I’ve always been into super heroes. My whole life I was raised on Marvel comics and the original X-Men animated series. I wished I could be as beautiful and kick ass as Black Widow. I wanted to be as smart as Jean Grey. I wanted to be as badass as Wolverine.
I left it to the comics, though. I thought heroes only existed on a screen or on a page.
I didn’t realize I had the option to be a hero myself. So much had happened to me before I turned 12. Before I turned 18 I had been in my first aggressively physically abusive relationship. By the time I was 23 I was free of an abusive marriage.
I didn’t know that I didn’t have to be the victim. I didn’t know that I was capable of being a hero, let alone choosing to be one.
But what I didn’t realize is that the hero’s journey isn’t easy. Once that realization hit me I found a power inside myself that I didn’t know existed.
So I want to ask you a question: Are you the victim of your story? Or the hero?
Every hero starts out as a victim
My all time favorite superhero is Iron Man (with Wolverine coming in at a close second). The reason I love him so much is because he had to be taken down a notch to be woken up to the realities of what life was.
Before becoming Iron Man, Tony Stark made and sold weapons. He was a genius with an empire that made him billions. He was so self absorbed that he didn’t realize that his partner was doing everything he could to take him out.
It took him being a prisoner of war to see the reality of what his actions were causing. He was tortured beyond belief, was held against his will, and witnessed the death of someone close to him.
He was most certainly a victim, but once he was woken up to the reality of the world, he couldn’t stay that way. He decided to become a hero. He decided to become Iron Man.
But even after he chose to be a hero, he had many moments that he could be considered a victim. He lost friends and family. He witnessed horrid atrocities.
Each time he picked himself up and made the choice to be a hero. Even when it was the hardest choice to make.
The point here is that every hero starts out as a victim. But the difference between victims and heroes is that the hero made the decision that they were no longer going to be a victim – they chose to be a hero.
This applies to comic book heroes as well as those of us fighting in reality.
You have been through a LOT. You have every right to call yourself a victim.
But the question remains: will you stay a victim or will you become a hero?
What a victim looks like
There’s nothing wrong with being a victim. At least not at first. You have every right to be hurt, angry, frustrated, scared, protective, defensive. Girl, I totally get that and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
But the problem comes when you stay there.
Tony Stark didn’t have to become a hero. That was a choice that he made. Based on what he’d been through, no one would fault him for choosing to stay a victim than become a hero.
But he knew that he was made for more, that more was out there for him, that he had the ability to help people and he couldn’t keep that to himself. So he made the decision and became a hero.
But what if he didn’t? What if he chose to remain a victim? What if he chose to never step outside of his comfort zone and face his fear?
He probably would have locked himself in his house, doing nothing but work. He’d drink himself to oblivion and completely shatter the relationship he had with the love of his life, Pepper Potts.
Had he chose to stay in the victim mindset, the Avengers would’ve never gotten together.
Had he chose to stay in the victim mindset, Peter Parker would’ve never had him to look up to.
The victim mindset includes things like:
- I’ll never be happy.
- The world is out to get me.
- Life’s not fair.
- I’ll never get that.
- I don’t deserve that.
- Life is too hard.
- I shouldn’t have to do this.
- Life couldn’t possibly happen FOR me – life just continually happens TO me.
What a hero looks like
Tony Stark chose to take responsibility for his life and chose to be a hero.
He chose to step up and be a leader. Thanks to his decision, he brought the Avengers together. He played a major part in saving the world on more than one occasion.
He woke up every day and had to fight the urge to hide. He woke up every day and made that choice.
He didn’t have to be a father figure for Peter Parker.
He didn’t have to step up when Fury asked him to spearhead the Avengers.
He didn’t have to change his entire career to do the right thing.
He didn’t have to work with people he didn’t agree with.
But he did all of that because he decided to be a hero.
He decided he was going to be his best self even when it wasn’t what he wanted to do.
What being a hero looks like
- I can choose to be happy.
- The world is existing and I’m going to do my part to help it.
- Life’s not fair but I’m choosing to make the best of it.
- It may not be easy, but I know I can do it.
- Life is hard but I’m tough. I’ve got this.
- I shouldn’t have to do this but I will because I know it’s the right thing for me.
- Life is happening FOR me, not to me.
Boo, I understand that this isn’t a fun thing to talk about. But once you address this, you can literally change your life.
Choosing to be a hero doesn’t take anything away from what you’ve been through. You can use what victimized you as the platform you leap off of as a hero.
You’re strong enough to be a hero.
You’re capable enough to be a hero.
You’re intelligent enough to be a hero.
You’re worthy of being a hero.
You’ve got this, boo! You deserve it!
Choosing to be a hero doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’re choosing to fight for your absolute best life.
So what do you choose? Are you the hero of your story or the victim?
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