Hero, Save Thyself

[ed. note:  apparently, this lesson is a hard one to learn, since I was talking about it back in mid-November, Current ‘scope… rescue myself?]

When I call myself a ‘hero’, I’m not saying I’m better than anyone else.  I’m really just acknowledging that I have a very strong need, drive, obsession with solving the problems of others.  I want to make things better, I want people to be happy.  I want to deliver solutions, that’s a big reason I’m in software development.  There are big differences between software and people though, and though I can fix software, I can’t fix people.  I’m beginning to see that even if I contributed something to someone’s non-software solution in the past, the real fixing came from within them.  I don’t have the power to fix other people, as much as I might want to.

This is something I need to repeat to myself, like a mantra:  I don’t, and can’t, solve other people’s problems.  Whatever I have done in the past has been at best a positive contribution to that person’s effort to solve their own problems.  I realize to some of you, all of this is very obvious and you’re yawning and wondering why I’m making such a bit deal out of it.  Well, that’s cuz it hasn’t always been so obvious to me. I have a tendency to get wrapped up in other people’s stuff to the point that I neglect my own.  I guess the prospect of digging in and solving my own deeply held and protected problems isn’t as exciting to me, or maybe it’s because they’re mine, they are just that much harder to solve.  And, hey, you don’t get a ticker tape parade for cleaning up your own inner shit.  I like being able to think of myself as a hero, as a rescuer, as a problem solver.  So this process of letting that go is painful and difficult.  I’m trying to figure out life as a former white knight.  I have post-hero syndrome.

I’ve come to believe that my true work is to save me, to rescue me and deal with my issues so that I can be more helpful to others while they solve their problems.  I have been pushing aside my stuff, because the stuff everyone else is dealing with is so much bigger.  My stuff looks minor, and so I’ve been ignoring it.  And, truthfully, I’ve been feeling guilty about not having bigger issues, since the people around me are going through truly life and death challenges.   My stuff is so minor, surely the best course is to save that for later and pour my efforts into others, right?  To a point, until the point at which my health (physical, emotional, mental) begins to suffer.

And I haven’t been feeling super healthy lately.  I’m overweight, my right knee has been hurting when I walk, my lower back aches far too much, I’m having trouble with my energy levels and I feel tense, tight and uncomfortable.  I am not feeling sexy and powerful.  I’m not feeling strong and light and ready to take on the world.  I feel heavy and ground-bound and slow and depressed.  So if I’m going to do something to fix myself, clearly I need to deal with my physical well-being.  The hope is that giving my physical body some attention will help me untangle my emotional body.

All in all, I’ve been avoiding the job of fixing myself while simultaneously wallowing in my shit for most of the year.  I’m really good at giving myself other top priorities:  Write more!  Reach out to friends more!  Find new friends! You need sex!  You should learn a completely new skill!  You need chocolate!  You need more sleep!  What I really need more of is a better self-image.  What I need is to be realistic about what I can and cannot do.  What I need is… well, I’m gonna work on that list.  I’m going to visualize myself as lighter, happier, more energetic, sexier, cockier and work toward that self-image.  I’m not doing anyone any good in my current state.

Thank you all for your positive energy and good thoughts.  I do hear you and I do feel it.


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