Stop It Already! You Are a Heroine!

I’ve been hearing this lately. “I can’t think of myself as a Heroine.”

What? Why is this so hard? Well, I know why. I’ve been there. We think:

“Who am I? I haven’t done anything to warrant calling myself that! I’m nobody in the big sea of women doing amazing things. I’m existing, surviving…a heroine? I don’t think so! Besides, isn’t it self-serving, egotistical? Isn’t it like bragging?” 

Geez – we have to stop it already. We have to recognize what we’ve done. Remember what we’ve done – we forget!

This post is for you if you can’t relate to calling yourself a Heroine. It’s about getting you up out of the middle of your life so you can SEE. So you can see you as I see you.

And…another thing I like about this excerpt is it shows us how we’re all connected. We are all on the same path – we have that in common. The myth of the heroine connects us. We need to find every opportunity for that connection, don’t you agree?

OK – now, take a little climb up to my mountaintop view…

What about You?

Do you have a sense of your Ordinary Life at the moment?

If you don’t, maybe it’s because you are still saying, I’m not a Heroine! I’m not an author like Pamela, a professional athlete like Maureen, or a doctor and musician like Lisa. They’re all accomplished. I’m not.

OK, wait a minute. You are on the Heroine’s Journey. You are a Heroine! Maybe it would help if I positioned you differently so you can see it.

Come with me.

A Mountaintop Perspective

We’re all unique individuals. We are different from each other, and our lives reflect that in terms of wealth, education, geography, health, culture, looks, age, and accomplishments, just to name a few! Undeniably, we women are not alike.

Yet this book invites you to discover an important similarity.

To see it, you need to take a few steps back.

No, more steps back.

Farther back… away from your up-close stuck-in-the-middle-of-life view.


OK, that’s good.

But now you need a higher vantage point.

Start climbing.


Picture yourself on top of a really tall mountain.

Now, use your imagination and view the landscape you see from your high perch as the landscape of your life.

There’s a road down there, a path that represents where you’ve been.

(We’re pretending. Just go with it, OK?)

Let’s look more closely at that landscape. The challenges you’ve faced may look like dark forests or caves or rocky terrain. The happy times of your life might be grassy, sunshine-filled meadows.

Your life path goes through all of it.

See it all down there? Good.

However you imagine it, just pretend that you can see it as a road through all kinds of topography. You can even go with a yellow brick if you want to. It’s your life, Journey, laid out perfectly, far below where you currently watch from your imagination-powered height.

This is the perspective I had in mind. You are temporarily removed from the vibrant, or maybe not-so-vibrant, center of your current life and are viewing where you’ve been from a distance.

Now, suppose there are other women with you on top of your mountain. Yes, they are around you. Imagine them too. They are doing the same thing, viewing their life landscapes, the paths of their own lives. They see their twists and turns, peaks and valleys, and dark passages, the dead ends of where they’ve been up to now… just like you.

See any similarities in those paths… things you could point to that are the same on every path?

All of us have points on our paths where our footprints disappear, where our feet leave the path and we seem to take a big jump—a Leap. Our footprints appear again, farther down the way, but often on a different path. With that Leap, we’ve ultimately altered not only our Journey but also ourselves.

We, women, Leap. We follow our path, and when something prompts or pushes us to take a risk, make a change or do something differently… we do it! We leave the path. We Leap—or fall—into the unknown.

There are other similarities in all these women’s paths. We see that every path, no matter whose it is, has twists and turns. We see that each of us has run into roadblocks and dead ends. We’ve all made wrong turns that took us backward, instead of forward.

Some paths have circles where we’ve gone round and round. We see dark chasms in all our paths.

We also see the sunlit valleys and the bright meadows. We’ve been there too, though some have spent more time there than others. But remember, we’re not judging or resenting others. You can’t compare how you take the Journey to how another does, even though the Journey markers are similar.

It’s good to stand up here on the mountaintop together. It’s important that instead of noting and judging the differences (Her Leap was bigger than mine!), we see all the things we have in common. We view our path from this high vantage point so that we can see the common milestones in all our life paths. We have all been through them, most likely many times. For those of you who feel alone, this may be useful. Our Journey is ultimately the same, and it fits into the larger, common pattern we call the

“Heroine’s Journey.”

As we continue observing from our mountaintop, we recognize how our Journey shapes us. Those hardships along the way make us who we are: strong, wise, resilient women. The Journey challenges us. It’s hard. But what about the alternative? Would a wide, smooth, straight road produce such an awesome result as you?

Life is about experiencing these Journey steps. Joseph Campbell, referring to characters in a story, but recognizing that it’s our story too, wrote it this way:

The basic story of the hero’s journey involves giving up where you are, going into the realm of adventure, coming to some kind of symbolically rendered realization, and then returning to the field of normal life.

“Giving up where you are” is what I call “making a Leap.” It’s those Leaps that make the Journey more challenging and ultimately more meaningful for our own personal growth. Staying on the prescribed path or hanging out in our comfort zone may seem more desirable, but the Leap is what brings growth.

It’s a courageous woman who Leaps. She moves into unknown territory. It can be frightening or, at the very least, uncomfortable. Women who respond to the idea/nudge/Call/push to leave the path and make the Leap are Heroines. Their trajectory is one that can be traced to and ultimately defined as, the Heroine’s Journey.

I invite you to see it is the very “her-story” of your life. You have lived and are living the Heroine’s Journey.

I am a Heroine. You are a Heroine. We are together on this path, living the Heroine’s Journey.

There you have it: my spiel to those of you who just can’t wrap your head around calling yourself a Heroine. If you still can’t, that’s OK too. Just keep journeying with us. It may come with time.

Excerpted from: You Are a Heroine:  A Retelling of the Hero’s Journey by Susanna Liller, Published by Emerald Lake Books, Copyright 2018

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