Certainly we cannot identify ourselves as having “super powers” by the truest definition, but we all have the ability to be our own superhero.
So, what is a superhero? By the Merriam Webster definition a superhero is a fictional hero having extraordinary or superhuman powers, also : an exceptionally skillful or successful person.
A broader definition might say a superhero is someone with extraordinary powers or abilities that acts heroic or brave. Heroes are present in our day to day life. From strangers risking their own lives to save others, as an illustrator from Columbia did, rescuing a man from a subway rail in Manhattan, to a homeless man in England who came to the aid of children after a terrorist attack in Manchester.
Heroic acts are performed every day.
Some, of course, get more recognition than others, but none are small acts. All are acts of generosity, kindness and sacrifice. But not all acts of heroism have to be about literally saving another persons life or putting yourself in harms way at the risk of death. Being a hero, a superhero even, can be about small things.
“I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” – Superman
Consider the worst time in your life, maybe the worst day of your life.
Who came to your rescue? Was it a stranger, a close friend or a family member? Did you rescue yourself? Remember we’re talking abut the worst day of your life. Possibly a day you never thought would end, a problem you thought you would never be solve or a period in your life where you felt lost and hopeless.
Who was your hero then?
For some of us, it is ourselves. We may have discovered inner strength and kindness that, at the time, felt like an extraordinary ability. Perhaps you think no one came to your rescue. But is that true? Because here you are, reading this, surviving.
Truthfully, we all encompass the ability to be superheros. Okay, we will never leap tall buildings in one bound like Superman or have super speed like the Flash, but in the figurative sense, we have the same powers all of these heroes exemplify. We have super powers.
There are few things more difficult than being compassionate to someone who has hurt you. Envision yourself forgiving someone you trusted. Imagine helping someone that has rejected you. Now consider doing these things because it is brave. Contemplate making the choice to be a hero to someone who may not have expected it (or deserved it).
Being a superhero is not about getting something in return for your actions.
It is an act of generosity. Those who act upon their kindness and bravery towards others do not put hours of thought and planning into it. It is instinctual. It feels right. In a Smithsonian Magazine article by Robin Rosenberg, she writes about the psychology behind superhero origins, stating, “At their best, superhero origin stories inspire us and provide models of coping with adversity, finding meaning in loss and trauma, discovering our strengths and using them for good purpose.” So, rather than feeling so alone in our personal struggles, recognize that we all have them, even the idolized superhero.
Finding your inner superhero is not about “saving the day”, but perhaps more about setting an example of how to give back to others through benevolence and kindness without expectations of reward or recognition. It is about discovering who you want that superhero to be and how you want to make a difference in the world.
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