Even though sometimes we may feel it, the fact is that none of us are superheroes.
And we can’t always achieve everything we think we should all the time.
Sometimes we just need to say, “At this point in time, this is the best I can do.” And most importantly, be ok with it.
There have probably been many times in our lives when we've felt almost invincible. Juggling busy families, volunteering at school, running a business and being there for friends. (Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No… it’s Superwoman!) And it feels great.
And then there are the times when things don’t work out so well. One of the kids hits a blip in their teenage life, a family member is diagnosed with a serious illness, friends suffer mental health problems, there are disappointments at work and the list keeps growing.
Then it starts to feel like the wind has been taken out of your sails. Or more specifically you start to feel like one of those inflatable, waving stick figures you see at factory sales except now you’ve got a couple of holes and are only half inflated. Instead of dancing around joyously waving your arms in the air, you can only flop around performing half-hearted attempts to dance to life.
Time to stop and take a moment
This is the time you need to stop and take a moment to think about exactly where all the air has gone from your happy life dance. And most importantly, what can you do about it? This is the time to be realistic. To continue trying to be a superhero in every part of your life is asking for trouble so it’s time to step back and work out what’s absolutely necessary and what can be postponed or not done at all.
Sorry – I can't do this right now
As hard as it may be, now is the time to start saying “Sorry I just can’t do this right now”. Although it’s often not that easy.
When you’re used to being the ‘go-to’ person for everyone, sometimes the challenge can be to determine what’s absolutely necessary & what’s not.
It’s hard to say “No” when you’re always the person who says “Of course, no problems!”.
Time to get some perspective
One way to help get some perspective is to either mentally or physically list each of the demands you have at any point in time and then consider for each item, what’s the absolute worst thing that can happen if you don’t do it? Sometimes it’s your ego that might take a hit and other times you might be disappointing someone but it’ll soon become clear what really is essential in your life and where your (for the moment) limited energies are best spent.
It would be nice if we could all take off for a week away in Fiji to rest and recharge but unfortunately for most of us – that’s just not going to happen. So, during those times when we’re feeling the opposite of a superhero the most important thing you can do is look after yourself, even if that means saying “No, sorry I won’t be able to help you out at the moment”.
And finally, as well as being kind to yourself, be kind to those around you because you never really know what others are facing – they may also be going through their own version of a half-inflated life dance.
A version of this post first appeared in the AVNJ Vol 23 No 3