Superpowers are no longer exclusive to comic book heroes and villians.
We all have access to a superpower and, in some cases, many. Yet, as in the movies, discovering this superpower usually requires something jarring, disturbing or life threatening to occur for us to recognise and activate it..
So, what is a Superpower?
From my perspective, a superpower is a behaviour or action that unlocks positive change both, within ourselves, and the world around us in a positive way. “World” does not have to mean on a global scale, it could mean just those closest to us, maybe those we live with, beyond that, to our neighbours, our street, our community, city or country and the entire globe. Each Superpower has its benefits and can stand alone or be combined with another one to create even greater impact. Here’s my top four Superpowers that, I believe, can inordinately change the world:
You may be rolling your eyes at this superpower as you feel you already have this, and it’s not really a superpower. Consider the last time you spoke and felt heard – really heard. When what you said was acknowledged, with curiosity – without judgment or solution finding. How did that feel? When asking people this question, the responses includes the words: honoured, loved, acknowledged, content, proud, happy, relieved, validated, worthy.
Now ask yourself, when last did you offer someone else this sense of wellbeing, maybe not every one of those feelings, but one or two? Whatever your answer, the truth is that Listening, actively listening to someone speak is a superpower as it makes them feel good in many ways. And to make someone feel good in such a simple manner, is not just a superpower but a gift that you have the capacity of giving to anyone who simply wishes to be heard.
Sounds easy, yet it’s classified as a superpower because, so few people use it.
Viktor Frankl says that “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.” It is in that ‘space’ that we can choose to pause and reflect on how we will respond.
A pause has equal impact whether applied for a few seconds, minutes or a life-pause, where we take a day, week or months out of the busy-ness of life to reflect, reconnect to ourselves and in so doing gain the perspective we need to make an impact on this world we live in.
When practiced regularly the ‘pause’ superpower begins to unlock us from negative thoughts and patterns and so changes how we respond to the world around us.
If you’re still wondering how this can be a superpower – think of the last time you reacted unkindly or angrily towards someone.
Now consider a different response – one that may have had some inner wisdom determine your response and consider how this could/would have landed with the person in question. Now multiply this by millions and realise that you’re just one of the millions who can make a difference in our world- everyday.
Breathing is already a superpower in that it is essential for life. What makes it particularly important is that moment when we use it consciously when things fall apart, when we anticipate the worst, or find ourselves in the midst of chaos. Using conscious breathing helps us to find direction and stay calm amidst the storm playing out around us.
Whilst breathing does not solve the problem at hand, an awareness of one’s breath can slow things down – a bit like in the Matrix when Keanu Reeves dodges that bullet.
Intentional deep breathing transforms an anxious moment into one of context, clarity and calm – the ingredients most needed, to act in a decisive and systematic (and often life-saving) manner.
How do we do it?
- Inhale deeply – take the breath all the way to your belly
- Lengthen your exhale till your belly empties completely
- Repeat until you feel everything has slowed down.
Awareness allows us to transform into our best selves – our true selves. Becoming truly aware enables us to break away from surface egoic and ‘false self’ perspectives and to choose how we really want to show up. Self-awareness enables us to observe ourselves: our actions, reactions, and choices, as if we’re a fly on the wall, a detached observer.
Self-awareness transforms our relationships and our potential. It allows us to know how our words or actions affect others. It helps us find our centre, a space of inner peace in the midst of a storm.
It’s freely available yet tragically only used by true superheroes, the ones that aren’t afraid of being judged as weak or afraid, who show up despite their fears and often leave without a sound.
What would this world be like if we could more readily access these superpowers within ourselves? How much more peace, joy, calm and positive impact would we be capable of?
There are many more superpowers but these are my favourites. You might ask why, well that’s because I have experienced first-hand, their benefits and impact. If you’re feeling like your world is too fast or beginning to crash around you, know that you too have access to these superpowers. Or maybe you have others.. The secret is to use them, not let them sit in the corners of your mind or body waiting for a special occasion. That special occasion could be everyday, starting today.