What Does It Mean To Be a Hero?

Updated: Mar 8

a hero

is one who heals

their own wounds

and then shows others

how to do the same

- yung pueblo


I like this poem by yung pueblo. I happen to like a lot of his work and follow him on Instagram. It resonates with me because I've been in situations where I've paid for support services only to find that the individual still needed to do some work on themselves. The one thing I've learned over the last twelve years is to allow others to have their moments without shame. Although this experience cost me a significant amount of money, I learned the importance of being truly healed. A truly healed person quickly recognizes trigger moments to correct in an interpersonal situation. Sometimes it requires us to cry behind closed doors, journal until all the garbage is captured, take a few days to process with a safe person or professional support. It's not easy, but that is being a hero. To have healed substantially, or know when to put your baggage aside for that moment.


I was recently asked during an interview, "What is your hero story?" I was taken back by the question since I do not consider myself a hero, nor would I think anyone in healthcare necessarily a hero. We are people of service. We choose to be of service to others.


My response? I stated that I wasn't sure "hero" was a term I would use. It made me feel uncomfortable since I associate it with "saving" people. However, this is not uncommon in some service jobs. Many people want, and I consider to be heroes and save people's lives, like a police officer, our fire fighters, and other professionals. But my function in social work is to support an individual; we design support plans, set goals, and have small successes built around the notion that a client can move on to live as independently as possible.


For many reasons, my clients are with me. Something or someone has failed them for much of their lives, and that's not their fault; it's part of the bigger picture we call life. The heroes are my clients, not the other way around. They are the ones who continue to fight. Whether it's addiction, poverty, or mental illness, they keep trying. Struggling and healing, clients show me that we can overcome obstacles when life has not left us feeling so great.