A few years ago I watched a documentary about Superman. Seriously though, in the past few years we’ve been inundated by versions of the same thing. At any rate, I think the show was called “Superman – exploring the psychology”.
Whenever we consider a character like Superman there are always two sides. I suppose at least two sides. What I was drawn to in this documentary was the section about Clark Kent. Clark represents the average man, minus the gut of course. But think about it. All around us we see the average man being described as having low self-esteem, fearful, a follower, hesitant, sterile, and easily swayed.
If you think that’s just the portrayal of a comic book hero, it’s not. All around us we see men portrayed as less than, more of a joke than anything or anyone to look up to. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming TV, movies or comic books. This is all of our own doing. Rather than get involved, most men are satisfied to stand idly by while their friends and family suffer from their absence-physically and/or emotionally.
If that seems doom and gloom, maybe it’s because it is. BUT….(I know you were waiting for it), there is hope in all of this.
Superman is undisputed the most popular and successful hero ever created. Let that resonate for a minute. I think the reason for this popularity, one that spans generations, is because we can see a bit of ourselves in both sides of this man. While we may see ourselves as Clark Kent much of the time, there is something inside of us that yearns to be Superman.
We may be more like Clark Kent on the outside but there is a Superman inside all of us. We have that capability. It’s not about ripping off your shirt in a telephone booth. (That’s an enclosed structure with a piece of technology similar to a cell phone but connected to wires which was typically found on street corners that people would use to speak to one another).
While muscularity may be called for on occasion, being Superman is more than that. It means showing up. Truly showing up and being present in the moment. It means the ability to know what your friends and family need and being able to give that to them at any given moment.
It means simply being the opposite of Clark when the moment calls for it.
Clark had a low self-esteem, show your family how to be confident.
Clark was fearful, be the person that stands up even if that means standing alone
Clark was a follower, be willing to stand up for what you believe in and follow your heart
Clark was hesitant, be a man of action
Clark was sterile and safe, have fun and take chances
Clark was easily swayed, ask questions and be willing to change course only when it resonates and makes sense
I know that being like Clark Kent seems safer, it may have even gotten you pretty far in life. I also know that there is a part of you that is calling for something more. At the end of the day, you owe it to your family, to your friends, to yourself to let go of that version of yourself when the time calls for it. You owe it to the world to embrace curiosity, courage, and to live a vibrant full life.