Super Powers

My friend Jenn and I were discussing super powers the other day and she made a good point. With regard to every super hero, their super power is both a blessing and a curse. It makes their lives better in one sense, and more difficult in another.

Jenn and I both agree that people have super powers as well. For her husband, it’s the ability to make friends with anyone, anywhere. For her, it’s her ability to be a chameleon – she can blend in with any crowd.

At the time of this conversation, I wasn’t sure what I considered my super power to be. But it’s occurred to me since that my ability to be thoughtful and considerate of other people might be it.

I will go out on a limb to let the people I care about most know how I feel by both grand gestures and seemingly imperceptible actions. Everything from making sure I move about my place as quietly as possible so as not to disrupt others, to bringing a friend a favorite piece of pie on a whim, to sending my little brother two care packages a month during his entire first deployment.

I make sure I pay attention to the details of a person so I can use that information later. Did they mention liking a particular musician and wanting their latest album? What did they say was their favorite wine? When was their dad’s surgery again so I can make sure to check-in on how it went? And so on. I mean, I miss the mark on this from time to time, for sure. No one, even a super hero, is perfect.

It might sound like I’m bragging, but I’m not. It’s in my nature – this is how I was raised. My mom is the epitome of thoughtful and considerate. And my guess is she’ll agree that sometimes it bites you in the butt. Sometimes you feel like your “efforts”  (in quotation marks only because considerate, thoughtful actions don’t really feel like efforts to some) go unnoticed or unappreciated. It can start to feel draining – like you’re the only one paying attention. Like you’re the only one who cares about making sure other people feel seen, heard, and taken care of. Like no one is reciprocating. None of which is wholly true. There are plenty of people in my life who appreciate my super power and who reciprocate. In fact, I’m finding more and more that those who don’t get weeded out pretty quickly.

But when my super power fails me the most is when others are downright inconsiderate and thoughtless. I mean, blatantly so. Ooh, that just makes my blood boil. And then I start to wonder why I even bother. Why should I make sure I’m parked within the white lines when the guy next to me inconsiderately takes up two spots? Why should I make sure I quietly roll out my yoga mat when several other people in the studio drop their mat on the floor with a loud bang?

I’ve had to learn that some people aren’t worth it and that I need to reserve my super power stores for those who truly are. That’s not to say I’m purposely a jerk to some people – I just don’t make the same effort. Usually that’s a protection mechanism because feeling unappreciated when you’ve really tried to show you care cuts deep.

Ultimately, I’ve had to learn that my actions are always my own. I always have a choice. And when given the choice, regardless of what might come my way, considerate and thoughtful is the way I want to behave and what I hope to be known for.

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4 Comments

  1. Ma

     /  January 14, 2014

    And thus you are a Glow Worm. If everyone had 1/10 of your consideration and kindness – this would be such an easy-peasy world. And don’t you ever ‘wonder why’ — you know why.

    Reply
  2. Nicely said… Annie. I am grateful for you and your super powers… Even on your worst day. Thoughtfulness is highly under rated. Thanks for the reminder… I know I need to improve in that area… Particularly in listening… To seek more understanding of the other persons view and less speaking on my part seeking to be heard and understood.

    Reply

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