All the great heroes I grew up reading about had a fatal character flaw (read: Achilles’ heel) that eventually brought about their downfall. Think Hamlet’s overthinking or Othello’s jealousy or Macbeth’s greed.
The great hero of our story is a male INFJ. His fatal character flaw is constantly falling for emotionally unavailable people that are toxic for his well-being.
It is rewarding yet difficult being our hero. While he does overthink, he also over-loves. He wants to fix everything that’s wrong in the world. So it is hardly a surprise that our hero chooses people that are poison for his soul and hopes his love will somehow “fix” them. Our hero ignores all the red flags while setting out on his noble mission.
Our hero tragically equates love with sacrifice. He would gladly break his own heart and bid farewell to the person he loves if it meant a happier life for them. He has a burning desire to save the person he loves, even at the cost of his own tranquility. Not because of any personal gain or ulterior motive. Just because he cannot bear to see the person he loves in pain or agony. So it is hardly a surprise that our hero takes command of a ship that is headed out into a stormy sea. He can foresee a shipwreck, but is confident enough in his own abilities to guide his ship safely to the shore. On the verge of failure, our hero honourably chooses to go down with his ship instead of abandoning it.
A lesson worth learning for our hero is that the problem doesn’t lie with the intensity of his love. It lies with the people he chooses to love so passionately. People that are blind to the value of his rarity and preciousness. People that know only how to take and never to give. People that gladly drink from the fountain of his devotion without ever refilling it. No wonder our hero feels so empty all the time, like there is a void that will never be filled.
It is our hero’s intensity, passion, and inability to do things in halves that makes him unique. Our hero must remember that he won’t ever be “too much” for the right person. He should trust that there is someone out there looking for exactly what he has to offer. Our hero should never tone himself down to fit with people and in places he doesn’t belong. It is his duty and responsibility to stay rare in a world that is trying extremely hard each day to turn him ordinary.
Another important (yet painful) lesson to learn for our hero is that he cannot save people. He can only love them. People save themselves when they want to. Perhaps the person our hero loves doesn’t even want to be saved at the moment he is turning his life upside down just to make them feel alive again. Simply because the person our hero loves is addicted to toxicity or cannot get over their suffering does not mean that he has to choose toxicity or suffering for himself too. That’s not love. That’s masochism. Our hero deserves much better for having a heart so pure and full of love. With a heart like his, our hero deserves the world.
Remember this even if you forget everything else: If people save themselves, then who is going to save you when you are falling apart? You are. You owe it to yourself for all those times you felt like a failure trying to save people that didn’t want to be saved.