Self-care is more than playing hooky.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Taking care of yourself

Self-care.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Don’t confuse self-care with trips to the spa or vegetating.

When you hear the term self-care, do you think pampering? There’s a lot more to self-care than scented candles or taking an extra day off. Human beings are complicated. We need to take care of both our physical bodies and our emotional lives. Examine the various aspects of your life and make sure you are including self-care in everything you do.

Car care doesn’t involve letting the car sit in the driveway. A car that isn’t driven slowly deteriorates. If you’re not challenging yourself, you’re not growing. Include forward motion, moving towards goals as part of your self-care. Self-care may also consist of a life makeover.

Self-care includes increasing your self-confidence by tackling challenges.

Self-care includes training for that marathon or writing that novel, maybe both. When people age, the major regrets they have are often for the things, they didn’t do. I’ve never heard anybody say they regretted not spending more days sitting on the couch. I have heard people say they always wanted to learn a foreign language or finish a college degree.

Self-care needs to include self-improvement.

Stretch yourself both physically and mentally. Join a gym or take up exercising. Take up a hobby. Sign up for that class whether it’s in person or online. Anything that requires effort on your part can also bring emotional rewards. Do things you can check off on your list of life goals. Look here for more information about making self-care a part of your self-improvement program. 

Do something at the edge of your comfort zone.

Avoiding things that make you uncomfortable may feel like you’re protecting yourself from anxiety, but if you avoid that anxiety for very long, your comfort zone will continue to shrink. Self-care can include challenging herself to do things that feel just a little uncomfortable or scary.

Self-care includes getting rid of things that are holding back.

Eliminate the things that are holding you down. Trying to do too many things results in not getting anything done. Self-care includes giving up activities that you’re doing because you “have to” not because you want to. Pulling out the weeds allows room for the plants to grow. Eliminating unnecessary activities allows you to grow.

Cut the toxic people out of your life.

Examine your relationships. If your relationships can be improved, put the work in. The people you spend time will influence the way you feel. If someone in your life is dealing with a mental health challenge, then encourage them to get help. Eliminate negative people from your life where possible. If there are negative people you absolutely must deal with, try to limit the time you spend with them.

Doing less accomplishes more.

Businesses periodically take an inventory, and they get rid of the things on the shelves that take up space but don’t contribute to making a profit. It’s a good practice to inventory your life periodically. Eliminate as many of those needless activities as possible so that you free up time to spend on the important things. Stop spending so much time reading emails and spend a little time unsubscribing to the mailing lists that don’t bring your life any benefits.

Reevaluating your goals is a part of self-care.

Don’t be the person lost in the woods wandering around in circles. Don’t waste your life pursuing goals that don’t matter. Time spent getting clear on your values and decided whether what you are doing is taking you towards the goals you really want to reach is time well spent. Don’t waste time pursuing goals that are no longer meaningful to you.

Self-care includes time spent maintaining your body.

Sleep is not a waste of time. It is an essential ingredient in self-care. Your body has a natural rhythm. While people vary slightly in their need for sleep if you’re not meeting your bodies need, your lack of sleep will increase negative emotions like depression, anxiety, and irritability. Getting plenty of sleep will make for a happier, healthier you.

Include a healthy diet in your self-care.

A healthy diet doesn’t have to be bland and boring. Occasional indulgence makes life more fun. Try to include a lot of healthy food in your diet, so the occasional splurge doesn’t become your regular diet.

How will you go about improving the self-care you do in every part of your life?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Four David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking, and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

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Ways to build trust.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Word trust

Trust.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

How do you build trust in a relationship?

Some relationships, particularly romantic relationships, start out full of trust and then something happens to damage that trust. If your relationship has been damaged by an affair, substance abuse, or other bad behavior, the first order of business is to repair that damage. In this situation, the reserve of good feelings has been overdrawn, and it may take some work to get the balance in your love account back to positive. For more about affairs and recovery from them from see – affairs.

Other couples may have started their relationship low on the good feelings, towards themselves and towards their partner. If you are low in self-esteem, you may not have positive feelings to give your partner. If the trust issues are issues you brought with you into the relationship working on yourself is the first step.

For couples who would like to build more connection and intimacy here are some suggestions for reducing barriers and increasing trust.

Discussing goals and values increases trust.

Spend some time talking about your values, the things that matter to you. Do this in a non-judging way. Couples can disagree about many things and still have an emotionally close relationship. Deep discussions require time and understanding. Emphasize hearing and understanding what your partner is saying rather than trying to convince them of your point of view.

If you want them to trust, you keep their secrets.

Don’t blab the things that people you are close to have told you. If you want to be trusted, your partner must know that it is safe to share their secrets with you. It may be tempting to confide those secrets to your family or your best friend. Once a secret is shared, it stops being a secret. Passing on that information will destroy trust.

Don’t keep them in the dark if you want their trust.

If things are going on in your life, keep your partner aware of them. Not knowing what’s going on and what you are doing reduces trust. Secrets hide in the dark. If you want a trusting relationship turn on the light of openness.

Keep your word. Say it, do it, and trust will grow.

To increase trust, your partner needs to know that you will keep your word. Don’t promise things you can’t or won’t do. Don’t say you will do something because that is what you would like to do. When you are not sure, tell them about your uncertainty. Don’t promise things that you can’t make come true.

Admitting that you don’t know increases trust.

If you want to be trusted, you can’t pretend to know things that you don’t. Be honest enough to admit that you don’t know. Making up an answer may seem reassuring at the time, but if that answer turns out to not be true, you have destroyed trust.

Admit when you’re wrong if you want more trust.

When you are wrong, admit it right away. Trying to hide your mistakes creates doubt and makes it harder to trust you in the future. You don’t have to always be right. It’s easier to believe someone who promptly admits it when they are wrong.

Build trust by looking for win-win solutions.

People build trust by making others feel like you’re on the same team. Couples often get caught in the vicious cycle of win or lose arguments. It’s hard to trust someone when you believe that they care more about getting what they want than about making you happy. Look for solutions where both of you benefit.

Agreeing to disagree builds trust.

Endless arguments about who’s right, destroy trust in a relationship. If you can accept that others have the right to their opinion without you feeling insecure, you can come to trust the other person even if they don’t agree with you about everything.

Having appropriate boundaries makes it easier to trust.

Good boundaries help you establish where you end, and others begin. It’s hard to trust others when you don’t feel that your wishes will be respected. Once you feel confident that others know and recognize your limits, you can be more vulnerable and trusting.

Grow your relationship in many situations to grow trust.

The more experiences you had with someone, the more you come to know them. Adding to your inventory of shared experiences helps you understand how that person will act in various situations and help you expand your mutual trust.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Four David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

Loving yourself is OK.

By David Joel Miller MS Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Low Self-esteem

Low Self-esteem.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Loving others requires loving yourself.

People in a positive, loving relationship need to develop a skill which we used to call Healthy Narcissism, today we might call this high self-esteem. Researchers in the mental health field, believe that a thing called healthy narcissism exists in mentally healthy people. Freud said that our love for others develops from the way we feel about ourselves.

Parents who feel good about themselves can share that love with the children. Parents who feel inadequate find it hard to approve of anything their children do. The more you judge yourself, the more you judge others. High self-esteem or health narcissism is quite different from the unhealthy narcissism we see in people who develop Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

When you don’t feel good about yourself, it’s hard like other.

People with low self-esteem find it difficult to have good relationships with others. A negative view of yourself carries over into negative attitudes towards other people, the world, and the future. Having good relationships with others bolsters your self-esteem. Taking good care of yourself increases your ability to care about others.

Developing an extremely narcissistic personality is one way people protect themselves when they have low self-esteem. Feeling yourself with positive feelings creates a surplus that you can share with others. When you see the world the lens of negativity, everything looks dark and unhappy.

How do you tell healthy self-esteem from pathological narcissism?

Healthy self-esteem results in good mental health. People who feel good about themselves have less anxiety and are more positive and optimistic. People with pathological narcissism, have shaky self-esteem. Someone with narcissistic personality disorder needs to feel superior to others to feel okay about himself.

If you are high in self-esteem, you have plenty of love to share. When your self-esteem is fragile and is based on the beliefs that you are the superior person, and that others should admire you for your greatness, your ability to love and care for others is limited. A pathological narcissist does not love other people; they see others as things they are entitled to use to meet their needs.

Narcissists think they are better than others. People with high self-esteem can see their good points and the good characteristics of others. Narcissists always believed they are better at things that they are. People with high self-esteem feel good about their accomplishments and can see the areas that need improvement.

Narcissists are selfish and believe they deserve the best of everything. People with high self-esteem take good care of themselves so that they will be able to take care of others. People with high self-esteem what their relationships to be caring. Narcissists have little interest in warm, close relationships and see their connections with others as tools they use to get what they want.

More about Narcissists.

As we move through our series of Narcissism posts, feel free to ask questions and leave comments. To help you find these posts, below are some links to point you in the right direction. Keep in mind that all the posts about narcissists appeared in the narcissism category but links to future posts will not be live until future posts appear.

Narcissism category.                           Personality disorders.

Narcissistic traits.                               Psychology.

Narcissistic relationship partner.        Relationships.

Self-esteem.                                        Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Posts about having a happy life will be found in the category – happiness.

David Joel Miller MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Sasquatch.

Wandering through a hole in time they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time but the Sasquatch wants to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Are you starving for approval?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Desperate for likes?

Desperate for likes?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Are you desperate for likes?

There are some very mentally unhealthy consequences of using social media in an unhelpful way. Don’t become one of those people who spends their life frantically looking for likes. Remember the like button it someone’s opinion about what you said, not a judgment about who you are as a person or what you are doing with your life. If you find your self-esteem is becoming dependent on likes, you have set yourself up to the victimized by bullies and trolls. Here are some reasons why likes are playing too big a role in your life.

In childhood, approval was your pay.

When you were a small child, adults and caregivers in your life rewarded your behavior by giving approval and attention. As we grow in life, the locus of approval should shift from needing the attention of others to working for our own approval. If other people’s opinions matter more than your own is still have some growing up to do.

Learn to do things because you can be proud of them. Make it a point to notice your accomplishments. Don’t turn your self-esteem over to a button on a social media site.

Social approval looks deceptively like success.

Having lots of people like you is a success mirage. Successful people follow their own path. Sometimes doing good things means doing things that aren’t popular. Don’t mistake following the herd for doing something worthwhile. Highly successful people are not on social media, begging to be liked. Saying something for others approval is not an accomplished. Successful people are busy doing things not talking about them

Beware the effect trolls will have on your self-confidence.

People who don’t feel good about themselves delight in hurting others. There will always be someone out there to criticize you. Don’t set yourself up as a human sacrifice to the trolls. The more you do in life, the more people will criticize you. There will always be haters, the bullies of life, out to build themselves up by pulling others down.

Only your mother cared, don’t expect others to.

When you were small, someone, often your mother, fawned over everything you did. When you were very small, taking that first step may have been a big deal. Don’t forget that every other walking person had to take their first step. If something you do gets around applause, or a compliment, acknowledge the gift of appreciation by don’t start doing things expecting acknowledgments.

Don’t expect adults to care what clothing you bought, on what you ate for lunch. Real accomplishments take a lot of time and effort. Getting likes for spending money evaporates rapidly. What matters in your life is not the round of applause you get on social media but the difficult things you do when you are off-line.

Comparing up keeps you small.

When you start comparing yourself to others on social media, you are likely to develop a very biased view of the world. People very rarely compare themselves to others with fewer friends and fewer likes. If you constantly compare yourself to people with more friends and likes you will always feel small. The person with fifty friends always compares themselves to people with thousands of friends. Don’t forget there are other people will only have five friends. The more you compare, the more you judge and measure yourself, the more you harm your self-esteem and diminish yourself confidence.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

David Joel Miller MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Relationships suffer when you don’t like you.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Low Self-esteem

Low Self-esteem.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Low self-esteem poisons your other relationships.

In the aftermath of a failed relationship, many people come to counseling. One common theme is that they have low self-esteem. It’s a human tendency to try to use our relationship to boost our self-esteem and self-confidence.

People with low self-esteem are often like a leaky bucket. No matter how much love and affection their family or partner pours into them, they still feel empty. If you feel that something is lacking in your relationships, start by looking at yourself. People who are emotionally unwell tend to attract sick people into their lives.

Recovering people often find that as they become healthier, they develop more self-esteem. When you feel better about yourself, an unhealthy, dysfunctional relationship, will no longer be acceptable. Healthy people tend to attract other healthy people into their lives. Here are some ways that your low self-esteem may be damaging your relationships.

Low self-esteem makes you needy and dependent.

People who don’t feel good about themselves, don’t like or love themselves, are constantly hungry for approval from others. They seek out strong partners or friends to bolster their egos. That strong in control person you were dating can become that insufferable, controlling person. Extremely needy people drive other people away.

You may become pathologically jealous.

If you don’t feel good about yourself, you may doubt why your partner is staying with you. People who believe their mate has lots of options, while if they lose this partner, they are doomed to be alone, can become pathologically jealous.

When you don’t feel good about your self-worth you may begin to spy on your partner, follow them around, and endlessly question their behavior. If you’re becoming jealous ask yourself is this because you see real signs your partner is cheating on you? Or is this fear because you don’t understand why your partner is staying with you?

You become irritable and fight more.

People who don’t feel well, either physically or emotionally, become irritable and try to push others away. If you don’t like yourself, you may begin to doubt your partner. If you think your partner is likely to cheat on you and then leave you there is a risk you will begin to provoke fights, trying to make, the inevitable happened.

You are lonely even when you’re around others.

Loneliness is a powerful emotional complex. It drives people to associate with other people. If when you are alone, you feel frantic to be around others the problem may be that you don’t like yourself. People with low self-esteem don’t lose that lonely feeling even when they are in a crowd. How can you feel happy and connected when you expect others to dislike you, in the same manner, you just like yourself?

You attract negative people.

People with low self-esteem are hard to be around. They tend to drive away emotionally healthy people. When you’re feeling down, depressed, anxious, and unworthy, you become a magnet for other people with low self-esteem. People who are short on self-love are easy prey for narcissists, psychopaths, and other needy people who are out to use them.

Want healthy relationships?

Begin by improving your relationship with you. You feel better about yourself you will begin to view your relationships with others in a more realistic way. If you like yourself, you will begin to demand that others treat you well. Emotionally healthy people cut the harmful, toxic people out of their lives. As you become mentally healthy, feel better about yourself, you will either find your relationships improving or find it easier to let go of the unhealthy relationships in your life.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

David Joel Miller MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Self-esteem boosters.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Believe in you.

Self-Esteem.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Does your self-esteem need a boost?

Many people describe themselves as having low self-esteem, and yet the things they are doing and the way they are doing those things are reducing their self-esteem rather than improving it.

If you would like to grow your self-esteem here are some behaviors to improve your self-esteem, and some things to stop doing that may be damage your self-esteem.

Doing more worthwhile things builds self-esteem.

One cause of low self-esteem is inaction. Doing nothing is hard on your self-esteem. People who are active, living life, build up their self-esteem. Focus on doing things you can be proud of. Rather than aiming for huge world-changing actions, try to make each thing you do throughout the day something you feel good about.

Focus on the positive not the negative.

Only paying attention to your errors is a sure self-esteem deflator. If you only count the negative you build up a wall that prevents you from seeing your accomplishments. Pay particular attention to the positive things that happen each day of your life. When something good occurs, pause and take special note before that accomplishment disappears from sight.

Develop a positive support system.

Surround yourself with people who feel good about themselves and about you. Having negative people in your life is sure to lower your self-esteem. Positive people build you up; negative influences pull you down. Maximize your helpful support system.

Increase your self-esteem by learning to love yourself.

Learn to love yourself exactly the way you are. You are a worthwhile person because of who you are not because of the things you do. Learn to accept yourself, like yourself, and enjoy spending time with you. Everyone needs a best friend. Become your own best friend, and other friendships will follow.

Treat yourself the way you want others to treat you.

Be kind and gentle with yourself. Beating yourself up will not make you a better person. The way you treat yourself becomes the model for the way others will treat you. Include time for a healthy lifestyle in your schedule. Eat healthy food, drink plenty of water, and when you’re tired allow yourself to rest and recharge. Don’t engage in self-harming behaviors.

For more self-esteem stop the insults.

Don’t call yourself names. Calling yourself stupid or fat or any other insult will destroy your self-esteem. Learn to view your shortcomings as improvement opportunities. Rather than call yourself stupid, tell yourself that you, like all other humans, sometimes make mistakes. If there are things you don’t know, learn more about them, get more education. If you’re unhappy with your physical condition, see a medical doctor, work with a counselor, and begin the program of self-improvement.

Remember the compliments.

Never getting a compliment undermines self-esteem. Complements are gifts, learn to give them and to accept them graciously. Give honest compliments. See the good in yourself and others. Don’t lie to yourself or pretend you accomplish things you never did. Do learn to recognize the progress you make in your life.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Does your life need a hero?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Hero?

What does it take to be a hero?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

What does it take to be a hero?

Now, more than ever, we need some heroes. Unfortunately, the greatest heroes often go unrecognized. Being rich, famous or popular doesn’t make you a hero. Sometimes well-known people are heroes, but it’s not their wealth, fame, or popularity that makes them a hero. The hero in your life could be someone no one else recognizes. The hero who transforms your life might be that elementary school teacher or the college professor who believes in you when others didn’t. The hero in your life might be the parent who works two jobs so that you can have a better life. The hero in your life story, the one who changes things in your family for the better might be you.

Storytellers throughout the ages have studied a phenomenon they call the hero’s journey. Sometimes it’s hard to identify a hero until you get to the end of the story. You may only recognize the heroes in your life by hindsight. Others may never see the heroism it takes for you to live your life. What makes someone a hero?

Heroes don’t have it easy.

It doesn’t take much courage or heroism to accomplish things when you live an easy life, and everything’s coming your way. Every genuine hero has had to face an incredible challenge. Heroes do the hard stuff; the things other people would rather avoid. They do the necessary tasks day in and day out whether anyone else recognizes their struggles. They often must do unpopular things because it’s the right thing to do. Great heroes are often ordinary people who do extraordinary things when the challenge comes.

Heroes don’t start out planning to slay dragons.

The greatest heroes, those in stories and legends, and those we will meet in our lives don’t go out looking for struggles. A hero doesn’t go up and down the street looking for someone to fight. The heroes we most admire are the ones who would’ve preferred to a live quiet, peaceful life, but when the challenge came, they didn’t run from it. Heroes don’t undertake their quest for the round of applause. Heroes do what they do because something inside of them will not let them turn away from the struggle.

Heroes face problems others run from.

What separates heroes from those who run from problems is the direction they face. Many people spend their whole life avoiding challenges. It’s easy to escape into hopelessness by telling yourself there’s nothing you can do about the problems you and your world are facing. Some people use drugs, or alcohol, to avoid dealing with the struggles of life.

It’s never too late to change your direction from avoiding problems to tackling them head-on. The most admired heroes are those who reluctantly tackled a challenge. If you’ve ever asked yourself “why me?” You may be a hero in waiting. The question heroes eventually asked themselves is often “why not me?” There’s something inside of them that drives them to face this challenge even though they wish they could avoid it.

The life of a hero is never easy.

The pathway to being a hero will be filled with obstacles. Reaching their goals will require overcoming many impediments. There will be times when the hero in training seriously considers giving up. Often the way forward will seem bleak, dark and impossible. The hero may find their path a lonely journey.

Many other people may have come this way, stood face to face with a great struggle. Less heroic people reach this point, and they give up, they turn back. Heroes come in all sizes, and shapes, and roles in life. Heroes don’t avoid the challenges; they just don’t give up no matter how dark today appears.

Heroes go on even when life seems hopeless.

Member that old saying “it’s always darkest before the dawn?” That’s an apt description of heroism. People endure struggles trying to make the world a better place even though they may not be able to see the fruits of that struggle. It’s tempting to give up doing the right thing when it’s hard.

It’s easy to find excuses for avoiding the hard things in life. You could tell yourself you don’t have the abilities, the position, where the money needed to accomplish great things. What you should be asking yourself is how can you use what you do have to make things better. Regardless of how many failures you’ve had in your life, you shouldn’t tell yourself that nothing better is possible. Every day new stories are being written about people who overcame life’s difficulties, who turned themselves around and got their life headed in the right direction. Heroes don’t let their past or their disabilities determine their future.

The journey of life changes heroes.

Many people start out life with everything going for them. They may come from wealth or privilege. Some have great talents. What separates these privileged people from the heroes of life, is that many don’t struggle. Many people who could accomplish great things in life take the easy path, turned back when the going got rough. The process, the journey of life, changes the people who do the hard work of facing life.

Can you identify the heroes in your life?

Are there people you admire? People who have struggled on, regardless of the challenge? People you’d like to be like, not because of their wealth, or status, or power, but because they never gave up and persevered in facing the trials of life. Will there be people in your life, your children, your friends, or society in general, who will recognize your heroism? It’s never too late to shift from avoiding the problems in life. Maybe today’s the day you will move from telling yourself all the things you can’t do and begin to take on the task of doing the things you should do.

Are you ready to start your hero’s journey of life?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.