What does it mean to be a hero? Or, what makes a person a hero? Are heroes someone that realizes excessive individual and physical struggle and power through it? Is it someone doing altruistic deeds in the name of someone else or the animal kingdom? Or is someone with superhuman strength that goes around fighting crime? During these times, this is something that I’ve thought about a few times.

The traditional definition of a hero is someone who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

We see many heroes day to day and they come in different forms. Veterans. Moms. Dads. Public figures. And so on. When we were younger (and even to this day), we were inspired by leaders, caped and/or masked superheroes, and those brave men and women who did amazing things to not only transform themselves, but the world. We looked up to those who inspired change in our own lives, while at the same time overcoming their own personal struggle to achieve their goals. It makes for a good story and motivation. We regard their nerve and commitment in high esteem. We aim to be as courageous and focused as they were to get where we want to be.

A hero, aside from the definition above, is someone who does something we couldn’t do, don’t want to do, or don’t think we could possibly do. It isn’t only about an accomplishment. It’s about the influence that those heroes have on us. It’s what we take away from the adversity they’ve endured over time. These heroes are what we often refer to as the prototype. They’re the ones who display the elevated standards of personality and enthuse us to accomplish the utmost that we can in order to imitate them.

Heroes inspire. Who inspires you? Most of the time, the people that inspire us are just everyday people who have done extraordinary things. We appreciate when someone is willing to be selfless, creative or innovative. We appreciate those that give back and encourage others. Take a look at yourself. We never know whom we’re going to influence when we give freely; not caring who may be able to reciprocate it or when we ever find ourselves in need. Giving back leaves a legacy that will survive much longer than we will.

We all have our heroic moments, but by these definitions, we rarely recognize our heroic moments as heroic. When they’re brought up later, we’re often surprised by the fact that others thought these actions were heroic.

Heroes have unique characteristics and qualities that make them heroes. Just because we may not see someone as a hero, doesn’t mean that person isn’t a hero to someone else. There’s no mold of what or who can be a hero. The individuals that we consider our more cherished heroes don’t just face the occasional heroic moment. They seek it. They face their anxieties and defy challenges. They consider others before themselves. They run towards the sound of those in need. They thrive when others would second-guess or walk away with poise and composure. We shouldn’t say that someone isn’t a hero, because we don’t know what they’ve done for someone else. Being a hero isn’t always about being in the spotlight. It’s what you do behind the scenes.

A hero can be the person who works extra shifts to save and send their kids to college, so they have the opportunity to have a bright future. A hero can make sure that the people around them have food, clothes, and shelter. A hero can be the one who dedicates their time to cultivating our communities while facing crazy obstacles.

A hero, or even a superhero, doesn’t always fly. In fact, most of them are the most grounded individuals you’ll encounter.

The question I ask you:

Who is your hero?

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