We All Have Superpowers
As a society, we are fascinated with superpowers. Marvel and DC comics and the many movie and series spin-offs are more popular than ever. We fantasize about being able to effect dramatic and permanent change on a grand scale, to save the day every time. We want to squash evil in the world and replace it with good. But we often forget that we already have super powers and these hold the key to changing the world and banishing evil forever.
Everyone wants superpowers. As a society, we have embraced a vast canon of stories in the written, graphic novel, and video form that celebrates superheroes with powers ranging from speed to strength, to control over the laws of nature in every imaginable way. It seems like every week a new show based on Marvel or DC comics appears on one of the various streaming services, cable TV, or the big screen. Our fascination with these mythical, super people goes back farther than Greek and Roman myths.
And who doesn’t want to save the day in dramatic fashion?
The majority of us want to change the world (and usually for the better - I believe this, in my heart with my abundant faith in humanity, despite many examples to the contrary) and for me, I often lean into the big ideas and gestures. A lot of the time I fall into the thinking that rescues must be dramatic and theatrical. Like everyone else, I often forget that we all have superpowers. And with the focus on abundant strength, law of nature altering, superpowers, I ignore the simple capabilities and opportunities that we all have to change the world.
It took my son to remind me of a superpower we all have. We were walking a hiking trail one day, and he observed that our moods are contagious. He pointed this out after he had been a little mopy as we walked, as teens can be. But he started smiling uncontrollably, and I when asked why he said it was because I was beaming and he couldn’t help himself. He actually said, “Daddy, your smile is contagious.” WOW! It was like he just told me that I could leap tall buildings and stop bullets. And it got me thinking.
Our moods can be “contagious” to others, and so it really does seem that if we live joyfully, inevitably that joy will spread. And the ability to spread joy and alter the moods of those around us for the better seems like a pretty cool superpower to me. It is the power to change, in a brief moment, the heart, mind, and life direction of another. You just have to smile and share your happiness.
Another way to access our superpowers to change the heart of another is to show gratitude. In showing appreciation, you are letting another know that they have this superpower to change lives for the better. And you are telling them that they have used that superpower to change your life. It is incredibly empowering and encourages them to do more to help others. Your thankfulness needs to be sincere, and it helps to tell the person how they have changed your life for the better. So, it requires some thoughtfulness but is so worth the little bit of extra time that it takes.
Another way to engage our superpowers to change the direction of humanity is to show kindness to strangers by merely expressing an interest in their well being. Many people go about their lives feeling invisible. Most service people are thanked without sincerity, if at all. Many elderly folks are isolated and alone.
By asking your grocery clerk, doctor receptionist, bank teller, etc., how their day is going, you can make them feel cared for and seen. Since work in the service industry is often a slog, I usually ask when they started and how much more time they have in their workday. I commiserate with them and offer words of encouragement if they have just started and rejoice with them when they tell me they have only an hour to go. I am always amazed at the transformative effect this sincere interest has on people. Their eyes brighten, and they stand taller. Kind and heartfelt words of interest can be a lush oasis in a desert of monotony and isolation.
Spending a little time with an elderly person just listening to their fascinating stories and asking for the benefit of their considerable experience has miraculous effects. Young people, especially have the magical, super ability to lift the despair and disconnected feelings of old age. I have found that an elderly person smiles more when I ask to see their picture albums or ask them for help with a personal problem. We all want to share our life stories with others who will listen. Every human being wants to feel of use to others.
We all have superpowers. We just have to tap into them by engaging in sincere and kind interaction with the people around us. The changes we make might not be dramatic in Hollywood fashion, but we have the power to change lives and the world in each and every moment we are with another person. And it all adds up. With every little act of kindness, every moment of happiness you spread, every expression of gratitude, you move humanity forward. Now, that sounds like a superpower to me.