It’s an essential truth about life: “You are what you dwell upon.”
As we face the challenges of growing up, we all need heroes that we can relate to. And they come to many of us from the world of Fiction — through books, movies and television.
Heroes are all about overcoming adversity. They are loved for being strong, smart, making the best of bad situations, sticking to what they believe in, and always doing the right thing — no matter what the cost.
Relatable heroes in fiction can mean even more — because they are human enough for us to see ourselves in them. They spark passion and idealism in children — including boys and girls of every color — then keep those fires burning in adults.
We need diversity in the stories that we share — and in our heroes.
Nora Ephron was an American journalist, writer, and filmmaker — nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Writing: for Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally…, and Sleepless in Seattle. She gave this advice to young women:
“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
Ask any woman who grew up with fictional heroes like Nancy Drew, Hermione Granger and Katniss Everdeen, and they’ll speak of bravery, love, and courage as the basis of true strength. They remember a sense of empowerment, and say things like: “Her existence made me feel like maybe I could grow up to be the same.”
Researchers at Ohio State University found that people, while reading fiction, can find themselves feeling the emotions, thoughts and beliefs of a character — as if these are their own. In fact, it can lead to real-world change in one’s behavior. So, by immersing ourselves into the world of a fictional hero, we may actually find ourselves on the path to personal growth.
For readers of all ages, visionary fiction offers more than an escape: It provides a road map to set out on one’s own real life journey to a different, better place.
You are what you dwell upon. During challenging times — like these — what could be more inspirational, than that?