I attended an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for my mental health in early 2019. It was a few months after my dad had died, and I was in bad shape. IOP helped a great deal, and there was something one person said during group therapy I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.
Whenever someone new joined the group, the facilitator would ask everyone to go around the room and answer a random question. A couple of times, we had to answer, “If you could have any superpower, what would it be?”
The question felt almost like a Rorschach Test – people’s answers revealed a lot about their personalities and their mental states.
I remember a lot of people giving obvious answers, like the ability to fly. Some people say they’d like to be invisible, which was telling.
I answered that I wish I could have Wolverine’s superpowers – the moody X-Man who could heal instantly and had adamantium claws. This was telling for me because I was feeling particularly vulnerable. I wanted the super-strength and abilities to fend off would-be enemies.
The answer to the question I remember, though, was from a man who was struggling heavily with an anxiety disorder. He said, “I wish I had the ability to bring peace to any situation.”
Whoa. I hadn’t thought of that.
Instead of a superpower that sowed destruction, why not wish for a power that would prevent destruction? I’ve been thinking of that more lately – the ability to calm tensions, prevent fights, wars.
From what I know, I don’t think there are any comic book heroes who have this power of peace. I could be wrong. But it’s an ability that I’d love to have right now, especially as there’s been so much hatred and violence in the world in the past few months.
I like to think that learning conflict resolution skills are similar to a superpower of peace. In world affairs, the art of diplomacy is supposed to bring peace among nations.
A peaceful superpower may be the stuff of fiction, but at least I can start striving for it more today and in the future.
What’s your superpower?
(Cover photo from art station/by Zehra Çaylı)