brown wooden fence on gray and white ground
Mental Health

A Superpower I Wish Everyone Had

Growing up I was filled with severe anxiety, shyness, and struggling with undiagnosed ADHD. I wasn’t on the hyperactive spectrum, so my ADHD was thought to be just laziness, lack of focus, daydreaming, and so on. All negative opinions. I had very low self-esteem for most of my youth.

Deep down, I always believed in myself even when I wasn’t sure others did. Maybe it was a combination of the unconditional love of my parents and a family that owned their own happiness and identity. Using that strength as an adult, I overcame my anxiety and shyness. I was eventually diagnosed with ADHD while middle-aged.

The rhyme “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” resonated with me. The poem If by Rudyard Kipling influenced me which I talked about in a previous article.

Over time I realized that it’s okay to have faults. That accepting these faults, then doing our best to improve without feeling shame for our faults, which we all have, empowers us. No words discussing our faults could or should hurt us. Feeling pain or shame should be reserved for when we hurt others only as a reminder to not make that mistake again, then forgive ourselves for it.

This meant, that if someone spoke the truth to me about my faults, it was one of two reasons. They were trying to hurt me, shame on them! Or they were trying to help me, so I should listen.

If they lied to me, then shame on them, or if they had good motives and misunderstood me when criticizing or judging my actions, behaviors, or choices, then I should try to understand why.

Halleluiah! I suddenly found strength and wisdom in knowing that I could live the line, “If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you” from the poem If by Rudyard Kipling. I had a superpower.

This was a massive change in my life. I no longer felt shame or fear for being human. For a fault being exposed nor being used against me. Fair and honest feedback, criticism, and even judgment were learning opportunities.

I could now focus on being the best person I could be. Free of guilt.

I realized that all that truly mattered was motive. That the motive to be the best you can be, to do the right thing meant you could forgive yourself for your mistakes, your faults, and that you can apologize sincerely.

Anyone whose motive to hurt you wasn’t worth worrying about. Or if they lashed out in anger, due to a misunderstanding or trouble in their life, I could forgive them and move on. It freed me in so many ways.

I realized true confidence wasn’t thinking you are great, it’s knowing you aren’t and loving yourself faults and all combined with doing your best to be a decent human being.

I had always believed all genuinely decent people deserved love and respect and had as much value as anyone else even if they weren’t the best at anything. Combined with the ability to deal with any criticism, feedback, and judgment gave me a superpower that I wish all had!

I can be my authentic true self every day and by doing so, I attract similar people and nearly always the love and respect of truly good people that admired my sincerity. The one exception was a covert narcissist I fell in love with but that’s another story!

It doesn’t guarantee happiness. Life can still suck at times, however, it’s one less thing I know won’t suck. That I will never feel bad about myself because of the words of others giving me their opinions.