Saturday, 3 April 2021

Searching for the hero inside ourselves: BRiC's Collective Voice


"Who/What is the hero inside yourself?" A recent Sunday discussion talked about what we are proud of, what makes us strong, what it is that keeps us going through all we have to endure?

Sometimes it’s difficult to see oneself as any kind of hero, more often we are focused on day to day tasks, the mundane roles we play, or the struggles and pain we deal with. Often we don’t see our own strength or our inner hero until we have time to stop and reflect on events, be those in the recent or distant past.

It was interesting that many of our members opened their contribution to this discussion by describing how they struggled to find their hero within. As the discussion progressed we found our strengths and saw the beauty inside ourselves. Strength was a recurring theme, many of us talked about an inner strength, often brought to the fore by our breast cancer diagnosis; being faced with our mortality and the trauma of cancer awakened what one member called her “steely core”. We found courage and determination, stoicism and self-awareness, we realised that we are often stronger than we knew. A few members related that they were now braver than before, they were willing to try new things and were less afraid of failing. “With cancer suddenly thrown into my path, I realised I had no reason NOT to try, so I did.”

Lots of us talked about how our parents were a huge part of building that strength, some by their support and example, others because they weren’t the parents we needed, but still taught us valuable lessons. Dads especially seemed to instil in us self-belief and resilience. Memories of childhood experiences both good and bad were frequently mentioned and it was generally agreed that being surrounded by love allowed us to grow stronger.

We talked about nurturing our inner hero, practising self-care and not worrying if we have bad days; safe in the knowledge that we are tough enough to get through it and things will get better. Some of us were proud of being able to acknowledge when we need help, of finding the courage to ask for help and accepting it when offered. Asking for help actually takes a lot of strength and courage. It’s as important to understand our own vulnerability as it is to be proud of our strength. We are proud of keeping going when things are difficult, of getting up when we are knocked down and of helping others despite our own problems. One member said her inner hero came from her innate kindness.

It was acknowledged that we all have wobbly days, that we can’t be strong all the time and that we are a work in progress. For many of us our inner hero comes from the ability to step back, to say no and to choose our path. We know that we are complex beings, our emotions are part of who we are and we both absorb and reflect our life experiences; for our group breast cancer is a shared experience which has affected us all, but we are each individual and our experiences are as individual as we are. Our experience has helped some of us to focus on ourselves, to never lose hope, to see the bright side, to be true to ourselves, to value ourselves and to take time for that hero within. It’s also helped us to face those bad days, to overcome the negativity, but to accept that we won’t always be happy and smiling; that it’s fine to be sad sometimes, to be angry, to cry, to scream and shout if we need to.

Our inner hero was described as a many faceted diamond, the faces all different colours, some dark, some bright, reflecting our emotions, but whether dark or bright the diamond still sparkles. This is our inner hero, the woman who keeps going through it all, who has good and bad days, but never quite loses her glow. Sometimes we might find it hard to believe that there is a hero in there, sometimes we might feel we aren’t good enough, that we are failing, but if we stop for a moment and remember all we’ve done, all those things we are proud of, then we will see that inner hero sparkling like a diamond.

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