Superman/woman syndrome is a sneaky snake in current culture. No matter how many times we’ve heard it, somewhere deep within we harbor the feeling that we can do it all, being all things to all people. This myth dies hard. In straight thinking moments–or days–we embrace the bunk that is superwoman/man, and free ourselves from those expectations. Hurray for a small dose of reality.
However, even when we readily admit that we can’t achieve superpowers, a sneaky leftover part of that drive to be super deserves the ‘who says’ challenge: beliefs about the path to change. We still expect to be like Superman himself, clearing buildings in a single bound. The one-click culture encourages us to expect change to happen just like that. Click off the old behavior, click on the new. Door open or door closed. Instant change and everything is now rosy–i.e. perfect.
Magic wand at the ready, I wish it were this way myself. (Though of course that would mean I was out of a job and I’m not quite ready to retire.) The reality is that it’s a path, often a twisting path at that. It’s two steps forward, then one back. Or it’s a spiral, my favorite illustration about moving toward change, cycling by the same issues again and again, reworking and fine-tuning as we make our way to the goal at the top.
Accepting this winding path as reality stops that old automatic “failure” thinking. When we stumble, or it seems that we are NOT achieving that goal in a single leap, we lose track of the big picture. We conclude that we’ve failed. Time to step back and see that you are on the path. It’s just not a single step, or even a song and dance two-step.
Have a little self-compassion. No single leaps aided by a ruby cape. Just steadily wind your way up the stairs, or along the path, and you’ll soon be where you wish to be. Enjoy the climb.