“I think a hero is any person who is really intent on making this a better place for all people.” Maya Angelou


Could you be a hero, the one who runs into the burning building and saves the trapped child? Even with great intentions, not everyone could do it. It takes…

commitment to the cause, mastery of the skills, and strength to perform the task.

Burning buildings aren’t the only places where heroes are needed. Relational fires can also do a lot of damage and can burn and scar victims. A hero here can also save a life.

Being a hero in the midst of a relational fire requires you to have the same 3 elements as in the blazing building. First of all, it takes commitment to the cause. If, in the midst of a fiery disagreement you recognize that the most important goal is to save the relationship, then you’re well on your way to saving the day.

Alternatively, if you’ve determined that the most important outcome is to win the argument, or have your way, then you’re not likely to be the hero. In fact, you are more likely to add fuel to the blaze and increase the damage.

Relational challenges are also like the fire emergency in that once you’ve decided what you want to accomplish, you then need to trust your mastery of the skills so you do and say the right things, avoid the flames, and lead the victims to safe ground. To be ready when the challenge comes, you need to develop mastery of the skills before the fire starts.

Relationally, this means learning to listen with empathy, speak with compassion, confront with sensitivity, forgive with grace and apologize with healing. Here’s a free video on how to apologize with healing. With these skills mastered, you will have greater confidence in your ability to walk into the heated debate. But do you have the fortitude to actually do it?

You can have a commitment to the cause, mastery of the skills, but fail in fulfilling the mission if you lack the strength to perform the task. In the fire story, if you enter the burning building with a weak back and little upper body strength, the odds of being a hero are slim. You’re more likely to be knocked down by the heat of the fire, become dazed and have to be rescued yourself. The same is true in relational challenges.

If you enter the fray with poor self-esteem you’re not likely to be the hero. You won’t have the strength to stand strong and perform the task. Your ego is likely to crumble under the first hot blast of criticism. To perform like a hero you’ve got to have enough confidence to set your own needs aside. You want your focus to be on the goal of saving the relationship. My earlier post may be helpful to you.

So, first take care of your personal stability, then learn the skills, and wait for the next fire. Be the hero!