What’s your Superpower?
Naturally, the tendency in responding to this question is to think of fictional Superheros and Villians; the likes of Wonder Woman, Super Man, Gollum and Darth Vader. But I am not asking about conjured powers of our imagination. Rather, I am talking about those innate powers within us that we have developed over time. Superheros walk among us every day. They care for our children, lead scientific research, and champion the underserved. Even more simply, they hold doors open for the ones behind them literally and figuratively. They shine their light into the darkness.
So what does it mean to have a superpower?
Webster defines superpower as excessive or superior power. One dimension of this definition is the line between good and evil. So much good can come from our super powers; healing, helping and leading others around us to become more and do better. At the same time, anything taken to excess can do harm and be destructive. Isn’t that what villains do; take their powers too far and in doing so leave others worse off? The intoxicating and all consuming potential of power and extreme capacity to affect change can easily distort and override any individual’s inherent goodness.
To be a true superhero you need to maintain a persistent awareness of the impact of your superpowers on others. You must remain conscious of whether you can truly help them and how. Sometimes the danger another person faces is a necessary evil. They need to work through and overcome that physical or conceptual villain in order to discover their own inner strength and truth. It is through this process of toil that they uncover their own personal superpower. Furthermore, true heros both know their ability and remain humble to their humanity. They stand in their power, but don’t let their ego drive their decision making.
To have a superior power is to have a skill or capacity much greater in quality than others. We all have at least one superior power. We all have the inner power to affect change for greater good than even our imaginations will allow us to fathom. Rosa Parks was a middle aged black woman with little civil power in 1950s America. And yet her personal power and resolve were immense. She knew her truth and followed her heart. While she had a history of working toward this truth, that fateful day on the bus Rosa fully owned and embodied her truth. This was her superpower. Could she have known that her simple and courageous decision would start a civil rights revolution? Of course not! Just like her, we may not know the ripple effect of even one bold and brave use of our own superpower.
Recently I was asked “If you had a superpower, what would it be?” I’ve been thinking of the question for a little while now. Just as many of you likely thought of supernatural capacities born of comic books and the Big Screen, I have had some fun fantasies. The one that speaks loudest to me is the desire to see very specifically the source and full dimension of people’s ill health so that I could empower those people with the information towards healing and peace. Naturally, I would want to be able to turn on and off this visionary power. And of course, there are many different types of practitioners who possess some degree of this superpower and serve others with it today. That is their gift to this world.
Now, as I explore this question further, I want to reframe it: What is my superpower? What can I do now, in this time and space, to serve others in a way uniquely and powerfully my own?
Honestly, I find it a bit awkward to claim my power so publically. And I struggle a bit to name my power today in context of my current health struggles that seemingly stripped me of some superior skills. I used to be really good at bringing people together, facilitating discussions, bridging gaps between diverse groups as well as planning and executing projects. Many of these things are now quite challenging.
At the same time, I believe it’s because of these challenges, rather than despite them, that I have discovered the power of my written word. For so long I was fighting what I could no longer do, but then I began working within the framework of my limitations and I found a new strength. I have found peace and flow in expressing my truth through my writing. My voice is becoming stronger and my confidence more steady. And it fills my heart to hear from readers how my words speak to their own experience. I am both grateful and humbled by my ability to tap into and capture universal truths so that others can hear them, see them and use them to reframe and ease their own struggles.
Just as I have limitations, so do you. Do not let these limitations stop you. Do not use these as an excuse. Let these limitations serve as a starting point rather than an ending. Focus on what you can do instead of what you cannot. Challenge yourself. Push yourself. Find your inner truth, strength and power. Share it. Believe in your unique and superior ability to serve.
So, what is your superpower?
What is your inner truth and strength?
How can you serve others for good?
Share your answers with me in the comments below!