Each morning we wake, get ready for the day, and prepare for our responsibilities and relationships. For some, however, there is an additional step involved. They put on a superhero cape, tying it tightly around their neck like a noose that defines them. Of course this is not literal (unless you are heading to a roleplaying event), but it is a good way to describe the overachievers, the helpers, the fixers. While this might sound harsh, I speak from experience. It’s not all bad… read on.
These superhero capes, for many of us, are necessary. There are wonderful positive reasons to wear one, to be the fixer or helper when you are faced with a very serious situation. To be good at your job. To help a friend who has hit bottom. To make a difference in this world. However, most of the time, those of us who wear capes, wear them way more often than we really need to.
What’s the result of never taking off the cape? I’ll tell ya! A burdened life, a feeling of loneliness, a feeling of not being taken care of by anyone else. When you are the rock, the strong one, all the time, others learn to let you take care of them and wonder why you are upset when they don’t take care of you. Many times it’s not from a lack of caring on their part. It’s from a habit of knowing their superhero will fix it. Superheroes don’t need help, right? Wrong. They do need help, but us superheroes can wear that cape so often that others begin to believe we are invincible and impenetrable.
What can be done about this superhero situation? Take off the cape. Don’t throw it away. You might need it occasionally. But take it off, hang it up by your front door, ready for you when you truly need it. Wash it every now and then, make sure it doesn’t get dusty. Keep that part of you, the strong capable part. But let the other parts of you out to explore. Be vulnerable, be wrong, be irresponsible. It is incredibly freeing to not be perfect, to give yourself some slack. All of this is balance of course. But if you are looking for love, looking for compassion from others, looking to be held up and supported… then take off the cape long enough for people to realize you are just human. And the “just human” part of you is beautiful and absolutely amazing!