The Hero Complex

Ok, so we’ve all been there. Someone asks you to help them out and lets you know somehow that it has to be you. That you are somehow special and no-one else can help like you can. Sometimes it can feel really good to be needed in such a way. Especially if you can fulfil the request with minimal effort. And really, what’s wrong with helping others anyway?

Helping others or the desire to help is not inherently a bad thing in fact, it is a beautiful gift but sometimes it can come from our past trauma where you have a need to be needed which can make it difficult when asked to do something that you actually don’t want to do or that by doing so, it means that you have less time or energy for something else that you really care about. It can also make it difficult to put your own needs first, to say no, or you may feel guilty to do something you enjoy. It can also have a massive impact on those you love and attract. It can also lead to feeling bad, selfish or uncaring when choosing something for yourself or you may have feelings of resentment or a lack of energy. Having discernment is tricky as there are extremes to both ends so I like to imagine a scale with acting selfish being on one end of the scale and being self-less on the other. The fine balance between the two is “self love” but it can be a tricky balance to achieve.

The codependency that I’m talking about, or the “hero complex” is often something that we inherit very early on. In fact, from my own experience and working with people, it can be something that has come from as early as our birth or conception or something we may have learnt to do very young within our family that has been reinforced in so many ways by the culture around us. Religion can also contribute to the reinforcing of this too.

To break the cycle, I’ve made a list of a few things that may help you. this is not a full list so feel free to add comments below too.

1.Reconnect with yourself

In previous posts I have talked about the fact that the things we focus on, what we put our energy on, are the things that grow. This happens with needs too. If we focus on the needs of others all the time, it activates our Reticular Activation System where our brains decide that the needs of others are important to us so it starts to notice them and bring them to our attention. And trust me, there will always be plenty of needs (and if not, we may unconsciously start creating some!!).

So, if what we focus on grows, the things we don’t focus on, perish. And that includes our sense of self…

Reconnecting with ourselves can be as simple as asking yourself: “What do I want?”

You may be so used to living for others that when asked this question, or questions similar like “What makes you happy?” or “What do you enjoy spending your time doing?” or even “What types of people do you enjoy helping the most?” That you have difficulty answering. You may be so disconnected from your “self” that you don’t know who you are or what you like. So go find out! Try new things. Start to listen to yourself and find out your preferences. Do things just to see if you like them. Grow your “self” some more so that you can have more confidence to do some of the things mentioned later in this article.

2. Learn some mindfulness so that you can be tuned in to your energy and notice how it acts in certain situations. This can really help you to reconnect back to yourself. Start to notice how your energy responds to requests from others. Is this something that feels exciting and engaging and energises you? Or is it something that feels draining and a lot of hard work? Is your heart aligned to something else instead? Listen to these feelings.

3. Ask yourself: Is me helping actually helping?

Sometimes, doing things for others actually robs them from the opportunity to learn how to do things for themselves. It may mean that they don’t have an opportunity to grow if they are always getting you to do it for them and it also means that they learn to depend on you more. In the long run, your best intentions to help, may not actually be helping them really.

It may mean that they are coming to you for help is because of a lack of confidence and trust in their own abilities to do this for themselves. Rather than reinforce this, when a request comes your way, firstly listen. Sometimes having a sounding board will allow them what they need to find the solution for themselves. If not, focus on their resources and strengths and encourage those. Perhaps providing them with encouragement is more help than actually doing the very thing. When they come up with a solution or answer to their problem, encourage that so that they remember how very capable they are (for more about this, see this post). Remember again that what you focus your attention on will grow and once they have this perspective, they may be able to see their strengths next time without your help.

4. Say no

I know it seems so obvious but if you’re not used to it, is is actually not so obvious and can lead to feeling really guilty or selfish. Practice saying no to smaller things before saying no to the big things but saying no will actually show you something amazing…. The need will get met in another way. Which leads to my next point…

5. Trust the source

The pure loving part (be it God, Spirit or just love) that is inside of you that wants to help is in others too. Trust and allow the love that others carry inside of them to help while you focus on the things that really mean something to you.

6. Heal.

If you can relate to some of this article, some therapy to understand why you may be creating codependent relationships and to heal from any trauma can help (services here).

Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas for self care in the comments below too if you feel to share 🙂 Thanks for reading and may you find ways to love yourself more today. For more information about self worth and chakras, read this post.


  1. Karen Walton Davidson

    A wonderful message. Self-care, feeding your spirit, its necessary before you can give to others.

  2. Karrina

    Yes, it’s so true, you gotta look after number 1, before you can look after number 2 or 3 or 4+ … self care in the way you eat healthier and nourish your body makes it function better , or sometimes we call it pampering like it’s some sort of treat to take care of our bodies too like a hair cut to rid of dead ends, an eyebrow wax or dyeing to attempt beautification or a manicure or pedi to give the feeling of happiness in the way we look, it’s also good for the cuticals, and it’s totally fine to take some time out in order to do these things… I think it’s a must. You must feel happy within yourself, love yourself, before you can love anyone else… although we are all working progress, and if you find balance in already doing so and always striving for better, i think your almost there ❤️

    • knowmoresayless

      Yes to putting that self care onto our bodies with dieting and grooming/beautifying! Interesting that I didn’t even mention that part of self care. I’m glad that you have though 🙂 Thanks for reading. Much love chick x

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