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How to Be a Hero September 1, 2011

Posted by occhristiancounseling in Dr. Debi Smith, understanding men, understanding women.

Most men want to be a hero – no matter how old they are. And it’s really easy to do. In fact, my 4-year-old grandson has it figured out already. Depending on what day it is, he’s Spider Man, Batman, or Superman – and he saves me from the “mean guys” who lurk in the corner of my family room then slither unnoticed up the stairs and into my walk-in closet. These villains would go undetected, but My Little Superhero knows they’re there. He slings his web to capture them, then proudly announces that he has saved me and I am safe.

Note: Every hero needs someone to save – and someone who notices that he’s done it.

Grownup heroes need that, too. The beauty of it is – as a man – you don’t have to create imaginary villains or sling imaginary webs to save her. All you have to do to be her hero is to be a gentleman. Treat her like a lady. Not many men do that these days.

Author Jane Austen provides some great examples of gentlemanly behavior. A wonderful model of a hero is Mr. Knightley in *Emma. When he sees the distress of Miss Harriet Smith who is left without a dance partner at the ball, he quickly rescues her; and her delight is readily apparent.

All women love to be rescued, though we don’t always admit it, and many women won’t allow it. If you get shut down in your attempts to be a hero, don’t take it personally. Some women have been so hurt or are so afraid of being hurt that they put up a wall. If you’re not married to her, move on. If you are married to her, then there’s some work to be done to win her over. Counseling with a well-trained couples therapist can really help. Look for someone who has training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). You’ll get the best long-term return on your investment with EFT.

*Don’t want to be caught watching a chick-flick? Get Netflix and watch on your iPhone.


1. Amanda - February 20, 2012

Hi! Do you have any articles you would recommend addressing the specific topic of men wanting to be heroes? I am trying to research this trait and its relation to shame and am having a hard time finding precedence. Thanks!

occhristiancounseling - February 22, 2012

Hi, Amanda. Boys are typically shamed, especially for expressing vulnerable feelings, and I can see how you might begin to wonder if that leads them to being heroic in order to gain approval. However, I believe (personal opinion) that the two are separate. Shame and guilt are used as a way of shaping our boys and men (nurture), whereas the desire to be a hero seems to be innate (nature) – the way they express their love (through action).

You might find the following of interest, which may lead you to other articles that may prove helpful in your research. (a) http://psychofmen.wordpress.com/2008/10/02/levant-hirsch-celentano-cozza-1992/ (b) http://occhristiancounseling.com/media/mothers_and_sons.html

The first one is posted on our Psych of Men blog (undergraduate class at Azusa Pacific University). The second link is to my book on Mothers and Sons. Check out the “References” at the end of the book for ideas about where to find more info.

Keep me posted on what you find. I’d love to hear from you again!

Warmly, Dr. Smith

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