard while you were young were made up stories. Children have their beliefs of who real heroes are and what they are made of. However, as one grows, the word hero starts to have different meanings and simple acts of kindness, love, sacrifice, and compassion start to seem heroic. Slowly, one’s thinking changes and it becomes clear that a hero can be a mere mortal like yourself but whose self-service is beyond expectation and reproach. Heroes are not in the movies or the many comic books, and this article will seek to reinforce the idea that heroes are simply human beings whose sacrifice, kindness, love for others, and compassion is admirable.
Attributes of a True Hero
A real or true hero/heroine always finds a way to put others before themselves. Whenever people are faced with certain problems, they tend to think of themselves first and how best they can secure themselves. This kind of thinking is always expected, and people often talk about how they were able to overcome a challenge. However, being selfless means putting the needs and interests of others before yours. Putting the needs and interests of others above your own is not as simple as many would think. It calls for great sacrifice, and at times it can require you to offer your life for the sake of a course. Selfless people do not expect payback and always seem to think of themselves last.
Being selfless would also mean accepting a lesser role for the greater good. People always want to be in the limelight and to experience life differently. However, a selfless person will accept the limited publicity if it is for the good of the people.
How many people would quit or give up in life when the odds seem to be slightly against them or when life presents them with challenges? The answer is millions of people would. Courage is an important attribute, and it is quite common in heroes and heroines. Nelson Mandela once said that “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” The truth is everyone is afraid of something in life, and a majority of us are slaves to our fears. People fear different things, for example, some fear loneliness, confrontations, death, war, etc. Furthermore, if you conduct a simple research, you will realize that fear controls many people. However, true heroes understand themselves and their weaknesses. If they are in positions of leadership, they understand the people’s fears and therefore, choose to be the brave face among the crowd. A hero understands that they have to embrace their fears and always put on a brave face whenever the odds are wildly against them.
True heroes and heroines are humble and always seem to do things out of the goodness of their hearts. Humble people often take the back seat and never want to be in the limelight. It is often said that pride comes before a fall and this adage seems always to be in the minds of heroes. Every time a person does something big, everyone often wants to talk about it, and some even get featured on our news channels. However, if you look around the society, you will notice that the people who have made the greatest contribution to our communities seem always to want to take a back seat. These people never want to be featured in any news stories. Modesty seems to be their mantra with acts of kindness, love, and compassion seemingly in an endless flow.
Patient and Caring
Patience is not a common virtue. Dealing with people can be difficult especially if you are a leader. Heroes never seem to be in a hurry and always seem to be patient with people. Displaying patience is not an easy feat, and it goes hand in hand with caring. If you do not care about a person or a course, it will be difficult to remain patient or to gift them a chance. Patience is not something you can learn from a book or read and understand what it entails. It goes deeper than what many people think and is in direct proportion with caring.
When you care about something, you will sacrifice your time, money, and sweat to see it succeed. The truth is, you will also exercise some patience and show concern even when it is not expected or warranted. A true hero understands the importance of commitment as well as the fact that everything takes time. Compassion for others is also something a true hero will have in abundance because they tend to believe in the goodness of people.
In conclusion, being a hero does not entail doing something big or showing a great amount of strength. It simply means showing love, belief, care, patience, sacrificing, and also showing a brave face in the midst of trouble. As a hero, you must be willing to have other people go ahead of you and act selflessly for the common or public good. Heroes also do not expect payback but offer their time, money, and skills for the course. What defines a hero is therefore beyond one’s physical attributes or might. It is about the simple acts of valor that parents do for their children, friends do for their loved ones, soldiers do for their brothers, and what the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela did for the interest of the masses. Heroes and heroines are, therefore, real but not in the upcoming Thor or Avengers movies.