I love meeting new people. I’m always excited to hear about their lives – about what they have done in the past, what they are doing now, and what they have planned for their future. Each person has an interesting story and features that are make them so unique. I also love trying to figure out what their special gift is…
The thing that I have realized of late though is that I see people totally differently than they see themselves. When I meet a person for the first time, I see them as their superhero version. Usually as I get to know a person, I find that they don’t often share this vision of themselves of having so much inherent value and so much to contribute to make the world a better place.
DO YOU REMEMBER DATA FROM STAR TREK?
Whenever I experience that moment in conversation with a new friend – that moment when they reveal that they don’t see themselves as the superhero version that I see – I’m always surprised. This revelation sometimes arises through a seemingly innocuous self-deprecating comment; other times, it arises in an earnest admission of self-doubt. When that moment comes, I always feel myself tilting my head to the side just like Data from Star Trek did when he was confused. (I know I am dating myself with that reference but if you lived through the late 80s and early 90s like I did, we may as well embrace that very weird era, right?)
In those moments, I always wonder what it was that planted that seed of self-doubt. Was it an experience in childhood when a parent or another influential person told them they couldn’t do something or acted in a way that devalued them? Was it as a result of negative interactions with peers? Or was it something more innate – a difficulty believing in themselves that ran deep into their inner world?
I was fortunate to grow up in a family that nurtured my belief in myself. In these moments of revelation, the one thing I wish more than anything is that I could give a little bit of that belief to someone else.
SUPERHEROES ARE ALL AROUND US
Now when I’m talking about a person’s superhero version, I’m not imagining them running around in a brightly coloured unitard with a mask and cape (although, I for one, would be a big supporter of more people doing just that on a regular basis!).
I am, however, talking about the fact that every one of us has something that makes us uniquely us. This “me-ness” needs to be nurtured and celebrated. And if this “me-ness” is cultivated to its fullest potential, it can help each person blossom into a version of themselves that can profoundly change the world for the better.
When I think about making the world a better place, there are some names that immediately spring to mind: Cindy Blackstock, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandhi, Nelson Mandela, Malala (and the list could go on and on). Their contributions to making the world better are amazing.
Although all of us have the ability to contribute on a grand scale, the most important contributions we make involve touching other people’s lives in a positive way, figuring out how to use our unique superhero powers to make the world a better place, and leaving a legacy that will make our families proud.
Your contributions can be small, daily gestures like:
- doing the dishes so your significant other doesn’t have to (think of this as an act of love);
- saying hi to everyone you see and brightening their day by giving them a big smile (don’t forget to thank the bus driver!);
- making a point of paying compliments to people when you get into conversation with them; or
- picking up litter, guerilla gardening, or doing other things the no one sees that make a positive contribution.
Your unique superhero contributions could be bigger. They could include:
- reinvigorating your commitment to an important cause (mine is equal access to education, health and legal services, and clean water for First Nations communities);
- finding ways to take action in service of others; or
- putting your safety on the line to ensure the safety of others (thanks to all my new police friends that I met last week in Barrie – including you, Amanda!)
WHAT IS YOUR SUPERHERO POWER?
- Do you have amazing social skills – the kind that can make people laugh uproariously and gather around you at social events?
- Do you have the ability to touch people’s souls with your art, writing, song or dance?
- Do you walk into a room and light it up with your presence?
- Do you have amazing listening skills – the kind that make everybody that you talk to feel valued?
Or maybe, like my amazing, energetic, accomplished, and often hilarious big sister Rachel, your superhero power is that you can inspire others to become their best selves. Rachel is able to paint a vivid picture in other people’s minds about just what their superhero version of themselves might be and then nurture that idea until it becomes a reality.
Once you are able to identify your special gift – the thing that makes you uniquely “you” – nurture it, expand it, practice it until it becomes your defining quality. The best thing about believing you are a superhero is that you will able to achieve amazing feats.
MY SUPERHERO POWER REVEALED…
So now you’re probably wondering what my superhero power is. My superhero power is turning my deep-seated belief in my ability to succeed into a reality. I’m able to break down any large goal into smaller parts and methodically follow the necessary steps to achieve that goal. I guess you could call me (read this next part in a loud, echoey voice okay?): “Super Achiever!” or “Victory Runner!” or “Gold Medal Girl.” (My superhero name might need a little work…)
P.S. If you’re having trouble identifying your superhero power… ask your friends to describe you in two or three words (if you are on Facebook try it there!). This will be a good start to help you understand the superhero version others see in you!
P.P.S. I’ll watch for you leaping tall buildings in a single bound and don’t be surprised if you look over to see me doing the same alongside you!
Comment below to let me know what your superhero power is – and don’t be shy!