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Generally, I think most use the term Superman (woman, mom, dad, kid) as a complement or to encourage others. But I wonder if we’re doing more harm than good.

Superhuman: Above average. Able to successfully take on the extraordinary, give generously, and take care of other’s needs while maintaining sanity, positivity and composure on a day to day basis.

Really? Who’s capable of that? Not me and no one I know. So, does suggesting someone is Superhuman set them up with unrealistic expectations? I think it can – especially if we continue to run on the comparison treadmill or have limiting beliefs about failing if we don’t measure up to being Superhuman. I get caught up in the cycle myself sometimes.

A sense of accomplishment feels good – but not at the cost of our sanity or health.

All too often we don’t slow down until we’ve exceeded our maximum capacity of energy. Then we hit overwhelm, exhaustion and aren’t effective as parents, partners or at work. And there’s the guilt for not being able to ‘do it all’ like every Superhuman worth his/her weight in gold should be able to.

This happened to me recently and a friend refocused my attention with these words, ‘Gayle, enjoy your time away. Leave the shoulds behind. It would be nice if you had everything done, but right now you don’t need to’.

Ahhhhh. What sweet and wise advice. Instead of ‘I should be _______’ Replace it with the phrase ‘It would be nice if I _______, but I don’t need to’.

It would be nice if I cooked a meal from scratch every night, but I don’t need to for my family to be nourished.

It would be nice if I lost weight, but I don’t need to do it this red hot minute with a crazy diet.

It would be nice if I answered every message within a minute of receiving it, but I don’t need to to show I care.

One of the reasons people struggle is because they don’t realize their minds are racing.

We get so used to our thoughts free wheeling that we don’t realize we’ve become victim to them. One thought leads to another and pretty soon we’ve complicated things because we’re analyzing every detail or worrying about every possibility.

Our inner critic is a pro at complicating things but it’s no match for your true Superhuman powers. The first step out of the insipid cycle of ‘doing it all’ is to be aware of the pattern you get into. And more importantly, get curious about shifting your thoughts about what you ‘should’ be doing. Give yourself permission to say, ‘It would be nice if I ________, but I don’t need to’.

Think of the relief. Think of the weight off of your mind and shoulders. Think of the energy you’d have to nourish yourself. Think of the energy you’d have to connect with your partner, or parent your kids from a place of rejuvenation. Or the creativity you’d have if you weren’t depleted.

We all get caught in the ‘should’ trap from time to time. But doing it all doesn’t make you Superhuman. Living from your heart does. And that begins with self-love – intimately knowing yourself and setting gentle (not extraordinary) limits on how much you do in the name of sanity and peace.

When someone suggests you are superhuman (or you use it to compliment another), is that really a complement? Or is it causing more harm than good? Click To Tweet

If someone suggests you are Superhuman, or you use it to compliment another, change up the definition:

Superhuman: Willing to intimately know oneself, open their heart and mind, and grow to the best of their ability (no matter how small the incremental steps are), while practicing self-love and self-compassion for the greater good of self and all others.

That’s how you make love great.


Dr. Gayle Friend

Dr. Gayle Friend is an intimacy expert who successfully helps individuals and couples connect with themselves and each other – in and out of the bedroom. Learn more about her here.