Many of us, myself included, have this strange notion that we are responsible for making things right in the world. We’ve somehow adopted a core belief that we’ve been appointed to restore the world and others to their original goodness. You might call it a Superman complex.
This impulse comes from a place of honest compassion and concern for others, but gets bastardized when we force our way into other people’s lives with our grab bag of solutions for their life’s problems.
This self-imposed character flaw places undue stress on ourselves as we inflict a tension of being on high alert at all times listening to where we might be called to save the world and others. It’s like being a paramedic on-call 24/7.
We need to identify and unlearn the core beliefs underneath this savior complex since it comes from our own unhealthy need for self-approval. It comes from our need to make life a tidy little box in which we have all the answers and if others would just listen and adopt our recommendations for how they should run and manage their lives we would all be much better off and happier. It comes from a place of not wanting to be abandoned because we’re afraid others will leave us if we’re just ourselves, not the wise sage or medicine man with all the answers.
Until we unlearn this behavior we’ll continue to have conflict with others because many times, quite frankly, others don’t need our help and haven’t asked for it.
When we’re ready to hang up our blue tights and red capes perhaps a more balanced approach is to simply work on fixing ourselves.
When others are in need or distress the best gift we can give them is the gift of our listening presence. We can tell them we’re sorry they’re in such a messy place and ask them simple questions like, “Do you need to vent to get it off your chest?”
Our holy presence takes practice, particularly when our first impulse is to rush in and solve the dilemma for a loved one. We need to notice within ourselves the difference in our own energy when we’re being helpful by our compassionate presence versus trying to fix another’s life for our own sense of self-worth and protection.
When we’re present to another with a quiet compassionate presence we experience peace, holy detachment. We let the other person find the answer within them, instead of offering unsolicited suggestions.
It’s a tough nut to crack for those of us that having been wearing Superman capes for too long. Yet when we take the pressure off ourselves to save the world and others, we learn to relax, let go and stand in the beauty of our own peaceful presence.
The reward of being a calming presence for others will also enhance our lives as we learn to be the same for ourselves. Calm. Peaceful. Rooted and grounded. Owning who we are: the gentle presence of God’s love. God’s beloved.
I’m don’t have to fix the world today. So, I’ll take it off my to-do list.
Brian Plachta 4/2014