How to Be a Hero: Part 6

This post is the sixth in a series of tips from social justice activists on how you can unleash your inner hero to make a difference. Have your own tips? Submit to!

By Madison Kimrey, youth activist. You may know Madison from her impassioned speech on voting rights, which went viral last year. She also writes about social justice issues at her blog, Functional Human Being.

  • Be yourself. When you are true to yourself, it helps other people see that someone like them can make a difference. Don’t feel you need to impress people and don’t feel pressured to be anything other than yourself.
  • Speak out about the things you’re passionate about. Don’t ever worry if the thing you’re passionate about is something other people will think is important enough. If you are passionate, people will see that and your passion can be contagious.
  • One small thing can make a difference. Don’t worry that you aren’t doing enough. If you’re doing something, you’re making a difference.
  • Don’t waste your time on the people who want to bring you down. There are always going to be people who disagree with you. Some of those people can’t disagree respectfully and will attack you, insult you, lie about you, or try to make you feel bad about what you’re doing. Every minute you spend trying to argue with people who are only interested in bringing you down is a moment you could spend lifting others up.
  • Learn how to deal with pressure. Remember that you don’t have to do everything to do something. It’s okay to say no sometimes.
  • Learn how to accept praise. When people praise you, it can make you uncomfortable. Sometimes you might think that you’re not worthy of the praise you are getting. Know that if people give you praise, you’re worthy of that praise.
  • Remember to praise yourself. When you wake up, try looking in the mirror and telling yourself, “You are awesome!” Be proud of your accomplishments.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Asking someone to help you does not make you weak and can help others feel strong.
  • You don’t have to have an entire plan from start to finish. Start with that one small thing and see where the path takes you. Sometimes the unexpected results are better than the results you’d expect.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail. Sometimes, you’ll think something is a great idea, then put your plan into action and won’t get the results you wanted. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and continue to follow the path.
  • Don’t give up what you love to do. Many people have lots of things they’re passionate about. Finding balance in your life is important. If you find yourself missing people or activities that bring you fulfillment, it might be time to step back and restore your balance.