Who doesn’t love superheroes? How nice would it be to have powers to do something extraordinary, though the unforgiving costumes leave much to be desired. With my daughter’s superhero fascination of late, I’ve sat with her through episodes of everything from Supergirl to Spiderman to PJ Masks. As a kid, these superheroes are entertaining and powerful. As an adult, (and overthinker), I’m looking at them hoping a couple of things I’m noticing subconsciously stick in my little firecracker’s brain.
Solve your own problems
This isn’t about waiting for someone else to save you. It’s about when life is a hot mess, not hiding in your pint of Ben & Jerry’s indefinitely. It’s ok to be sad for a little bit when things go awry. It’s ok to have your pity party. Frankly, life sucks sometimes and as the saying goes, “The good times never seem to last long enough and the bad times are never as long as they seem.”
But then, you get up, put down the spoon, wine glass (ok, bottle), whatever is appropriate for your age, and you go take care of the problem. Take charge of finding your way out of your own mess. Some messes are more complicated than others, and there are some things that can’t be resolved. You just have to be at peace that you’ve done all you can. In the end, one way or the other, you’ll eventually be ok.
You aren’t perfect and it’s not the end of the world
All humans are flawed, even the most perfect-seeming amongst us mere mortals. Being imperfect doesn’t equate to not being worthy of things like love, connection, or accomplishment. Part of maturing is understanding who you are—all of who you are –and being at peace with it. You know how to build upon your strengths and grow from your weaknesses and mistakes. Surviving is what makes us formidable, not perfection.
The people who really know you are few and to be treasured
This is perhaps the most important lesson of all. In superhero lore, there are typically just a few people who truly know the identity of the hero and who they really are as an individual. In real life, many times, as we get older, we have ideas of who we “should” be or what we think people expect of us. It’s more than likely the image we choose to project, but hardly the complete picture of who we are inside. There are those few, rare, and quite frankly amazing, people we encounter in our lives who see us for the entirety of who we are. They see the good and the bad and accept us. We can let down the walls. We can be idiots and make mistakes and they stand by us—within reason. Those people are to be treasured and if you are lucky enough to have someone like that in your life in any capacity, you do everything in your superpowers to hold on to them.
Some of these lessons have taken me decades to learn. My hope is that she is lucky enough to figure things out much faster than I did. However, you can’t go too deep at age three, so we can save all the “life lessons” and after school special-like conversations for another time. For now, I’m just going to let her “fly” around in Supergirl costume to save Scooby Doo from the 10,000 volt ghost, and stopping bad guys with her bubble gum power.