This is my life, this is my story, this is my journey; therefore, it’s all about me and all up to me.
Obviously, I am the main character in my journey. As the main character, and clearly the hero, I need to ensure that I am perfect, because no one likes a flawed hero. As the hero it falls on my shoulders to ensure everything is going well on my journey. I have to build the perfect life, or at least make it appear as if I have built the perfect life.
Day after day I exhaustively work to build-up the type of appearance that I think will make me look better to the outside world. Maybe if I have perfect make-up, a nice car, chic clothes, a killer bod, and amazing job, maybe then people will like me or admire me, maybe then my life will be everything I have ever wanted. Only then will I be the perfect hero of my story.
I begin to idolize material things, unrealistic appearances, and worldly success. Sure, I guess it’s exhausting, but I have built myself up on these things and no one has complained about it. In fact, I actually get compliments because of these things. I achieve success and it fuels me.
My ego is pumped bigger and my pride becomes more fragile.
“Wow, look at me go. Look at all the things I have done!”
It get’s to the point that these material objects, appearances, and worldly successes have become a wall around me. I am constantly worried that people will see through this wall and see… me.
This is what I think of as the hero complex. We think our life is, and must be, centered on us and we must not disappoint. Our grades must be perfect, our jobs must be glamourous, our bodies must be bangin’, our possessions shiny and new, and our life must be just simply amazing. AND ALL OF THESE THINGS AREN’T JUST GOING TO HAPPEN!! We have to work our butt’s off for it. No one is going to do it for you, except for you.
Our culture is obsessed with work. If you aren’t working at something 24/7, you aren’t useful or productive (check out my post Rain and Regrowth for more on this). We buy into this idea and we put all the pressure on ourselves to obtain perfection.
This is draining and unhealthy in so many ways. We need rest.
Because of this hero complex we put un-obtainable expectations on ourselves and, I believe, that it causes us to put walls around ourselves.
We believe that if we aren’t perfect then we are letting ourselves and those around us down. If something in our life isn’t going perfectly we believe that we have failed, because of this pressure to-not-fail we end up not letting people into our lives. We end up not being honest or open with anyone, because we don’t want them to know that we fail sometimes, or that we are struggling.
Eventually we forget what truly ever mattered to us, because we are all-consumed by being the hero in our story.
I struggled with trying to be the hero in my story for years. I still do struggle with it. But I have been realizing more-and-more lately that I was never meant to be the hero of my life, nor the main character of it; that is too much pressure for any person to handle.
Who is the hero and the main character then?
He is literally the only one who could handle our burdens. He is the only one who can make us perfect. He is the only one who can give us freedom from the pressure of this world.
Life is so much bigger than me and bigger than the obsession with perfection.
I need to take my eyes and my focus off of me. I honestly do think that this is the only way to grow, to have joy, and to relieve the weight of the pressure.
If we have a hero-complex, then when things go wrong we feel like failures and we feel like we have lost control. Our world begins to crumble.
When we realize that we are not the hero’s, but God is, then we will let him have the control. We realize that perhaps the areas that we were striving for success and perfection in, were not ever meant for us in the first place. God has different plans for us. These plans might not be what others expect from us or the image we had for ourselves, but they will be more fulfilling and more freeing.
Stop, breathe, and take your eyes and your focus off of yourself. God’s got you.