What Makes a Hero?


Beliefnet readers share the qualities they believe every hero should have.

You don't need a red cape or a secret cave to be a super hero. Instead, you can be a hero just by the selfless, authentic, and moral qualities you project onto others. Heroes pursue justice without discriminating against who they help. As we think of the year that's now ending, it's a time to think of the everyday heroes who've touched our lives in the past 12 months. Here at Beliefnet, we’ve searched for the Most Inspiring Person of the Year.

Meanwhile CNN has combed the world to put together a tribute to the year’s heroes—those ordinary people who have made a more-than-ordinary impact. You can watch "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” this Thanksgiving night, at 9PM ET on CNN.

So we've also asked you, “What makes a true hero?” What follows are some of the best answers you gave. Get started: "A hero is someone who..."

Gives Without Selfish Motives


I look for someone who inspires and shows remarkable compassion for others--giving selflessly of themselves.


Strives to Make a Difference


I look for people who are motivated to create positive change in a loving, non-violent, and selfless way. These people strive to make a difference, whether they get anything out of it or not.


Champions for Good


A die-hard passion to do good for people.


Puts Another Person's Life First


There are so many different kinds of inspiring people, but when a person puts someone else's life above his or her own, to me that's the ultimate inspiring act.

--Dena R.

Goes Above and Beyond


A hero is someone who cares enough to do what needs to be done without caring what other people may say or think, or if there may be danger. [A hero also goes] above and beyond, doesn't turn his head because it would be easier or convenient, and answers calls for help always.


Knows What's Right and Wrong


A hero is someone who is "idolized" by others for their openness, honesty, and humility--a hero is defined by actions that are rooted in a strong moral center. A hero knows what's right and what's wrong, but even when he doesn't, he is still capable of correcting his mistakes.

--Sherry H.

Helps for the Sake of Helping


I'd say completely removing yourself from the equation and helping only for the sake of helping is the definition of a hero to me.


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