**A quick note from me to you: If you read my blog because you want to renew yourself and inspire others, then this is for you. Many of my readers are mental health professionals who have chosen a life of service (more than likely, your service chose you). Other readers live a life of service to their own family, from young children to aging parents. And other people serve through business and community involvement. When you read about super heroes, I want you to know that I am talking about you. You are a super hero in my eyes. You have special powers. You need to take care of yourself and your super powers and your humanness because the world needs you. We need you to be our super hero, so here are a few gentle reminders for you.**
I have always loved the universal lessons that we can learn from super heroes. For the sake of this article I will talk about the new Wonder Woman movie based on the DC Comics character Diana Prince. **Spoiler alert: Watch the movie before you read this article.**
1. It takes time for super heroes to grow into their strength.
Diana had a calling and powers that she didn’t know how to use at first. She had to grow into her strength. She felt a calling at a young age to train as a warrior. She would sneak away from her mother and her babysitter to watch the adult women who spent their days training. Zeus created the island to protect them from Ares, the god of war. But they all knew that someday they would have to face Ares again. Diana was willing to train for hours upon hours, years upon years before she ever had to use those skills. She had even been taught that it was her people’s sacred duty to defend the world. Her mother, Queen Hippolyta, wanted to protect her and keep her from the truth. She grew into her strength, even disobeying her mother in order to step into her own power and accept the challenge of protecting her people.
2. Super heroes have doubt and need to be reminded to believe in themselves.
Other people saw Diana’s strength. Diana always had the desire to train but she didn’t know how strong she would become. During a training exercise her aunt, General Antiope, challenged her to fight harder, telling her “You are stronger than you believe.” After their first battle to protect the island, her aunt lay dying on the battlefield and compels Diana “The time has come. You must… go.”
As Diana later fights in the war, she has doubts about herself and her mission. Steve Trevor reminds her of her strength and her ability to save the world. She listens to her aunt and Steve, takes their words to heart and continues on her mission.
3. Super heroes gain/develop their powers after experiencing pain, struggle and loss.
Diana gets stronger by facing challenges head on, running toward the battlefield and into the fire. She is willing to take a leap of faith, quite literally. When she is starting to understand her powers she starts to experiment and see what she is capable of doing. When she sees a plane come through the protective shield around the island and crash into the ocean, she jumps off the cliff to rescue the pilot. She had never done that before but she was willing to leap.
Diana takes another leap across a valley onto the wall of the tower where the god killer sword and shield are kept. She ‘rises to the occasion’ by climbing the wall and gathering her weapons. Throughout the movie she continues to face challenges and grow into her own strength. Her mom told her “What one does when faced with the truth is more difficult than you think.” Diana faces the truth and leaves the island with Steve to go to war against her mother’s wishes.
Later in the movie she runs onto the battlefield toward No Man’s Land, taking all of the gunfire. When facing Ares, she gets knocked down over and over again. Each time she gets up and runs back into battle, gaining strength each time.
Ares trapped Diana and had her pinned to the ground with metal that he flung at her. It took all of her strength to remember why she was fighting to break free from the trap and face Ares again. She has to overcome her doubts and fears and summon all of her strength. Then she becomes unstoppable.
4. Super heroes take action when they see injustice.
Seeing injustice moves Diana to action. Diana grew up on the island that had a protective shield, keeping out all enemies. Once the shield was shattered she saw her people attacked and her aunt killed. This was the first time that she had seen injustice. She left the island to go to war. She told her mother “I am going Mother. I cannot stand by. I understand enough. I am willing to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.”
When she runs onto the battlefield in No Man’s Land she goes against Steve’s plan to wait. She decides to help the villagers and tells Steve “It’s what I am going to do” and she runs onto the battlefield.
When she killed General Ludendorff (thinking he was Ares), she thought the war would end. She gets discouraged and is tempted to give up. Steve reminds her that people are still dying and she can save them. She again gathers her strength and goes to battle against Ares.
5. Super heroes accept support from people they trust.
Diana surrounds herself with a motley crew of people who are deeply flawed but good-hearted and willing. They come from diverse backgrounds and experiences and join together as a team. They are the underdogs that are outnumbered by the thousands. Diana questions Steve and why he is going back to war. Steve replies that his dad taught him that he can “Do nothing or do something.” He has done nothing in the past and now he is going to do something. When Diana doubts herself, Steve and the rest of the crew are the ones who implore her to help them stop the war.
6. Super heroes face temptation and opposition.
Ares tries to convince Diana to come to the dark side and her tries to turn her against the people. He tries to turn people against one another. He shows Diana a false sense of paradise to tempt her to turn against her people and against her mission. He makes it sound and look and feel easy and appealing. She has a moment of doubt. But the she remembers her mission and gathers her strength to overcome Ares.
7. Super heroes use self care strategies to gather their strength.
Diana is able to be calm and focused in the midst of war. There is a pivotal scene in the movie when Diana is facing off against Ares. She has been knocked down and gotten back up several times. She has gotten stronger each time. As she is about to face him for the final time, she closes her eyes and remembers why she is fighting. She remembers Steve and her people. This moment gives her the clarity, focus and strength to overcome Ares for good.
8. Super heroes are motivated by their mission to serve others.
Diana fights because of her belief in love and the good of all people. Early on in the movie, Diana’s mother tells her that the battle will never be fair. Diana doesn’t believe her. She naively thinks that the battle will be easy and she will defeat Ares and end the war. She thinks what’s right is right and therefore should be easy. She gets discouraged and tempted to give up when she sees that people are still fighting against one another, even after she thought that she had killed Ares.
Steve reminds her that it’s not about what people deserve. It’s not that all people are good all of the time. We are all to blame for fighting at times. Steve tells her it’s about what you believe. She believes in love. She believes in the good of people. Ultimately she realizes that we always have a choice. She defeats Ares. The movie ends as Diana says “I stay. I fight. I give.”
So what are your super powers? Who are your biggest supporters? What challenges have you overcome? What is your mission? How do you find the focus and clarity to keep pursuing your mission?