'We all live in suspense from day to day, from hour to hour, in other words, we are the hero of our own story.'
(Mary McCarthy; 1912-1989.)
This smacked me in the face, like nothing else I've read for a long long time. It was the last part that got me; 'We are the hero of our own story.' Wow.
And the more I thought about it, the harder it hit. Hero. Our own story. Suspense.
See, this is the thing. I have spent the better part of my entire adult life making everyone else the hero of my story. I was brought up in the Catholic faith, and I took it very seriously; You live for others. In order to find yourself, you lose yourself.
Through most of my youth, I prayed, nightly, this little prayer.
Lord, help me live from day to day
In such a self forgetful way
that even when I kneel to pray
My prayer shall be for others.
Others, Lord yes, others.
Let this my motto be
Help me to live for others, Lord
that I may live for thee.
That sounds all well and good on the surface (aww, how very sweet!), but shouldn't I have also been taught to pray for myself?
My original plan when I entered college was to be a social worker. And in some psychology class or another I learned about Maslow's hierarchy of needs:
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
1 Self Actualization Needs
2 Esteem Needs
(self respect, personal worth, autonomy)
3 Love and Belongingness Needs
(love, friendship, comradeship)
4 Safety Needs
(security; protection from harm)
5 Physiological Needs
(food, sleep, stimulation, activity)
This simply fascinated me. And I set off on a life long purpose of trying to achieve the highest level; that of self actualization.
Maslow defines self actualization as " an ongoing process involved in a cause outside their own skin." And as I later learned, it's nary impossible to fully achieve. In fact, I took a class on Maslow right before I moved from Virginia, where it was stated that only the saints fully achieve this status. Well, I'm a good person, but I ain't no saint. This should have set me back in my quest but all it did was make me more determined.
So, now that I am getting older, I look back on my life and am stunned to realize that my quest was self defeating. and I look around, somewhat shell shocked, to see that I have cemented myself into a role I do not like very much, that of The Constant Giver. But rarely am I replenished. And this is about to change.
I am going to put myself back into the starring role of hero of my own story. I shall pray/give/care/love/respect others as fully as I can, but I am going to include myelf in the list. From this point forward, I will be the hero of my own story.
hero (hir′ō, hē′rō′)
noun pl. heroes -·roes
Legend a man of great strength and courage, favored by the gods and in part descended from them, often regarded as a half-god and worshiped after his death
any person, esp. a man, admired for courage, nobility, or exploits, esp. in war
any person, esp. a man, admired for qualities or achievements and regarded as an ideal or model
the central figure in any important event or period, honored for outstanding qualities.