Sure it would be great to spread your arms and soar over the Rocky Mountains, or lift a derailed Amtrak train and set it right to continue its journey.
But you have a superpower far more valuable than any Avengers character: you can connect with other people and change their lives for the better every day.
We live in a lonely world, full of sadness and fear. The struggles of daily life wear on people, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. All humans have needs. Some need touch, some need verbal affirmations, some need a sense of belonging. Find that connection unique to each individual and you can “rescue” that person in a way Iron Man or Thor could never do. Connection is unique to the person, so it can be difficult finding that link, but what a fulfilling journey it is to find the right one. And when you do find it, you create an inseparable link with that person which is stronger than any force a superhero can conjure.
For example, my daughter battles OCD tendencies and is not a physically affectionate person because of it. (This is especially difficult for me to accept since I am a very “touchy” person.) Showing my love through embraces and kisses would simply turn her off and drive her away from me. I learned that I could form a loving connection with her by skipping the hugs, and instead accepting her OCD rules about not touching her bed with “street dirt” and steering clear of putting my feet near her face at all times. It may sound silly on the surface, but it works . . . so much so that occasionally I even get the hug I so desire because she knows I need it.
Without connections we feel untethered, as if at any moment we could drift off and be swallowed by life. We feel it most especially during times of struggle or trauma, as if we are alone and nobody else can possibly imagine what we are feeling or going through. We sink further into ourselves and into self-isolation. Imagine the power we can unleash by using those emotions behind that struggle or trauma to reach out to others suffering similarly. Addiction, trauma, disabilities–there is always someone you can share and connect with over your life journey.
Sure reaching out and being open is scary. But barriers are for wimps. Everyone experiences some hurt whether it is because of life circumstances or because of an ex, a parent, or a good friend. Too often we carry the hurt around like a badge of honor and construct barriers or walls to prevent its repeat. How many missed opportunities to connect do we avoid? What if you miss an opportunity to connect with someone super-amazing because you are too fixated on building your barriers, gathering evidence, and creating excuses? That opportunity will disappear like dust in the wind.
Connect with everyone. If they do not deserve you, then let them go. But give them a chance. It isn’t fair, or logical, to assume the results of one situation will hold true for all situations. Running your life that way is not only cowardly, but foolish. Mental wellness is about creating a life and journey through which you feel safe, comfortable, and supported.
You cannot find this alone!!
I have spent many years trudging through my own stubbornness and counseling thousands of others who thought they could travel the same lonely path. It does not work. Humans are social creatures. Anyone who doubted it before has learned it through the isolation we have all experienced thanks to Covid-19. It is much easier to share your sadness and anxiety with others feeling the same. The connection is mutually beneficial. Connect, share, be authentic to who you are.
The change in you and in your connections will be far deeper and more meaningful than any superpower Marvel or DC Comics can invent.
Dr. Lisa Strohman
PS- I was going for the DC Comic or Marvel look in my pic, I think I need another filter. 🙂