Author, psychologist, and physician Dr. Raymond Moody said life-changing words. He said something like, “The definition of normal is someone you don’t yet know very well.” In other words, hang around someone long enough, and you discover their flaws and wounds—their abnormalities. That quote means a ton not for just fiction, but for your life as well.
We are all wounded.
Deep down, we’re all wounded birds. But birds are meant to fly, right? Well, so are heroes in fiction. And so are you.
We are all flawed, with at least one serious flaw, coupled with at least one life-altering wound. That means, at times we struggle when we hit our limits. Sadly, “life doesn’t come with a user’s manual” (Ackerman & Puglisi, 2017, 2%).
This wounded state is universal: “Mentors, sidekicks, love interests, and villains are all affected similarly by trauma, which will determine the motivations that drive them toward their chosen goals” (Ackerman & Puglisi, 2017, 2%).
What exactly are wounds?
Wounds, according to the Emotional Wound Thesaurus, come in many flavors. These flavors can range from witnessing a murder to having a physical disability to failing at school to being raised by an addict. Why do I call wounds flavors? Well, with each wound comes something magnificent: a life lesson; a growth opportunity—two key reasons for our earthly existence.
Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi (2017) say, “Obstacles, challenges, and opportunities come along in life and prompt difficult questions: How do I deal with this? What should I do? What will it say about me if I fail? Unfortunately, fear, self-doubt, and insecurity are all part of the human baggage we lug around each day” (2%). The good news is that we grow by the act of struggling to cope.
How do true heroes cope?
True heroes in fiction overcome adversity through loving kindness, in my view. It’s the heroes that seek vengeance who fall to the realm of anti-heroes. I’m heartbroken by how many heroes in the cinema get applauded for ill deeds.
So, be a true hero: never grow jaded. As soon as any negativity arises—anger, jealousy, vindictiveness, fear—it’s your duty to counteract these emotions. You should focus your mind on uplifting thoughts and emotions instead. That means, as soon as negativity enters your consciousness, think instead, “The clouds in the sky look beautiful,” or, “I love my Grandpa,” or, “I feel good today”—anything positive. Shift your mind; train your mind and you’ll reach a “tipping point” where positivity reigns.
But the human condition brings all of us to unwholesome thoughts, at times, no matter how positive we try to be. We’re all flawed and wounded, none of us normal. Does that mean we shouldn’t love all those people in our lives who show their flaws? I believe love is the answer. If we judge another, we get the same treatment sooner or later. Whether in fiction or real life, karma brings us the lessons we came here to learn. Live long enough, and you’ll discover why loving unconditionally heals all wounds.