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Be Your Own Hero

Linda: We live in a world in which people are defined and identified and even valued in accordance to the groups to which they belong. These characterizations are based upon factors such as skin color, sexual preferences, religious beliefs, gender, age, political affiliation, financial status, and nationality, to name a few.

The tendency to form and fix beliefs about others on the basis of these arbitrary factors seems to have led to many of our planet’s most intractable problems. Once we decide that there is significance to these differences, it is all but inevitable that we will project varying degrees of value upon each group. Emphasizing our differences rather than the common ground that all human beings share, automatically sets into play a process that is inherently divisive, competitive, and ultimately destructive.

The tendency to do this seems so deeply ingrained in our species that most of us take this process for granted, assuming that it is just the way people are and always have been. We may feel grateful if we are affiliated with groups that are assigned higher social status and are therefore “privileged”, just as we may feel inferior or resentful if we are identified with lower status groups.

This process is neither natural, nor inevitable. It is, like any other repeated pattern, a habit that we have acquired and reinforced as a means of feeling secure in the safety of the group with which we are identified. It takes courage and integrity to risk standing alone in the presence of our own truth. The ‘hero’ is not necessarily someone who rescues innocent victims from persecution or danger, but rather someone whose life is an embodiment of integrity and universal respect and who is not limited by cultural conditioning.

Albert Einstein talked about this kind of respect when he wrote: “A human being is part of the whole called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

The task of freeing ourselves from our perceptual prison is a compelling and sometimes daunting challenge. In taking it on, we discover that we are not alone in our quest to bring compassion and respect to our universe. As we engage this commitment, we not only begin to see how many others are sharing the journey of awakening with us, but our very efforts illuminate possibilities that others may not have even seen before. The choice to free ourselves is itself both personally and socially transformative. The greatest gift that we can give to the other beings that share this extraordinary planet with us is the gift of our own liberation.

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Be Your Own Hero


Linda Bloom LCSW and Charlie Bloom MSW are considered experts in the field of relationships. They have been married since 1972. They have both been trained as seminar leaders, therapists and relationship counselors and have been working with individuals, couples, and groups since 1975. They have been featured presenters at numerous conferences, universities, and institutions of learning throughout the country and overseas as well. They have appeared on over two hundred radio and TV programs. Linda and Charlie are co-authors of the widely acclaimed books: 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last (over 100,000 copies sold) Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love, and Happily Ever After...and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams. The Blooms are excited to announce the release of their fourth book, That Which Doesn't Kill Us: How One Couple Became Stronger at the Broken Places. They live in Santa Cruz, California, near their two children and three grandchildren. To view our upcoming events and to sign up for our free newsletter, visit our website at:

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APA Reference
Bloom, L. (2017). Be Your Own Hero. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 20, 2019, from


Last updated: 24 Jul 2017
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.